The Philippine National Police spokesperson appeared to live up to his name the other day, shocking the public with provocative, even cavalier, remarks. But perhaps Senior Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac was merely giving voice to a sentiment shared by some, if not many, graduates of the Philippine Military Academy: that they should retain control of the PNP.

From reports, Sindac did it in unusual fashion. He likened both the PMA, the country’s traditional source of military leaders, and the Philippine National Police Academy or PNPA, the relatively new institution training the next generation of leaders for the police, to popular dishes, and expressed the deceptively simple hope that, maybe, variety was the spice of PNP life.

“We should define the PMA as a leadership school [that] develops leaders,” he was quoted as saying. “The PNP would like to avail itself of the leaders being produced by the PMA.” Sounds innocent enough. “The PNPA is also a leadership school, but maybe it’s not enough. We want to have a variety of [officers’ schools] … so it will not be all fried chicken. We will also have crispy pata (deep-fried pork hock).”

Now that sounds positively tempting.

But it is a temptation to be resisted. The 1987 Constitution explicitly calls for the creation of a police force that is “national in scope and civilian in character.” Like many other constitutional innovations, the civilian character of the PNP is a direct response to the abuses and excesses of the Marcos years.

The militarization of Philippine society that martial law made possible included the police among its first targets; the result was the assimilation of what was called the Philippine Constabulary-Integrated National Police into the Armed Forces. That integration hastened the transformation of the PC-INP into one of the most brutal instruments of military rule, and forever confused the imperatives of law enforcement with the insidious, often manufactured demands of “national security.”

It is utterly dismaying to hear the PNP spokesperson articulate a viewpoint steeped—or stewed, to extend his food metaphor—in that unfortunate confusion.

Sindac, himself a PMA graduate, also referenced the Local Government Code of 1991 as a possible obstacle to his crispy-pata fantasy. It disallows the hiring of PMA alumni for law enforcement positions. But that landmark law traces its bracing sense of precaution to the Constitution, and to the same martial-law trauma that shaped the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. How strange that Sindac mentions the Local Government Code, but not the Constitution. Don’t PMA cadets study the basic law of the land?

But there is more to the controversy than merely the unsettling spectacle of a spokesperson putting his boot in his mouth.

A letter written to the chief of the Philippine National Police and to the chief of staff of the Armed Forces (as it happens, both PMA graduates or “cavaliers,” in the romantic language of the military academy), explained an initiative by PMA alumni to propose the assignment of PMA graduates to the PNP in sharp, even chilling, terms.

“Its intention is to keep the PMA breed in control—both of the AFP and especially the PNP, which has a fading number of cavaliers,” wrote Rameses Victorious Villagonzalo, the legal counsel of PMA Cebu Squad Inc.

Sindac has since distanced himself and the PNP leadership from Villagonzalo’s extreme position, saying it “did not necessarily” represent their views. (He has also written a letter to the editor, printed in this issue, saying “the proposition of readmitting PMA graduates into the PNP” was still under study. Next time, however, he should avail himself of more resolute language.)

But is there a real difference between the view that the PNP, despite the PNPA’s two decades of existence, still needs the services of the PMA, and the view that “the PMA breed” must retain control of the second largest government agency? Language and food metaphors aside, they are both confused, shockingly, about the true role of the police.

Not national security, carried out by soldiers, but law enforcement, upheld by civilian police.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • raptor_d_lonewolf

    simula noong magkaroon ng mga PMA grads ang police force eh nagka-kurap-kurap na ang ating kapulisan. remember the MPD aka manila’s finest.
    now its called manila’s dirtiest!!!!

  • amelius23

    PMA graduates should know by now that they are relegated to military duty and PNPA graduates as protector of civilian from criminals. The recent survey which showed that PNP is the most corrupt branch of govt. is an eye opener for PMA graduates who lorded over the PNP hierarchy for a long time and got this perception by the public. It is the time now to fully hand over the leadership of the PNP to PNPA graduates who are more trained to administer civilian affair. Why crispy pata is perceived more palatable than fried chicken by PMA graduates bespeak of what they anticipate to be when they attain star rank positions with all the perks and position of a master who see his PNPA graduate counterpart as a poor copy cat? Remember the Euro generals now who were put on the dock by the Ombudsman? How many PMA graduate generals are there in active service and retired who now should face their days in court because once and for all they perceived themselves before as immortals or immorals? Let the like of sen. Ping Lacson who will be appointed by the govt. as an anti corruption czar to put an end of his mistah’s shenanigans in PNP uniform.

  • Descarte5E

    The question is, What is the real motive behind all this proposition? PMA is a leadership school? What kind of leadership? Leaders who will lead military and the AFP into Martial Law? Coup-d-etat? Plunder? Ask Gringo. Ask Trillianes.
    PMA Honor Code:
    “We, the cadets, do not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate among us those who do so”
    The spirit of the PMA Honor Code:
    “Do I intend to deceive?”
    “Do I intend to take undue advantage?”

    Hindi kaya ni-recite ni Gen. Reyes ang Honor Code bago sya nagbaril? Pero hindi na sya cadet, General na sya. Tama ba?

  • Juanito Cruz

    It would have appeared neutral if he also suggested that PNPA graduates be allowed to be in the Armed Forces, so there is reciprocity.

  • WeAry_Bat

    Kung pagkain man lang…

    beef steak – US mil?
    laing – NPA?
    tilapia – MNLF MILF?
    dinuguan – Abu?

    So kung kumakain sila pmayers at hinihila hila yung mga pagkain, eh, secret planning na pala iyon.


    Phil Acad of KIepto Univ (PAK U)

  • Abnoy’s Mongoloidism

    I want friend chicken. KFC! Now na!

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks

May 24, 2015

Feeling good