Aquino vetoes bill removing height requirement for cops, jailguards, firemen

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Monday, April 1, 2013

MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III has maintained height requirement for police, jail officers and firemen, Malacañang said Monday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a press briefing that the Chief Executive vetoed the consolidated enrolled Senate Bill 3217/House Bill 6203 entitled "An Act Repealing the Minimum Height Requirement for Applicants to the Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)."

Under existing laws, particularly the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998 (RA 8551), the BFP and BJMP Professionalization Act of 2004 (RA 9263 as amended by RA 9592) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government Act of 1990 (RA 6975), applicants to the PNP, BJMP and BFP must comply with certain general qualifications for appointment to the service.

"Whereas height is among these qualifications (1.62 m or 5'4" for male and 1.57 m or 5'2" for female), a waiver of this qualification is allowed under certain conditions. Hence, the total repeal of the height requirement among these service bureaus is unnecessary," the President said in his veto message.

The veto message was transmitted to the Senate and the House of Representatives last February 25.

"While I recognize the noble intent of this measure to address height equality among these bureaus, I am also seriously apprehensive of the concerns propounded by the PNP and BJMP in the safety of their personnel in the performance of their duties, as well as public safety in general," Aquino said.

"As raised by the BJMP, jail officers, by the nature of their work in guarding detainees or escorting criminals, must possess the necessary physical attributes to perform their functions effectively. Likewise, public safety is paramount in law enforcement by the PNP, as well as in fire-fighting by the BFP," the President noted.

Valte said that Aquino vetoed the bill as he could have found it "detrimental" in the performance of the functions of those agencies to be affected. (SDR/Sunnex)

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