MANILA, Philippines — Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to bring back his pet war on drugs campaign to the Philippine National Police, the Department of Interior and Local Government urged the public to report authorities found committing abuses or wrongdoings in relation to their anti-narcotics operations.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, DILG officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy said police malpractices could be reported to the People’s Law Enforcement Board (PLEB) organized at the city and municipal level, which has check and balance mechanism that gives “ordinary citizens the power to complain against law enforcers who abuse their authority.”
“Early on, the President has emphasized that while he supports the police, he will not tolerate rogue policemen in the PNP. I therefore encourage the public not to hesitate in reporting any abuse or wrongdoing committed by cops to the PLEB,” said Cuy.
“If anyone is hesitant to report abuses to police authorities, they can instead complain to the PLEB which is a civilian agency located in every local government unit in the country,” he added.
Section 43 of Republic Act 6975 or the DILG Act of 1990 provides for the creation of PLEBs in every city/municipality to conduct hearing and adjudication of citizens’ complaints against uniformed members of the PNP.
Cuy said PLEBs all over the country are powerful agencies that “have the authority to discipline policemen.”
Among these powers are investigating and adjudicating all administrative charges formally filed with, or referred to it, against any PNP member, and imposing corresponding penalties that ranges from the withholding of the privileges, restriction to specified limits, suspension or forfeiture of salary or fine, demotion in rank of not more than one rank or dismissal from the service of the erring police.
PLEBs are also empowered to administer oaths, summon witnesses, and require the production of documents, records, books, and the like under the subpoena duces tecum, according to Cuy.
He said the LGUs are also mandated to include in their annual budget an allocation for the maintenance and operation of their local PLEBs.
Sec. 72 of Republic Act 8551 states that the Sangguniang Panglungsod or Sangguniang Bayan in every city and municipality shall create at least one PLEB for every 500 police officers in a city or municipality and for each of the legislative districts in a city.
PLEBs shall be composed of any member of the Sangguniang Panglungsod or Sangguniang Bayan chosen by their respective Sanggunians, any barangay captain of the city or municipality chosen by the Association of Barangay Captains, and three other members from the private sector and among the respected members of the community known for their probity and integrity with three years term of office.
In a recently issued operational guidelines, the DILG said that a project management office (PMO) at the national level shall be instituted to initiate capacity development activities for PLEB members in the performance of their duties and responsibilities.
The PLEB-PMO is also expected to develop a monitoring system for the boards to be able to track the number of PLEBs organized within an LGU, the number of cases the PLEBs receive and, if said cases have been resolved, among others.