The making of a PNP officer

"Greatness, after all, is achieving something at the sacrifice of one's own interest."


Ever since the passage of R.A 6975, also known as the Department of Interior Act, on Dec. 13, 1990, the principal source of police officers have been graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy.

The PNPA was established on June 12, 1978 pursuant to Ministry of Defense Memorandum Order No. 33. Its headquarters is Camp Castañeda in Silang, Cavite. The institution just celebrated its 40th founding anniversary.

The whole rationale for the establishment of the school was for the police—known as PC/INP at that time—to produce good quality officers that will lead the police organization into the future. This is why the school’s motto is “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow.”

It originally offered a two-year course with the first students coming from the enlisted ranks of the Integrated National Police and the Philippine Constabulary. The first batch graduated in 1980. Later, a full four-year course was introduced. This was done after much debate within the PC/INP leadership of the merits and demerits of a four-year program. It was the late PC Brig General Cicero Campos who was largely responsible for the four-year program winning the debate.

The importance of the academy became more pronounced after the passage of R.A 6975 which prohibited the entry of Philippine Military Academy graduates to the PNP. The last PMA to be accepted to the PNP was the class of 1992. Very soon, by around 2022 or 2023, no PMA graduates will be left in the PNP. By that time, all the leaders of the PNP will either be graduates of the PNPA or those that got into the PNP through what is known as lateral entry.

Right from the start however, there were problems that remain unresolved to this day. Although the PNPA and the PNP Training Center are both under the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the PNP does not exert any influence or have any control over the two institutions even though the entire training cadre personnel are seconded from the PNP. The bone of contention is that since the PNP is the recipient of the products of the Public Safety College, the PNP must at least provide enough competent officers so that the quality of training in both the PNPA and PNP Training Center can be brought to par.

In the eyes of the PNP however, since it does not have any control of the two institutions, good and competent officers cannot be assigned or detailed to the PSC because these officers are needed in the PNP. This is not to say that there are no competent officers detailed to the PSC because there are. A good example of this is the number of tactical officers detailed to the PNPA. There are only six or seven tactical officers assigned to the PNPA instead of the normal complement of 13 or 14. This is obviously not enough to supervise the whole corps of cadets and perhaps explain the shocking hazing practices developing in the school.

There needs to be a compromise between the PSC and the PNP. Fortunately, there seems to be some kind of movement in that direction. The PSC is currently headed by my friend Ricardo de Leon who is a member of PMA class of 1971. There is also another former PNP officer in the person of Ferdinando Sevilla who is a member of PMA class of 1984 who must be considered a contemporary of the current PNP leadership who belong to PMA class 1986 and 1985 and can therefore speak the same language. Both gentleman are reform-minded and Ding Sevilla who is Vice President for Academics can do a lot to help Dick de Leon bridge that divide that has existed between the PNP and PSC.

When there was no or minimal communication between the two institutions in the past, maybe there will be this time.

There is really no other choice but to cooperate to be able to produce good, competent and well-rounded PNP officers to bring the PNP up to speed. Failure will only doom the PNP to perpetual mediocrity.

How could this cooperation be achieved? First is that the PNP must agree to assign enough competent and good officers to PSC. In return, the PSC must also agree to allow the PNP to contribute training concepts that it thinks are necessary in the development of PNP officers. This will allow the PNP to suggest for the injection of doctrines that it believes are more aligned to its current operational and administrative thinking. In other words the end product which is the new PNP officer or rookie cop is going to be more complete. This makes a lot of sense because if the move of the PNP to amend the law and transfer the control of the PNPA and PNPTC to the PNP succeeds, costly transition problems can be avoided or at least minimized.

There is a saying that the police like the military is always in need of reform. This however has been difficult because of long-standing traditions that are simply too hard to hurdle. But this is the kind of problem that tests the mettle of true and great leaders.

This is therefore an opportunity for the PNP leadership under the stewardship of Oscar Albayalde and the PSC under Dick de Leon to achieve something important that can cement their legacies in the PNP for generations to come. Greatness, after all, is achieving something at the sacrifice of one’s own interest.

Topics: Department of Interior Act , Philippine National Police Academy , Ministry of Defense Memorandum Order , Camp Castañeda , Oscar Albayalde , Department of the Interior and Local Government

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