I became a non-commissioned officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in 2007. In 2010, I was one of the PNP personnel who qualified and was appointed as a police inspector through the lateral entry program. Before we took our oath, we were made to sign a pro-forma affidavit stating that we shall serve the PNP for a minimum of three years from appointment.
After serving the organization for two years, I tendered an irrevocable resignation for personal reasons. A certain officer from the National Headquarters refused to issue the necessary resignation order on the ground that I had signed an affidavit before our appointment that I will serve the organization for three years. He also cited the provision of Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2008-006 as his basis. Is there any legal prohibition for me to resign from the police service?
The specific rule governing Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel who are appointed as police commissioned officers through lateral entry is the National Police Commission (Napolcom) Memorandum Circular No. 2008-006 (Prescribing the Guidelines and Procedures for Lateral Entry of Officers into the PNP) as amended by Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2011-005.The rule provides, newly appointed technical service officers via lateral entry shall be assigned exclusively in the technical units where they were appointed. Appointees for line officer position shall be assigned to the Police Regional Offices for field assignment for at least three (3) years after completion of the Public Safety Officers Basic Course (Letter G, Section 3). Correlative to this provision is Letter I, Section 3, Ibid, which states, “All appointees under the Lateral Entry Program unless otherwise severed by a competent authority shall serve the PNP for a minimum of three (3) years following their appointment.”
The above-mentioned rule does not contain a prohibition for any police commissioned officer from resigning. What is emphasized in the rule is for a lateral entrant to serve the PNP for a minimum of three (3) years. It is not synonymous with prohibition from resigning within three years following his appointment. A prohibition for a police officer to resign and require him to serve to complete the three years mentioned in Napolcom Memorandum Circular No. 2008-006 is tantamount to involuntary servitude under Paragraph 2, Section 18, Article III, of the Philippine Constitution. Since you are an appointed officer, your resignation must be accepted by the appointing authority, which is the chief of the PNP.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org