Senator seeks hefty fine, 10-year imprisonment vs illegal wearing, sale of AFP, PNP uniforms

(MANILA BULLETIN) Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is now seeking passage of the bill that seeks to impose heftier fines and imprisonment of up to 20 years for any person who would be found illegally wearing, selling and manufacturing uniforms of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In filing Senate Bill No. 2151, Estrada said it is imperative to amend Republic Act 493 to give more teeth to the law that prohibits the use or conferring of military or naval grades or titles by or upon persons not in service of the AFP and the PNP.

The senator noted the prevailing policies and light penalties on the use of military and police uniforms have failed to deter the public from misusing and abusing the uniform of law enforcers.

“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,” Estrada said.

Currently, the penalties for those who misrepresent themselves as a policeman or soldier, cost P2,000 to P5,000 and is punishable by two to five years imprisonment.

In filing the bill, Estrada seeks to increase the penalty to as much as P10,000 to P20,000 and or by imprisonment from five to 10 years.

The bill also seeks to include the uniforms of the officials of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“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,” he stressed.

“This measure proposes longer jail terms and heavier fines for violators of the law, hopefully, to serve as a more effective deterrent,” he said.