PRESSURE is mounting for President Benigno Aquino III to appoint a permanent chief of the Philippine National Police amid the resignation of his trusted ally, Director General Alan LM Purisima, in the aftermath of the debacle suffered by the PNP Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last January 25.
The pressure comes from both known presidential allies from the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Cabinet, retired and active PNP and Armed Forces officials, the opposition and private citizens supporting the 150,000-strong police force, the latest of them Pasig City Representaative Roman Romulo and Rex C. Drilon II, chairman of the National Issues Committee of the Management Association of the Philippines and the National Advisory Group for Police Transformation and Development and a trustee of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
Rep. Romulo urged the Palace to waste no time in naming a new PNP chief to “fully restore order, discipline and the chain of command” considering that the next presidential election is just 15 months away.
In an open letter to the President, Drilon for his part made clear to the Commander-in-Chief the need to appoint a permanent replacement for Gen. Purisima who resigned two weeks ago.
“Mr. President, if you do not realize it yet, the men and women of the Philippine National Police are hurting and hurting bad. The Mamasapano tragedy that took the lives of SAF’s Gallant 44 has traumatized many in the organization.
“They cannot understand why Officer-in-Charge Police Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina and his supervising Cabinet Secretary Manuel Roxas II were kept in the dark at the crucial stages of Oplan Exodus. They cannot understand why their suspended (now resigned) Chief had more knowledge and exercised more control over the special ops than their OIC Chief. They cannot understand why the inauguration of a car manufacturing plant was given more importance than the arrival of the fallen Gallant 44. And they cannot understand why up to now there is no permanent PNP Chief when a strong leader is urgently needed in this critical hour of sadness and low morale in the organization,” Drilon said.
The chair of the NAGTPD, the group advising the police force on its massive reform program, pointed out to President Aquino the immediate need to appoint a permanent PNP chief who can exercise the power and authority of the position which an OIC can not. He said that the move will “arrest the sadness and low morale in the PNP.”
Two weeks after Gen. Purisima resigned, Secretary Roxas or the Palace is yet to announce who will be the permanent PNP chief.
For the record, the President as the Commander-in-Chief can appoint a Chief, PNP with the rank of Chief Superintendent and up. Journal Group sources said that the Chief PNP position is considered to be a very influential job, next only to the Philippine president although several considerations have to be made in the selection, foremost of which is the retirement age of the candidate and the President’s trust and confidence in him.
PNP Officer-in-Charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo A. Espina, a classmate at Philippine Military Academy Class 1981 of Gen. Purisima, is considered to be the sentimental favorite to replace the latter. Espina’s drawback is he will be retiring this coming July 19.
Also top candidate is another PMA Class 1981 member, PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Deputy Director General Marcelo P. Garbo Jr. who is known to have the support of the ruling Liberal Party. Garbo’s advantage is his age since he will be retiring on March 2, 2016.
Administration lawmaker Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo is urging President Aquino to appoint a new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief.
In a statement, Romulo said President Aquino should not waste time in appointing new PNP chief in order to fully restore order, discipline and chain of command in the 150,000-police force.
“Malacañang has to appoint a new PNP chief at once, considering that the next presidential election is just 15 months away, and whoever is named may need at least six months to get accustomed to the job,” Romulo said.
Romulo said that national, especially presidential, elections are often marred by campaign violence, including political killings.
“We expect the forthcoming new PNP chief to push hard for a re-energized force whose officers are wholly committed to the utmost benchmarks of competence, skill, conduct and behavior,” Romulo said.
Romulo’s remarks came shortly after published reports indicated that at least seven senior officers are being considered to replace Purisima, who took flak over the Mamasapano operation that turned into tragedy when 44 commandos of the Special Action Force (SAF) were killed in a gun fight with Moro rebels.
Purisima was condemned for taking the lead in a mission to get international terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir or Marwan in his hideout in Brgy. Tukanalipao, Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
Among the seven potential replacements are officer-in-charge (OIC) Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina; Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr.; and Directors Carmelo Valmoria, Ricardo Marquez, Benjamin Magalong, Danny Constantino and Juanito Vaño.
Other lawmakers are urging President Aquino to appoint Espina, who they said had shown leadership in helming the PNP in this hour of crisis.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo and Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) Rep. Sherwin Tugna both proposed to the President to appoint Espina, saying he is the most competent officer to lead the PNP.
With Jester P. Manalastas