Philippine National Police

De Lima proposes raising cops’ retirement age from 56 to 60

JC Gotinga

OFFICERS. This file photo shows officers of the Philippine National Police

file photo

Many police officials retire just when they've gained enough experience and expertise to lead the organization, says Senator Leila de Lima

Senator Leila de Lima has filed a bill proposing to raise the police’s age of compulsory retirement to 60 years old, saying cops’ current retirement age of 56 is “too young.”

The opposition senator said the relatively early mandatory retirement age has been a disservice to the police force, especially in the case of its senior officers. Just when they have gained enough experience and expertise to be appointed to high-ranking positions, they are forced to retire after having a short term in office.

De Lima cited former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Camilo Cascolan, who retired on November 10 after a term of roughly two months. Cascolan was replaced by General Debold Sinas, who figured in the “mañanita” controversy when he was Metro Manila police chief.

“This stint for a PNP Chief is too brief a time to ensure continuity in PNP’s programs and develop a working relationship with one’s subordinates,” De Lima said in her explanatory note to Senate Bill no. 1899, filed on November 10 and shared with reporters on Tuesday, November 17.

The senator cited a US study that said improvements in technology have made the conduct of police work physically easier in recent years. Improvements in the treatment of chronic conditions have also made health “much less important” when considering retirement.

This and the steady upward trend in life expectancy data in the Philippines means more productive years for members of the police force, many of whom want to work longer, De Lima said.

De Lima’s bill aligns with a statement by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who said that extending the retirement age would ensure better and more experienced officers at the helm of the PNP.

“In prematurely ending the careers of the police force with a 56-year-old retirement age, the younger generation of police men and women are deprived of mentoring opportunities by their seniors who still possess sharpness of mind, high level of fitness, agility and strength of body,” De Lima said.

Another advantage of raising cops’ retirement age – savings in retirement benefits given by the government.

“By increasing the age of compulsory retirement, the government may save money by not paying retirement benefits so early,” De Lima said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has a similar retirement age.

A similar proposed measure to increase the age of AFP members is pending at the Senate. Besides optimizing the leadership of the military, raising the retirement age would help address the ballooning cost of retired soldiers’ retirement benefits and pensions.

De Lima is still detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City, over illegal drug charges. She insists she is innocent. Many groups and even other governments have called for De Lima’s release, saying the cases against her are a form of political persecution for her investigation of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.