The Birth of the Philippine Constabulary
With the advent of' civilian rule in the Philippines, a question arose as to who should be responsible for maintaining law and order in the island. The existing local police forces were too small to cope up with the growing problems. Vice Governor Luke R. Wright, the concurrent Secretary of the Department of Commerce and police for the U.S. Army in the Philippines who objected to toss the problem to the military, recommended to his fellow commissioners the immediate establishment of an organization to be charged with the task of maintaining peace and order in the localities already placed under civil rule. The proposal was welcomed b the Philippine Commission and in one of its first sessions, passed Organic Act No. 175, creating an insular police force. Titled "An Act Providing for the organization and government of an insular Constabulary and for the inspection of the municipal police", the legislation surprisingly called for an integrated approach and structure which was to be adopted by the Philippine government 75 years later.
The eventual capture of the elusive leader of the first Philippine Republic, General Emilio Aguinaldo on March 23, 1901, an event which signaled the end of the Filipino-American War, the restoration of peace and order in the Philippines remained a vexing problem to the colonizing Americans.
"Always Outnumbered But Never Outfought... "an old PC saying
A number of Aguinaldo's followers opted to carry oil the struggle for independence. Hostilities continued in some parts of the country, namely, Batangas, Mindoro, Cebu, Bohol and Samar. Meanwhile, outlaws took advantage of the confusion and intensified their depredations. Moreover, the social unrest created by five year of war which begun in 1896 had bred several uprisings of other acts of violence.
Realizing the fact that military solution to the problem is unwired, the military authorities opted to recommend to the Second Philippine Commission headed by William Taft to take over. In accordance with the instructions of the Secretary of War Elihu Root, the commission took over the government from the military on July 1901 with Taft as civil governor.
PHILIPPINE COMMISSION IMPLEMENTS ORGANIC ACT 175
The first district included the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac and City of Manila where the district headquarters was located. And Chief Baker was assigned as district inspector. The second district was composed of the provinces of Albay, Ambos, Camarines (now Cam Nte and Cam Sur) Cavite, Masbate, Sorsogon and Tayabas (now Quezon), which then included the island of Marinduque and placed tinder Maj Taylor, the district headquarters of which was set in Lucena, Tayabas. Tile third district comprised by the provinces of Antique, Bohol, Capiz, Iloilo, Leyte, Misamis (Mis Occ and Mis Or), Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Samar and Surigao. This district was under Capt. Goldsborough with headquarters in Iloilo.
On August 8, 1901, with the sanction of the U. S. War Department, Henry T. Alien, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, a regular captain but then a lieutenant colonel of the cavalry, U.S. Volunteers in the Philippines officially designated and confirms (] by the Commission as Chief of Constabulary. With his designation as Chief of Philippine Constabulary was formally inaugurated and on some day buckled down to work.
Alien issued General Order No 1 appointing some 68 hand-picked officers, mostly from the U.S. Volunteers in accordance with Act No 175 with rank of first, second, third, fourth class inspectors, Constabulary ranks that were later to be replaced by military titles.
But while these hand-picked officers had the necessary military preparations, they did not have any training and experience and police work. Worse, they had very little knowledge of the Filipino and his society. Hence, these officers were given crash course to properly acquaint them with the laws and traditions of the country and the customs of the people. After their training, they were broken up into groups of four or five, composed of a captain and three or four lieutenants and were sent to the different parts of the country to recruit, organize and train the Filipino entities ill police duty .
DECENTRALIZATION OF CONTROL
The problem of' effectively controlling a vast area from one central headquarters decided to decentralize the same. So, on October 14, 1901, the PC Chief issued General Order No 49 grouping the pacified provinces into three (3) Constabulary districts.
One day after, Chief Alien published Gen. Order No 49, Gov. Taft sent a report to War Secretary Root and spoke on the PC set up, saying "The general scheme is to create an insular police force of not more than one hundred and fifty men for each province selected from the native thereof, who may be mounted in whole or in part and who are placed under the immediate command of one or more, not exceeding four provincial inspectors. 'File whole body is placed under the control of a Chief and four assistant Chiefs of Constabulary. This scheme was not followed because while full powers are given to properly arm, equip, maintain and discipline force", the enlistees were ill-armed, ill equipped and ill-maintained.
Later in 1904, the PC Chief was redesignated as Director of Constabulary and the routine police duty, in these areas were entrusted to the PC. With the total lifting of martial rule in Luzon and the Visayas and the assignment to the PC of routine police work in Mindanao and Sulu, the need for the creation of additional Constabulary districts arose. Hence on June 13,1904, the PC Chief created through General Order No 73, two new districts. The fourth districts which comprised of the provinces of Abra, Cagayan, Isabela, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Mountain Province and Nueva Vizcaya with headquarters in San Fernando La Union (later transferred to Baguio City), while the fifth district. with headquarters in Zamboanga, embraced all the provinces of Mindanao and Sulu.
The places affected by police integration were in the outskirts of Manila, like Caloocan and Pasay hich became the favorite refuge of rebels, and criminals from Manila, due to the limited area of operation of the integration police system it could operate only in pacified areas.
FILIPINIANIZATION OF THE CONSTABULARY
This gradual Filipinization of the Constabulary officer corps proved to be a sound move for World War 1 was soon to break out and to drag the United State into it and many of the top Constabulary's American officers joined the U.S. Expeditionary Forces to France. This development gave the opportunity for the Filipinos to run the Constabulary themselves. The first to be given the chance was Brig General Rafael Crame, appointed PC Chief in December 1917. Thus, for the first time in 16 years of existence, the Constabulary was placed under Filipino leadership.
With the assumption of Gen Crame, the Constabulary districts were renamed and their respective districts redefined. The Fourth District came to be known as District of Northern Luzon based in San Fernando La Union; the First District was renamed District of Central Luzon; the Second District was renamed District of Southern Luzon; the Third District was renamed District of Visayas and the Fifth District was renamed district of Mindanao based in Zamboanga.
THE CONSTABLE UNDER THE COMMONWEALTH ACT
The National Defense Act or Commonwealth Act No. 1 on December 1935, was enacted creating the Philippine Army and this ended the 35 years of service and experience of the Philippine Constabulary as an insular police force. The Philippine Constabulary personnel and duties were transferred to the control of the Chief of Staff of the Philippine Army pursuant to Executive Order No 11 dated January 11, 1936.
President Manuel L Quezon saw that there was an urgent need of an army to cope tip with the worsening international conflicts. In his desire to complete this defense program before the country's independence after its. 10 year transition period as commonwealth government, President Quezon asked general Mac Arthur to under-take the country's defense build tip. Their combined efforts, however, became almost useless for as General Mac Arthur put it, "war came in five years and American aid came too late and too little".
During the organization of the Philippine Army, veteran Constabulary officers were appointed to key positions in the Army. Brig Gen Jose delos Reyes headed the Army as Acting Chief of Staff. Brig Gen Basilio Valdes immediate past PC Chief and Col Guillermo Francisco were appointed assistant Chief of Staff.
Brig Gen Guillermo Francisco was appointed Chief of Constabulary which he held until 1942. During the year after its revitalization, the PC set up and strength were vastly improved. A striking force, tile General Service Battalion was organized at Camp Crame in Quezon City. As a Combat Unit, the General Service troops were better trained and equipped than any of the Provincial Constabulary commands and detachment.
The insular police duties of the defunct Philippine Constabulary were entrusted to the State Police created by Commonwealth Act No.88 approved on October 26, 1936. All municipal city police forces and provincial guard organization were consolidated and placed cinder the control and supervision of the Department of Interior and were called the State Police. This State Police was assigned the duty to properly preserve law and order and vigilantly prevent the commission and perpetration of public offenses.
THE CONSTABULARY RECONSITUTED
Unable to cope up with the worsened peace and order situation faced by the new government, the State Police was abolished in 1938 at the instance of President Quezon himself. This approval of Commonwealth Act No 343 on June 25, 1938 reconstituted the Philippine Constabulary. This act, further implemented by President Quezon's Executive Order No. 153, specifically withdraw the Philippine Constabulary from the Army as an independent unit and detailed as a National Police Force.
Placed tinder the Department of Interior, the reactivated Constabulary was empowered to prevent and suppress brigandage, unlawful assemblies, riots, insurrections and other breaches of peace and violations of the law, to make arrests and seizures according to law and to execute any lawful warrant or order of arrest issued against any person fore violation of law.
Due to the worsening international unrest, the Constabulary's strength was increased from 7,500-15,000 men. The First and Second PC Regiments were activated. Meanwhile, a third regiment was organized and trained at Camp Keithley in Lanao in September, 194 1. These three (3) PC regiments were separately trained. After intensive training, Brig Gen George Barker Jr inducted the First Regiment into the United States Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) in October 15, 1941; the Second Regiment, in December 12,1941.
By January 1942, most of the Constabulary forces that composed the 2nd Regular Division (USAFFE) were in Bataan Peninsula with other Fil-American forces. An order of the day said, "On Bataan and Corregidor, in Aparri, Lingayen and Atimonan, everywhere in the islands where invaders dared to set foot, Constabulary troops distinguished themselves in action against overwhelming odds.
THE CONSTABLE DURING WORLD WAR II
The Filipino nation wake up in the morning of December 8, 1941 to the grim news of the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. General Mac Arthur himself stunned by the news, knew that the Archipelago was in the grave danger, under immediate aid from the United States would arrive on time.
In simultaneous bombings, missions Japanese Naval plane from Formosa attack Clark Field in Pampanga, Iba Field in Zamboanga, John flay Air Base in Baguio City and Tuguegarao in December 8, 1941. Aircraft on the ground and installations in this airfield were severely destroyed, reducing the U.S. Air Fore's strength to barely half.
On same day, the 2nd Battalion of the First PC Regiment was ordered to Bataan immediately, while the Second PC Regiment and the remaining units of the First Regiment were ordered to remain in the Greater Manila Area to round up all aliens believed to be sympathetic to the enemy. In addition, these units were ordered to secure centers of communication, all public utilities, as well as the metropolitan area against subversive elements.
The Constabulary's participation in the country's defense during World War II cannot be measured or told in exact detail. These deeds of valor during these days and hours of war which forever lost to history. Suffice to say that the Filipino soldier stood his ground valiantly for love of liberty, our country and people.
Of all the guerrilla centers, the Mindanao guerrilla movements were the best organized to conduct operations. Like the Visayan resistance movements, the Mindanao guerrillas were able to make early contacts with Australia. Due to the island's proximity to Australia, the first assistance of supplies and equipment from USAFFE headquarters arrived in Mindanao.
The blazing chapters of heroism during the war year were not exclusively parts of the Constabulary's epic story alone, although incidents involving the Constabulary Division have been singled out in most cases.
THE CONSTABLE UNDERGROUND
Guerrilla units sprang tip in all parts of the country by the middle of 1942. Reports of the existence of guerrilla in the Philippines reached Gen Mac Arthur in Australia first through a radio message relayed by Col Nakar, a guerrilla leader in Central Luzon, in June, and later on confirmed by first-hand reports of ('apt William Osborne, Damon Guase and Frank Young.
Gen Mac Arthur immediately reorganized these units and assigned officers of his headquarters to work closely with these units. USAFFE headquarters in Australia took steps to communicate with resistance units and centers in the Philippines.
Before the end of 1942, most guerrilla units and centers in the Philippines had already established radio contacts with USAFFE headquarters in Australia. These movements reported their own activities and operations, the enemy's movements and condition of their respective areas.
THE POST WAR CONSTABLE
This situation precipitated various reforms and innovations with Philippine Constabulary and program of activities. The special units and task force were called upon to double their efforts and work move closely with government agencies and civic groups in an attempt to stem the rising tide of chaos and anarchy throughout the country. Unfortunately, the Constabulary could not move freely, its hands, as well as those of the military establishments were tied.
On October 28, 1944, President Sergio Osmenia issued all Executive Order creating all insular police called Military Police Command, USAFFE pursuant to USAFFE Gen Orders No 50 & 51 redesignated it as Military Police Command, AFWESPAC. This idea was conceived to restore the bad image of the Constabulary during the Japanese occupation when these constables were made to run after the guerrillas.
However, after the years of existence, the Constabulary was revived on July 1, 1947. About 12,000 officers and men were withdrawn from the Military Police Command and transferred to the Department of Interior and constituted the National Police Force designated is the Philippine Constabulary. All functions of the Military Police Command except those military in character "were thereafter exercised and assumed by the PC in connection with which Sections 832-840 & 848 of the Revised Administrative Code were declared in full force and effect, pursuant to Executive Order Nr 94 dated October 4,1947.
The early seventies saw the rapid escalation of subversive activities of the insurgents throughout the country. Tile New People's Army the military arm of the revitalized Communist Party of the Philippines was openly defying government troop in the countryside. Countless subversive organizations had cropped up in almost sectors of the populace. In Mindanao, a secessionist was beginning to gain ground among the Muslims.
The Constabulary was in this virtual state of helplessness when the country begun to be rocked rallies and demonstrations. Although President Marcos later dismissed these happenings as the inevitable outcome of the modernizing process, modernization being a disquieting, at times convulsive undertaking because it is fact revolutionary, it was in truth, like all the violent rallies and demonstrations that followed were pan of the communist plan to sow chaos and anarchy and thereby pave the way for CPP takeover.
Nevertheless, the germ was there when in mandating the setting up of an insular police force, the Second Philippine Commission, though Organic Act No. 175 enacted on July 18, 1901 called for the organization and establishment of an Insular Constabulary and for the inspection of the municipal police.
So, on September 21, 1972, the then President Ferdinand E Marcos proclaimed Martial Law throughout the country by virtue of Proclamation 1081. This law diagnosed the actual peace and order situation undertaken by these lawless elements of the communist and other armed groups organized to out throw the Republic of the Philippines by armed violence and force which assured the magnitude of an actual state of war against our people and the Republic of the Philippines.
In a month's time, peace and order was restored. Bombing suddenly stopped. Rallies and demonstrations, and their attendant brutal violence ceased to be the order of the day, NPA's and secessionists were 1'orced to retreat to the jungles and lie low. The private armies and the terror they used to spread disappeared. The citizen was once again safe to walk the street and perform his daily chore. Justice and sanity once more reigned.
The Integrated National Police
Police integration is not at all a new concept, here or elsewhere. In the Philippines, the idea is old as the Constabulary itself although it was not well defined when it first dawned.
So after almost three years of martial rule, the integration of all police forces throughout the country with the PC followed. The ideas and the theories that have been developed. and implemented during 75 years of' the PC finally came into practical consolidation when former President Marcos issued Organic Act 175 on August 8, 1975.
The principal authors of the Republic Act 6975 were Senators Ernesto N Maceda and Aquilino Pimentel, Congressmen Jose S Cojuangco Jr and Rodrigo Gutang. They moved for the PNP's creation to professionalize the police force and make it susceptible to the plight of the general public.
Creation of the Philippine National Police
Law enforcement is vital in the stability and progress of all nations. Thus, the conception of a unified national police was borne out of this premise.
Giving rise to the unification of the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police whose functions is symmetrical to ensure the safety and security of the people. Republic Act 6975 was signed into law on December 13, 1990 by then President Corazon C Aquino which called for the creation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the reorganization of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in keeping 'with the mandate of our constitution for a police force that national scope and civilian character.
In response to the call for public safety and reforms within the organization, Honorables Teodulo C Natividad, Blas F Ople, Regalado E Maambong and Rustico delos Reyes authored the provisions in the 1987 constitution calling for the creation of a police organization that is national scope and civilian character thus paving way to the establishment of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Upon the effectively of the law, after its signing into law on 13 December 1990, the PNP underwent a transitory period and on 31 March 1991, President Corazon. C Aquino named General Cesar P Nazareno as the First Director General of the Philippine National Police.
The activation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) did not effect the organizational set-up and staffing pattern of the force. At the HPNP, the Director General has ten (10) Directorial Staff namely: 1. Directorate for Personnel 2. Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development 3. Directorate for Logistics, 4.Directorate for Research and Development 5. Directorate for Comptrollership, 6. Directorate for Plans, 7.Directorate for Police-Community Relations, and 9. Directorate for Investigation and 10. Special Staff under him. In addition, there exist administrative support units, namely: Logistics Support Service (LSS), Computer Service, Finance Service, Dental and Medical Service, Communication and Electronic Service, Chaplain Service, Legal Service and Headquarters Support Service; and the Operational Support Units, namely: Maritime Group, Crime Laboratory, Intelligence Group, Police Security Group, Criminal Investigation Group, Narcotics Group, Special Action Force, Traffic Management Group, Police-Community Relations Group, Aviation Security Group and Civil Security Group. A t the different regions, the 15 Regional Office were maintained and retained their original structural forces. The fifteen(15) REGIONAL OFFICES and their locations are as follows: REGIONAL OFFICE I- Camp Gen Oscar Florendo, Parian San Fernando, La Union; REGIONAL OFFICE 2- Camp Adduru, Tuguegarao, Cagayan; REGIONAL OFFICE 3- Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga; REGIONAL OFFICE 4- Camp Vicente Lim Canlubang, Laguna; REGIONAL OFFICE 5- Camp Simeon A Ola, Legazpi City; REGIONAL OFFICE 6- Camp Martin Delgado, Iloilo City; REGIONAL OFFICE 7Camp Sergio Osmena Sr., Cebu City; REGIONAL OFFICE 8- Camp Ruperto K Kangleon, Palo, Leyte; REGIONAL OFFICE 9- Camp Justice R.. T. Lim, Blvp, Zamboanga City; REGIONAL OFFICE 10- Camp Alagar, Cagayan de Oro City; REGIONAL OFFICE 11 - Camp Catitipan, Maguindanao, REGIONAL OFFICE 12- Camp Parang, Maguindanao; ARMM - Camp Salipada Pendatun, Parang, Maguindanao; PROCAR OFFICE - Camp Bado Dangwa, La Trinidad,.Benguet; and the NCR- Camp General Tomas Karingal, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.
On 29 January 1991, at Camp Crame, Quezon City, the Philippine Constabulary and the Integrated National Police were retired and the PNP was activated in its place. The occasion drew mixed reactions among its peers, one of regret and another of hope that this newly established police organization will finally be the answer we have been looking for. President Corazon C Aquino appealed to the Filipino people to keep an open mind and cooperate to make this work for a better nation. As she addressed tile new PNP leadership, she ordered them to view the event as an opportunity for better service and a chance for professional growth.
The National Capital Region which covers Metro Manila is divided into five (5) Districts each headed by a District Director: The five (5) Districts are as follows Western Police District (WPD)- Manila; Eastern Police District (EPD); Northern Police District (NPD); Central Police District (CPD); Q uezon City; and Southern Police District (SPD).
On 28 October 1992, after the retirement of General Cesar P Nazareno,, General Raul S Imperial became the second PINP Chief. This though was short lived because he retired oil 06 May 1993.
On August 1992, due to the adverse publicities about erring policemen in the service, the newly elected President Fidel V Ramos sought measures to restore the people's faith by revamping the Philippine National Police (PNP). To prove his sincerity in cleansing the police force, General Nazareno was relieved and transferred to the President's office. To replace him in acting capacity was Deputy Director General Raul S Imperial. This was on 28 August 1992.
Deputy Director General Raul S lmperial together with Secretary Rafael M Alunan III of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) was given the difficult task to dialogue with the private sector and its personnel in line with improving the image of the men in uniform.
To complement these dialogues, the present leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) suggested the reorientation of its men on value formation. Seminars were conducted to this effect. To make the reorientation more effective. the PNP vision was created which goes, "We are committed to the vision of professional, dynamic and highly motivated PNP, supported by a responsive community, regarded as one of bite most credible national institutions and ranked among the best in Asia". With this vision, Deputy Director General Raul S Imperial challenged all PNP personnel to bring this vision into a reality.
After a thorough revamp in the PNIII, President Fidel V Ramos appointed General Umberto Rodriguez as the third PNP Chief on 06 May 1993. He was given the arduous task of upgrading the tainted image of the PNP and uplifting the morale and welfare of every police officer in the service. Gifted with talent, Director General Umberto Rodriguez masterly guided the organization to what is has become today; all organization fully committed with sense of dignity, loyalty and total dedication ill serving the citizenry of the Republic. He retired on 08 July 1994.
Under Director General Sarmiento's stewardship, the organization, as it is done centered its attention in helping the country to move forward economically by maintaining peace and order, assisting the government in times of calamities and combating violence and lawlessness. He imbibed to the minds of the entire PNP personnel of their commitment to the entire populace through the POLICE 2000. It may not be a perfect organization but it is forever cleansing its ranks-to rid of the very few misfits who have tarnished its image. The PNP is currently intensifying its operations on "OPLAN PAGLALANSAG" in answer to the President's call to dismantle all existing private armed groups throughout the archipelago and "OPLAN PAGBABAGO" as the organization's way of religiously cleansing its force of misguided elements. Indeed, our police force have a great task ahead of them but with the people behind it, how can it fail.
On 08 July 1994, a very young officer was chosen by President Fidel V Ramos to lead the PNP. A member of class '66 of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Director General Recaredo Arevalo Sarmiento II vowed to continue what his past predecessors have initiated and urged the members of the Philippine National Police to help the government to fulfill its goal towards the Philippine 2000.