Jinggoy takes a stand vs uniform fraud: Up to 10 years behind bars for fake cops, soldiers

(POLITIKO) Senator Jinggoy Estrada has received a flurry of complaints about extortion and other abuses allegedly perpetrated by people posing as law enforcement officers.

Determined to tackle the concern head-on, Estrada proposed stiffer penalties against those caught unlawfully wearing military and police uniforms.

“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,” Estrada said in a statement.

“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 added.

To tighten the campaign against the illegal wearing of military or police uniforms, Estrada has filed Senate Bill No. 2149 raising the prison term to a range of six years to 10 years, from the current one month to six months.

He noted that the current penalty does not commensurate with the kind of 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 to be imposed shall be prision mayor in its maximum period,” said Estrada, the chair of the Senate committee on national defense and security.

Meanwhile, Estrada also filed Senate Bill No. 2151 expanding 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 Philippine Coast Guard.

“Mas mabigat na parusa ang dapat kaharapin nila dahil hindi lamang nila dinudungisan ang imahe ng ating mga alagad ng batas, paglapastangan din ito sa mga sumisimbolo ng disiplina, organisasyon at kahusayan ng mga taong nanumpa ng katapatan sa bandila, sa publiko at sa bansa,” Estrada said.