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Wearing of PNP uniforms is illegal, police exec reminds civilians

By: Emmariel Ares - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | March 14,2024 - 01:13 PM

Wearing of PNP uniforms is illegal, civilians reminded

Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) personnel | Photo by Emmariel Ares

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Civilians are prohibited by law from wearing police uniforms or other uniforms of law enforcement agencies in the Philippines.

This was the reminder of Police Lieutenant Colonel Janette Rafter, deputy director for operations of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).

READ: ‘Policewoman’ nabbed, charged for unauthorized use of PNP uniform, ID

In previous years, a few individuals in Cebu City and neighboring cities were apprehended for falsely impersonating police officers by wearing the uniform in public.

Recently, a woman was arrested during a police checkpoint along Zuellig St. in Barangay Subangdaku after personnel of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) noticed that she was not wearing the PNP athletic uniform properly.

The suspect, Myrlin Plandes Beard, also presented a fake PNP identification card and was taken into custody.

The improper use of police uniforms and insignia by unauthorized individuals is penalized under the Article 179 of the Revised Penal Code.

According to Rafter, violators will be held responsible for the illegal action as stipulated in the law.

READ: ‘Fake’ policeman who tried to convince 15-year-old girl to get into his SUV nabbed in Mandaue

Article 179 on the “Illegal use of uniforms or insignia” states that “The penalty of arresto mayor shall be imposed upon any person who shall publicly and improperly make use of insignia, uniforms or dress pertaining to an office not held by such person or to a class of persons of which he is not a member.”

This means that offenders may face jail time for one month and one day to at least six months. 

Rafter further explained that wearing the uniforms of organizations they did not belong to could also pose a risk on the lives of individuals.

READ: Public warned against fake cops forcibly entering homes

This is true for police personnel, in particular, as they are typically deployed to respond to dangerous situations and face criminals.

“Once magsuot ka og isa ka uniporme, responsibilidad gayod kana kanimo. Especially kanang pagsuot og mga police uniform or any law enforcement nga uniform,” said Rafter.

(Once you wear a uniform, it is your responsibility. Especially, the ones who wear a police uniform or any law enforcement uniform.)

She said that persons who were only dressed like police officers would be left unprotected if they encountered criminals with malicious intent while out in public.

Rafter also said that while it might be difficult for the general public to distinguish the real police officers from the impostors, authorities could easily tell.

She said that they had the ability to determine this by judging the manner they were would be wearing the uniform and the way they would act.

READ: Acorda warns vs. wearing of cops’ uniforms following a pawnshop heist

As an example of this, policewomen always have their hair up in a ponytail while wearing their official uniforms on duty.

“That’s why we have the LOI Tamang Bihis. Nana pud tay executive order ana nga nag-supplement nianing Article 179…kana bitawng pagpamaligya ug magunauthorized nga uniform sa dili authorized nga tawo nga mosuot,” said Rafter.

(That’s why we have the LOI Tamang Bihis. We also have that executive order that would supplement this Article 179…that one that is sold and who would okay an unauthorized uniform to those persons who are not authorized to wear them.)

Under the PNP Letter of Instruction (LOI) Tamang Bihis, police personnel are prescribed specific guidelines on how to wear all types of PNP uniforms.

This also includes the use of awards and decorations, medals, and shoes.

Meanwhile, the unauthorized manufacture, sale and distribution of PNP uniforms, insignias and other accoutrements is prohibited under the Executive Order No. 297.

Business establishments in violation of this will be forced to close, have their permits canceled, condemned, and have their paraphernalia seized.

Rafter said that because it could affect the reputation of the organization as well as the safety of the public, it would be important for them to impose these rules.

Furthermore, wearing uniforms owned by acquaintances or passed down by relatives is also prohibited by law.

“Actually, we have the proper disposal of uniform namo. Nana gyud mi unsaon na siya paglabay, dili na siya basta basta nga ilabay nimo or di na siya pwede ipamana nimo…We have certain way sa procedure according to…memorandum circular on how to properly dispose of used uniforms,” said Rafter.

(Actually, we have the proper disposal of our uniform. We already have this on how to dispose of the uniforms, it cannot be thrown just as easily or you cannot just hand it over to relatives…We have a certain way of procedure according to … memorandum circular on how to properly dispose of used uniforms.)

While there were some individuals who admitted to wearing the uniform to commit crimes, Rafter said that there were also individuals whose sole purpose was to wear the attire.

However, she urged the public to report these persons to police no matter what their intentions would be.

“Kung naa gani moy kadudahan gani nga mga polis or somebody who is wearing any uniform sa atong law enforcement agencies nga magduda gani mo, pwede gyud ninyo na isalong sa atong kapulisan dayon,” she said.

(If you have someone that you doubt that he is a policeman or somebody who is wearing any uniform in our law enforcement agencies that you doubt, you can really report it to the police immediately.)

To individuals, who may have the intention to buy an unauthorized police uniform and wear them in public, Rafter reminded them that they will be held accountable legally.

“Let this be a reminder sa tanan or advice nga og dili ka miyembro niana, ayaw gud pagsuot. Because the mere wearing of it, accountable na ka sa balaod nato…So dili na lang gyud nato na isuot. Kasi for example, sa law enforcement agencies, it’s also for your safety,” she said.

(Let this be a reminder to all or advice to those who are not members or the military or police, please don’t wear them. Because the mere wearing of it, it will be held accountable to our law…so don’t just wear it. Because for example,  in law enforcement agencies, it’s also for your safety.)

In addition to this, she advised those who wish to wear the PNP uniform to apply to the police academy to become a police officer.

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TAGS: CCPO, wearing police uniforms

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