Bill bans illegal use of PNP, AFP uniforms

(MANILA STANDARD) Senator Jinggoy  Estrada wants a law against the unauthorized use, sale, and manufacture of police, military, and Coast Guard uniforms.

Estrada said violators should be fined P20,000 and serve 10 years in jail.

He also said persons who will be found to be engaged in the unauthorized manufacture and sale of these uniforms should be duly prosecuted.

This includes the production of the textile of the said uniforms, infraction of which is punishable by P5,000 to P10,000 fine and imprisonment of two to five years or both.

Estrada filed Senate Bill No. 2151 proposing amendments to Republic Act 493, which he said would serve as a strong deterrent against “fake” policemen and military personnel, especially those illegally using the uniforms to commit crimes.

He cited mounting reports of extortion, kidnapping, holdup, and even ambush of government officials perpetrated by fake policemen and soldiers.

Estrada, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense, said it is about time to include in the management of the leadership of the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and even the secretaries of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) the proper use of uniform and eradicate fake enforcement authorities.

“As the defense establishment and our uniformed personnel strive hard to cleanse their ranks of corrupt members, the illegal use of their uniform by people who do not belong to the organization and posing as legitimate members while doing unlawful activities, cause problems to the entire force and negatively affect the people’s trust and confidence on authorities,” he also said.

In his proposed amendments to the provisions of RA 493, the law prohibiting the use or conferring of military or naval grades or titles by or upon persons not in service of the AFP and the PNP, Estrada said the prevailing policies and light penalties have failed to deter the public from misusing and abusing the uniform of law enforcers and protectors of the people and the State.

“This bill proposes to protect the image of the AFP and the PNP as a unified, well-disciplined, and respectable organization, by updating and clarifying RA 493 which was enacted in 1950, to specifically

include in the prohibition the wearing of uniform of military and police personnel by those not in the service of the AFP and the PNP.

This measure proposes longer jail terms and heavier fines for violators of the law, hopefully, to serve as a more effective deterrent,” the senator said. Under the existing law, the penalties for those who misrepresent themselves as a policeman or soldier, are fined by P2,000 to P5,000 and imprisonment of two to five years.