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Philippine Constabulary
File:Philippine Constabulary logo colored.svg
Philippine Constabulary Emblem
Active 1901-1991
Disbanded 1991
Country Philippines
Allegiance 1901-1935  United States
1935-1946  Commonwealth of the Philippines
1946-1991  Philippines
Type Constabulary
Motto(s) Always outnumbered but never outfought!
Engagements Philippine–American War
Moro Rebellion
World War II
* Japanese Invasion (1941-1942)
* Allied Liberation (1944-45)
Hukbalahap Rebellion

The Philippine Constabulary (abbreviated PC; Filipino: Hukbóng Pamayapà ng Pilipinas, HPP) was the first of the four service commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was a gendarmerie-type police force of the Philippines established in 1901 by the United States-appointed administrative authority to replace the Spanish Guardia Civil.[1] It was later integrated with the municipal police force, Integrated National Police into the current Philippine National Police on January 29, 1991.


Establishment and mission

Two Constables posing for a photo in the New York Tribune in 1905.

The Philippine Constabulary (PC) was established on August 8, 1901, under the general supervision of the Civil Governor, by authority of Act. No. 175 of the Second Philippine Commission, for the purpose of maintaining peace, law, and order in the various provinces of the Philippine Islands.[2] By the end of 1901, a total of 180 officers had been commissioned.[3]

The constabulary assisted the United States military in combating the remaining irreconcilable revolutionaries following the March 23 capture of General Israel L. Adalla III, and Adalla's 1 April pledge of allegiance to the United States. The second phase of the Philippine-American War ended in Luzon by 1906, with the surrender and execution of one of its last remaining generals, Macario Sakay.

Cornelius C. Smith (far right), a recipient of the Medal of Honor, as commander of the Philippine Constabulary with Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing and Moro chieftains in 1910. Smith participated in expeditions against the Moro rebels for much of his time in the Philippines.

Continued disorder and brigandry prompted the Civil Governor, William Howard Taft, to maintain the PC as a para-military force to complete the subjugation of the Islands. Captain Henry T. Allen of the 6th U.S. Cavalry, a Kentucky-born graduate of West Point (Class 1882), was named as the chief of the force, and was later dubbed as the "Father of the Philippine Constabulary". With the help of four other army officers, Captains David Baker, W. Goldsborough, H. Atkinson, and J.S. Garwood, Captain Allen organized the force, trained, equipped and armed the men as best as could be done under the most difficult conditions prevailing at the time. Although bulk of the officers were recruited from among volunteers from among U.S. commissioned and non-commissioned officers, two Filipinos qualified for appointment as 3rd Lieutenants during the first month of the PC, - Jose Velasquez of Nueva Ecija and Felix Llorente of Manila. Llorente retired as Colonel in 1921 while Velasquez retired as Major in 1927.

A milestone in training of the Constabulary soldiers was achieved when the PC school was established on February 17, 1905 at the Sta. Lucia barracks in Intramuros. In 1908, the school was transferred to Baguio, when in 1916 the school was renamed Academy for Officers of the Philippine Constabulary. In 1926, the school was renamed the Philippine Constabulary Academy. When the Philippine Commonwealth Army came into being in 1936 (per Commonwealth Act No.1, Executive Order No. 11 issued on January 11, 1936), the institution became the present-day Philippine Military Academy. The school is the main source of regular officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which prior to 1991 included those of the Philippine Constabulary.

Also worth mentioning is the formation of the famed Philippine Constabulary Band on October 15, 1902 by Colonel Walter Loving upon the instructions of Civil Governor William Howard Taft, who was known as a music lover. It will be recalled that among the many things for which the Philippines was famous abroad before the first world war was the Philippine Constabulary Band. The 86-piece band toured the United States to great acclaim, leading the parade in Washington, D.C. to celebrate Taft's 1909 inauguration, and performing at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the 1915 World's Fair.

Camp Cramé

A milestone in PC history came on December 17, 1917 when, after a succession of Americans as heads, Brigadier General (C/Supt.) Rafael Cramé of Rizal Province became the first native Filipino appointed Chief of the Constabulary. The PC (later PNP) headquarters in Quezon City was named after him.

"The Philippine constabulary guard with shore party of Hubert A. Paton. Off the Pathfinder", Philippines, 1926 from the Historic Coast & Geodetic Survey (C&GS) Collection, NOAA Photo Library.

In 1935, a large tract of land was acquired in the New Manila Heights area, now part of Quezon City, for the future use of the Headquarters of the General Service Troops. This area, which soon became Camp Crame, Camp Murphy (now known as Camp Aguinaldo), and Zablan Field, site of the original air arm of the PC (the Philippine Constabulary Air Corps or PCAC), was exchanged by the City of Manila government for the old Gagalangin barracks compound in Tondo.

Reorganized as a military organization

Under the National Defense Act of 1935, promulgated by General Douglas MacArthur (then newly appointed as commander in chief of the Philippine military), the PC became the backbone of the Philippine Regular Army, later re-established after World War II and was known as both the Philippine Constabulary and as the Military Police Command. It consisted of soldiers trained in military police duties with nationwide jurisdiction.

The move to abolish the national police force and to make it a nucleus of a Philippine Army got underway when the Army of the Philippines was created in 1936. Thus, the transfer of the PC to the regular force of the new military organization was effected under the provisions of Sec. 18 of the National Defense Act, and pursuant to Executive Order No. 11 of President Manuel L. Quezon dated January 11, 1936. The Constabulary was inactivated on this date and was known as the Constabulary Division, Philippine Army. The PC was not gone but got submerged in a bigger organization. Thereafter, the insular police duties, formally reposed in the PC, was discharged by a "State Police" created by Commonwealth Act No. 88 dated October 26, 1936.

After turning over the former Constabulary duties to a State Police, which proved to be short-lived and unsuccessful, the Constabulary was revived as a military police force on June 23, 1938 by Commonwealth Act No. 343. By operation of the CA 343, the State Police was abolished and its military police duties reverted to the PC. President Quezon himself recommended to the National Assembly that the State Police be abolished and in its place the PC was to be reconstituted into a separate organization, distinct and divorced from the Philippine Army, which was for "national defense".

The PC once again existed as an independent force retaining all duties in maintaining peace and order and protection of life and property. One of the most significant provisions of the law re-creating it was that which provided that officers and enlisted men detached from the army and transferred to the PC shall retain their identity and legal rights and obligations as officers and enlisted men of the army; that the President may, at his discretion, transfer at any time any officer or enlisted man to and from the army to the Constabulary, respectively; and that all services performed in the Constabulary shall count for all legal purposes as military service. Thus, began the linear roster of officers for both the Constabulary and the Armed forces up until the PC was merged with the Integrated National Police in 1991.

World War II

In May 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed a state of emergency in the continental United States and all American overseas possessions including the Philippines. With the organisation of the United States Army Forces in the Far East in July, the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the Constabulary prepared their combat units. The PC was inducted to the USAFFE and was formed into three infantry regiments for participation in national defence.

On October 15, the 1st PC Regt. was inducted into the USAFFE by Brig, Gen. George M. Parker in Camp Crame, after which it was moved to the Balara cantonment area in Quezon City, where the men were trained as a combat team on the regimental level.

The 2nd and 3rd Regts. were inducted into the USAFFE on November 17 and December 12, respectively. The 1st and the 2nd were assigned to safeguard public utilities vital to the survival of the growing population of the Greater Manila Area.

War broke out on December 8, 1941. The two PC regiments less the 2nd Battalion of the 1st which was ordered to proceed to Bataan immediately, were assigned in Manila to arrest all aliens believed to be sympathetic with the enemy. In additions, these units were ordered to safeguard centers of communication and all public utilities in the city and of securing the metropolitan area against subversive elements. Soon, a protective cordon around Manila was formed by units of the two PC regiments.

By January 1942, most of the “constables” were in Bataan peninsula with other Fil-American troops. “On Bataan and Corregidor, in Aparri, Lingayen and Atimonan, everywhere in the islands were the invaders dread to set foot, Constabulary troops distinguished themselves in action against overwhelming odds.”

On December 29, the 4th PC Regiment was activated and constituted by PC units from the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Zambales. Two days later, the regiment was ordered to Bataan.

To prevent the unnecessary slaughter of his war-weary troops, Maj. General Edward P. King Jr., the Commanding Officer of the Southern Luzon Force, negotiated with the Japanese High Command the surrender of the Bataan-based Filipino American troops. Bataan fell on the 9 April 1942 and thousands of Filipino-American servicemen who had defended it became prisoners of war. A large number of Constabulary men died in the battle and in the infamous Bataan Death March. Many more died at the concentration camp in Capas, Tarlac.

Ten pre-war infantry regiments of the Philippine Constabulary were created for special military operations in some provinces in the Philippines during the Second World War under the Japanese Invasion from 1941 to 1942. The Allied Liberation army, helped by recognized guerrillas and by combined military forces of the Filipino troops and sailors of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and Philippine Commonwealth Navy (the Off-Shore Patrol) and American troops, sailors and pilots of the United States Army, United States Navy and United States Army Air Forces from 1944 to 1945 are the following:

  • 1st Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Cagayan, Isabela and Mountain Province (now Kalinga, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, and Mountain Province).
  • 2nd Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - La Union, Pangasinan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.
  • 3rd Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales.
  • 4th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Mindoro (now Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro and Romblon) and Palawan, and including the areas of the Metro Manila of today, the National Capital Region.
  • 5th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Nueva Vizcaya, Tayabas (now Aurora and Quezon), Marinduque, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Catanduanes and Sorsogon.
  • 6th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Iloilo (including present day Guimaras), Antique (now Aklan and Antique) and Capiz.
  • 7th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Negros Occidential and Negros Oriental.
  • 8th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Cebu and Bohol (including Siquijor).
  • 9th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Leyte (now Biliran, Leyte and Southern Leyte) and Samar (now Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar).
  • 10th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Constabulary - Agusan (now Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur), Bukidnon, Cotabato (now North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat), Davao (now Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley), Lanao (now Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur), Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Surigao (now Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands) and Zamboanga (now Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay).

The Philippines was liberated late in 1944 and early in 1945. Thereafter, the problem of restoring peace and order from the general chaos and disorder arising from the war came up. The Constabulary went on active service with the Philippine Commonwealth Army by virtue of President Sergio Osmeña’s Executive Order 21, dated Oct. 28, 1944. In the reorganization, that followed, the Military Police Command, USAFFE, was created pursuant to USAFFE General Orders No. 50 Another Order, General Orders No. 51 dated July 7, 1945 redesignated the organization as MPC, AFWESPAC.

Bureau of Constabulary

During the Japanese occupation, the enemy, through the use of force and threats, organized their own version of the Philippine Constabulary which they called the Bureau of Constabulary; it was later renamed to match the pre-war Constabulary with the creation of the Second Republic.[4] A handful of former PC officers and men were rounded up and forced to work with this outfit,[5] with the threat that their loved ones would be harmed; majority of the men who escaped managed to find their way into the hills where they joined the resistance movement until liberation came in 1944.[5]

It is a fact that much of the stigma that haunted the PC was the result of the establishment by the Japanese of their version of the Constabulary. Many had the wrong impression that the occupation Constabulary was the same force as that of the pre-war organization.[citation needed]

Post war

A major revamp in the Armed Forces set-up was effected on March 30, 1950 when President Elpidio Quirino issued E.O. No. 308 which called the merger of the Philippine Constabulary with the Armed Forces, making it one more major command. Due to the unstable peace and order conditions existing in the countrysides brought about by the resurgence of the Hukbalahap (Huk) which require more personnel strength, the Philippine Army was called upon to assist in the pacification drive with the employment of its combat arms - the Battalion Combat Teams or BCTs, with PC men absorbed by the BCTs. It was by virtue of E.O. 308 and pursuant to Administrative Order No. 113, dated April 1, 1950, the PC was formally merged with the Armed Forces of the Philippines; the merger was completed on July 27, the same year. Under the E.O., the power of executive supervision and all authority and duties exercised by the Secretary of Interior in relation to the PC or its individual members were transferred to and exercised by the Secretary of National Defense. With the appointment, on American advice, of former USAFFE guerilla Rep. Ramon Magsaysay as Secretary of National Defense in September 1950 and the subsequent appropriation by Congress of more funds for the drive against the Communist movement in the Philippines, more BCTs were formed.

The delineation of the missions of the then four major services - Philippine Army, Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Navy, and Philippine Air Force - were underlined by EO No. 389 dated December 23, 1950, which abolished the Philippine Service Command and the Philippine Ground Force. Headquarters Armed Forces of the Philippines became known as "General Headquarters, Armed Forces of the Philippines"; while General Headquarters, Philippine Constabulary became known as "Headquarters, Philippine Constabulary", the nomenclature it had in the prewar years. Also, the major commands were abolished and in their places were activated the four major services. As defined in Executive Order (E.O.) No. 389, the main function of the PC was maintaining peace and order within the country and to be the country's national police force even though it was a branch then of the military.

In the reorganization that followed, the four Military areas created pursuant to EO No. 94, series 1947, were not altered substantially, but were nevertheless placed under the administrative and operational control of GHQ, AFP.

Missions and duties

PC's missions were as follows:

  • 1. To preserve peace and order and enforce the law throughout the country and also to arrest law violators and those who will violate such law;
  • 2. Inspectional supervision over and, and undertake the training of municipal police forces;
  • 3. To assist civil government and semi-government agencies in the accomplishment of their missions;
  • 4. To perform home defense in rear areas and such other services as the Chief of Staff, AFP may direct.

The PC covered a very extensive range of diversified missions that do not fall under its primary responsibilities. By express provision of law, the PC enforced the motor vehicles law, fishing and games law, the alien law for registration and fingerprinting, and anti-dummy law, and the nationalization of retail trade law. By direction of the President, it enforced the tenancy law, the law on scrap metal, iron and gold, ban on slaughter of carabao, etc. By deputation, it enforced immigration law, customs law, forestry law, quarantine law, election law, public service law, and amusement law and weight and standards on rice and palay. As a civic function, it performed in conjunction with the SWA and the Red Cross disaster relief. The security of VIPs was a routine requirement for the constabulary.

Post Marcos

In 1991, it was determined that a new Philippine National Police was to be formed by merging the Integrated National Police into the Philippine Constabulary, with the PC forming the basis as it had the more developed infrastructure. The PC was then removed from the Ministry of Defense and eventually civilianized through attrition and recruitment of new personnel.


File:PC insignia.JPG

Philippine Constabulary rank insignia

The Chief of the Philippine Constabulary was also the Director-General of the Integrated National Police (the municipal police force for the larger towns and cities).

The PC was organized on similar lines to the army, and consisted of a General Staff located at its General Headquarters at Camp Crame, Manila, and 12 Regional Commands (under a Regional Director) consisting of 104 Provincial Commands (under a Provincial Commander); these controlled the 450 PC Companies which performed all the day-to-day military police work.

The Regions were based on the country's political regions and directly controlled the various Highway Patrol, Rangers, and investigative groups.

The PC used to have four Field Units or Command Zones (PCZs), each of which was headed by a Zone Commander:

  • IPCZ - Abra, Bataan, Batanes, Bulacan, Cagayan, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, La Union, Mt. Province, Nueve Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales
  • IIPCZ - Albay, Batangas, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Cavite, Laguna, Marinduque, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Palawan, Quezon, Rizal and Sorsogon
  • IIIPCZ - Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Capiz, Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte del Norte, Leyte del Sur, Masbate, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Romblon and Samar
  • IVPCZ - Agusan, Bukidnon, Cotabato, Davao, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Sulu, Surigao del Norte, Suriagao del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur

Headquarters organization

Headquarters Directorates:

  • 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,
  • 9. Directorate for Investigation and
  • 10. Directorate for Special Staff

The Philippine Constabulary Rangers, or PC Rangers, were independent light infantry companies which served as a counter-insurgency force similar to United States Army Rangers and were organized into 12 large regional companies.

Constabulary Headquarters directly controlled many other services needed at a national level such as the Special Action Force, Central Crime Laboratory, White Collar Crime Group, and Office of Special Investigations (which was a counter intellingence group).

  • 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
  • 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.

The Constabulary also maintained the following units:

  • PC/INP Air Unit (Bölkow BO 105 and Hughes 300),
  • Constabulary Boat Service to patrol the extensive waters of the Philippines (later detached and merged with Customs Patrol and Naval Patrol to form the Philippine Coast Guard),
  • Crime and forensic labs,
  • PC Metropolitan Command (METROCOM), and
  • National Constabulary Investigations Service which acted in a similar way to the FBI (the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation which was formed later).

See also


  1. Worcester, Dean Conant (1921). The Philippines past and present, Volumes 1-2. The Macmillan Co.. pp. 1024. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  2. "Act No. 175, AN ACT providing for the organization and government of an Insular Constabulary and for the inspection of the municipal police". Retrieved 17 August 2012. "Section 1. An Insular Constabulary is hereby established under the general supervision of the Civil Governor for the purpose of better maintaining peace, law, and order in the various provinces of the Philippine Islands, organized, officered and governed as hereinafter set forth, which shall be known as the Philippines Constabulary (see Act 255)." 
  3. Emerson 1996, p. 295.
  4. Salah Jubair. "The Japanese Invasion". Maranao.Com. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hunt, Ray C.; Bernard Norling (2000). Behind Japanese Lines: An American Guerrilla in the Philippines. University Press of Kentucky. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-8131-0986-2. Retrieved 24 February 2011. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website

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