Stiffer penaty sough for civilians wearing police, military uniforms

(MANILA TIMES) SEN. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada urged the government and the public to beware of the misrepresentation of people who pretend to be uniformed personnel by wearing police and military uniforms, and even using insignias as accessories.

Estrada, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, said persons outside of the police and military forces who would be caught wearing uniforms should have more serious penalties.

He filed Senate Bill (SB) 2149 proposing to have the current penalty of arresto mayor, which carries the penalty of imprisonment of one month and one day to six months, escalated to prision mayor in its minimum and medium periods or a jail term of six years and one day to 10 years.”

The current penalty under Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code is not commensurate to the offense committed and the damage that may be incurred to the victim, especially if the perpetrator is a public official. If the perpetrator is a public official, the penalty shall be prision mayor in its maximum period,” he said.Estrada said he has been pushing for the approval of his proposal since the 14th Congress.He said the measure also aims to harmonize the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 493, the law prohibiting the use or conferment of military or naval grades or titles by or upon persons not working for the AFP and Philippine Constabulary, now the PNP. 

In a separate bill, SB 2151, Estrada proposed the expansion of the coverage of RA 493 to include the ban on the use, wearing, manufacture, and sale of uniforms and textiles of uniforms of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Coast Guard.”Not a few came to my office complaining that persons wearing uniforms and/or using insignia pretending to be police officers accosted and extorted money from them.

It is also common that private individuals pretend to be police officers by wearing uniforms and/or using insignia in perpetrating serious crimes like kidnapping, robbery, or even murder to avoid resistance from the victims,” he said.”They deserve heavier penalty not only for maligning the image of our law enforcers, but it is also a disrespect to those who symbolize discipline, organization and the loyalty of the people who are committed to serve and protect the national flag, the Filipino people and the country,” said Estrada in Filipino.