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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

MOA with Ombuds to trash lawsuits against cops eyed


CORTES, Bohol December 22, (PIA) –The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in Bohol now eyes replicating a move which the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of the Ombudsman adopts to keep law enforcement’s morale up while doing their jobs. 

Mulling on following an initiative by the DOJ on quelling suits which are by preponderance of claims, clearly to intimidate government prosecutors, the PPOC is now looking at replicating this practice to keep its diligent police officers off the legal hooks while in the performance of their jobs. 

Earlier, City Police Chiel Col. George Vale told the council that many officers have been unsettled at the thought of responding to cases filed against them, all for doing their jobs. 

It was the concern that of city police chief George Vale brought to the council that had the council members similarly alarmed.
“It is true torture,” admits a police officer who also found himself in the opposite end of a lawsuit after an apprehended suspect rapped him with criminal and administrative cases. 

“The suits are part of the job,” Vale admitted though.

But for a police officer who is just doing his job, he said many are having a hard time seeking defense lawyers and risking a hard-earned retirement or lost benefits for such official act. 

While it would be just as ordinary for police doing their jobs to be sued by suspects, Vale bemoaned that with the most recent police operations they implemented, not a few of police officers are now facing cases, several of these really nothing but to threaten the police to just stop.

On this, no less that Provincial Prosecutor Macario Delusa who shared that the DOJ has a system put up at the Office of the Ombudsman, over cases which have been set to intimidate the prosecution. 

Delusa said the DOJ has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Office of the Ombudsman, to just simply dismiss cases filed, which are clearly set to harass and for them to give in. 

On this, Governor Edgar Chatto, PPOC Chairman, asked Fiscal Delusa to secure a copy of the MOA and have Bohol study it for the possibility of striking a similar agreement with the Ombudsman. 

It may also be recalled that the PPOC has a legal aid facility with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP).

Called the Legal Assistance for Effective Law Enforcement Program (LAELEP), the program assigns IBP or government lawyers to represent law enforcement clients, who have been sued in line with their duties. 

The program also includes financial assistance to law enforcers; as well as legal and paralegal trainings to equip police officers in the legal ways of doing their jobs as well as in the preparation of many police pleadings and legal documents.

But even with the LAELEP, police authorities hope striking a MOA with the Ombudsman can work much better as it would not need the Ombudsman anymore to ask the subject police officer to respond to anything but intimidation attempt.

On this development too, the governor hopes law enforcement authorities would be even more emboldened to do their jobs, even a hints of increasing the funds for the LEALEP becomes even more imperative with the police now being proactive. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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