‘To learn today, to lead tomorrow’
Many of our people are not aware of the existence of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). For one thing, it is a relatively young organization that came about during the martial law years when city and municipal police forces were integrated with the Philippine Constabulary to form one of the major service commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The PNPA was founded on June 12, 1978, and has for its motto “To learn today, to lead tomorrow.” The first batch of 50 cadets were taken in with formal academic instructions taking place in Fort Bonifacio. After two years, 45 members of Maharlika Class of 1980 graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Public Safety. Later the course was extended to three years. In 1981 the school was granted a charter known as the “PNPA Academic Charter of 1981,” elevating it to the status of the premier educational and training institution for our national police forces.
After the Edsa Revolution and with the passage of Republic Act No. 6975 known as the “DILG Act of 1990,” the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Philippine Public Safety College were created under a Department of the Interior and
Local Government. The PNPA was placed under the supervision of the Philippine Public Safety College where it remains up to the present. In 1994, the PNPA moved to its new campus in Silang, Cavite, known as Camp General Mariano Castañeda. General Castañeda, a former AFP chief of staff, is best remembered as having saved the life of President Manuel Roxas who was the target of an assassination attempt by Julio Guillen during a rally at Plaza Miranda in 1947. For his courage and bravery, Castañeda was awarded the Medal for Valor.
In 1997 the course of instruction at the PNPA was lengthened to four years with a graduate receiving a bachelor of science degree major in public safety. For many years graduates of the Philippine Military Academy were part of the officer corps of the Philippine Constabulary/Integrated National Police of the AFP. However, with the establishment of the DILG, this component of the AFP was separated and placed under the new department that took over all police, fire and jail forces of the nation. This included the training of its own officers at the PNPA. The PMA Class of 1992 provided the last batch of PMA graduates taken in by the Philippine National Police. Today there are only a few PMA graduates in the organization although they hold most of the high positions, a situation that has been the subject of complaints by PNPA graduates who form the majority in the PNP office corps. In a few years’ time, PNPA graduates will take over complete control of the police organization as the PMAyers fade away.
There are some troubling incidents involving PNPA graduates that should be cause for serious concern to the DILG leadership.
A few years back, there was a report of brand-new PNPA graduates involved in a public brawl shortly after graduation. My recollection of the incident was that DILG chief Alfredo Lim ordered their arrest, subsequently meting out disciplinary
punishment. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Only last March, six graduates of PNPA Class of 2018 were beaten up by their underclassmen after graduation rites with President Duterte as the guest of honor. The incident took place at the PNPA barracks as the new graduates were packing their belongings. They suffered contusions and lacerations. Some PNP officials called it a “weird tradition” that takes place every now and then.
The latest incident only last month and probably the most disgusting, is the hazing of two fourth class cadets by way of
ordering them to perform oral sex on an upperclassman or on each other (the reports are conflicting), while other upperclassmen watched. Apparently the incident involved sons of senior police and jail officials.
These offenses committed by PNPA cadets and new graduates are danger signals that should alert the authorities. Something is terribly wrong and Gen. Eduardo Año who should now be interior secretary (the one-year period as OIC has lapsed) must undertake sweeping reforms in the training methods and value formation practices at the PNPA. We cannot say these are isolated cases that end up with the punishment or dismissal of those involved. We have to go deeper and reexamine the entire structure and programs of the organization, keeping in mind that in a few years’ time, PNPA graduates will take over complete leadership of the PNP. They will be responsible for public safety and order in our country.
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