MANILA, Philippines – If the uniformed men and women tasked to “serve and protect” are earning extra through illegal means, it’s high time they think twice.
Officials are now working on the set of rules and regulations for lifestyle checks on members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said on Wednesday, September 17.
Roxas said in a news conference in Camp Crame that “in a week or two,” the PNP and National Police Commission (Napolcom), both under his command, will release a memorandum circular setting the procedures for the proposed lifestyle check.
“Ayon sa ating batas, kung merong kayamanan na hindi tugma o hindi maipaliwanag ng income tax return (According to the law, if you have properties that don’t match your income tax return), prima facie, it is deemed to be illegally obtained,” Roxas said.
Both the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Ombudsman are also among the groups helping draft the rules, Roxas added.
Calls for lifestyle checks on PNP personnel stemmed from a series of high-profile crimes involving cops themselves. On September 1, a photo showing men and several vehicles accosting another SUV along EDSA went viral. (READ: Prevent bad cops? Open a PNP school)
PNP officials later revealed at least 9 police officers and 1 dismissed cop, almost all from the La Loma police station in Quezon City, were part of the robbery and kidnapping incident. A week before that, another cop admitted to being hired to kill race car driver Enzo Pastor for P100,000. (#AnimatED: PNP scalawags and squabbles)
It was later discovered that some of the cops involved in the incident are millionaires.
Campaign against tax evaders
Is the PNP’s big boss willing to undergo a lifestyle check himself? “Siyempre (Of course),” Roxas said.
“Wala tayong si-sinohin, walang tayong sasantuhin…at kabahagi ito ng pinapasulat natin sa Napolcom, sa DILG, at sa PNP IAS kung ano ang patakaran para hindi masasabing personal, kontra sa kahit kanino….There will be a protocol kung sino ang i-che-check,” said Roxas.
(There will be no sacred cows. Part of the memorandum being drafted by the Napolcom, DILG and PNP IAS are rules to prevent cops from claiming that the investigations are personal in nature and would single out specific people. There will be protocol on who will be checked.)
The rules include the frequency of lifestyle checks depending on one’s position in the PNP, and will be patterned after the rules on lifestyle checks on members of the BIR and the Bureau of Customs.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares is also being invited to join the investigating body which will be composed of the PNP’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) and the Napolcom. The IAS is the same group under the PNP tasked to investigate complaints against its members.
Henares’ possible inclusion in the investigating body also means cops whose lifestyles don’t match their declared income may also face tax evasion charges.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police Director Carmelo Valmoria, whose office oversees the cops involved in the high-profile EDSA robbery and kidnapping case, said he has no qualms over undergoing a lifestyle check.
“As long as nasa government service ka, public property ka eh (If you’re in government service, you’re public property)," he explained.
Valmoria added that PNP generals are also required to submit their Income Tax Returns (ITR) whenever they are promoted. – Rappler.com