A MASSIVE reorganization of key Philippine National Police officials in time for the May 9 presidential and national elections has been ordered by Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen S. Sarmiento amid insinuations that the ruling Liberal Party has a hand in many of the change of commanders.
“It’s an open secret that the designation of some key PNP officials particularly regional and provincial directors have to be cleared first with the ruling Liberal Party or the recommendations won’t push through,” a highly-reliable Journal Group source said on condition of anonymity.
The source said that following the approval of the Commission on Elections, several new Police Regional Directors or Officers-in-Charge were named to their new positions yesterday amid a Palace-backed decision to replace police chiefs assigned in areas where their relatives up to the 4th degree of consanguinity are running for elective posts as well as those with perceived support for some candidates.
Several other Journal Group sources confirmed the report which came in the wake of PNP chief, Director General Ricardo C. Marquez’s stand that the PNP will be apolitical in the May elections and will crush partisan armed groups regardless of their affiliation.
Although the PNP is an apolitical organization, many of its officers and men are known for “silently” backing candidates in the forthcoming polls. They include officers identified with Roxas, with Vice President Jejomar Binay, with Senator Grace Poe and with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Named to new positions yesterday were Chief Superintendent Noel P. Armilla of Philippine Military Academy Class 1984 who was designated as Officer-in-Charge of the Police Regional Office 12 in Central Mindanao; Chief Supt. Federico L. Dulay of PMA Class 1984 who was named as OIC of the PRO10 in Northern Mindanao and Chief Supt. Rolando B. Felix of PMA Class 1985 who was named as OIC of the PRO13 in Caraga region.
Sources said that supposed to be, Chief Supt. Patrocinio A. Commendador of PNP Academy Class 1985 was to be named as OIC of the PRO7 in Central Visayas, but the plan did not push through with Chief Supt. Manuel R. Gaerlan of PMA Class 1985 retaining the post.
Armilla took over as PRO12 OIC amid reports that Chief Supt. Robert G. Po, another member of PNPA Class 1985 was supposed to take over as Central Mindanao police chief last week. All had been set for Po’s designation with top political leaders in the region rooting for him until the order was canceled reportedly because it had to be cleared first with the ruling administration party’s bosses, sources said.
There were reports too that Po would be relieved as director of the PNP Communications and Electronics Service and replaced by Chief Supt. Sergio A. Dimandal of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Visayas. The move did not materialize.
There was also a recommendation to replace Gaerlan as acting PRO7 regional director, a post he got just a month ago but the move also did not materialize for still unknown reasons. Supposed to be, Commendador, who took his oath of office as a one-star general due to his position as Regional Chief Directorial Staff of the National Capital Region Police Office last December 15, was to replace Gaerlan who is just a month old as Central Visays police commander.
Dulay replaced Chief Supt. Lyndel A. Desquitado, a member of PMA Class 1982 who will retire this coming July 12. Felix on the other hand replaced Chief Supt. Vert T. Chavez, his PMA Class 1985 classmate. Chavez was designated as new Deputy Director of the PNP Directorate for Operations, the erstwhile post of Felix.
Other new designations in the PNP, sources said, were Senior Supt. Peter Rosano P. Donato of PMA Class 1984 who was named as OIC-Executive Officer of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Northern Luzon; Senior Supt. Daniel G. Macatlang of PMA Class 1985, designated as OIC Executive Officer of DIPO-Western Mindanao; Chief Supt. Pedro U. Obaldo of PMA Class 1985, named as acting deputy director of DIPO Visayas; Senior Supt. Timoteo G. Pacleb of PMA Class 1986, designated as OIC Executive Officer of DIPO Visayas; and Senior Supt. Eliseo T. Rasco of PMA Class 1986, named as OIC Deputy Director of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Last week, Chief Supt. Jose Erwin T. Villacorte of PMA Class 1983 took over as the new regional director of the PRO8 in Eastern Visayas while Chief Supt. Ramon C. Apolinario of PMA Class 1985 was named as OIC of the PRO4-B in Mimaropa region.
In a press conference, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben M. Mayor said 740 PNP officers have been reassigned to new posts as of yesterday. They include 25 Provincial Directors/District Directors; 9 City Directors; 147 Chiefs of Police; and 27 Public Safety Force Commanders.
Mayor said many of the officials have already reached or exceeded the 2-year tour of duty in their posts and were reassigned as part of the regular administrative policies of the PNP on assignment and re-assignment. He added that the reassignment of commanders is in line with the limited rotation of personnel and part of the best practices implemented by the PNP during election period.
Among the provincial directors relieved from their posts were Senior Supt. Florencio Saligao of Laguna who was replaced by Senior Supt. Ronnie Montejo; Senior Supt. Ronnie Ilagan of Quezon who was replaced by Senior Supt. Eugenio Paguirigan and Senior Supt. Bernabe Balba of Rizal who was replaced by Senior Supt. Adriano Tenong Jr.