THEY are the last members of the Philippine Military Academy, literally the ‘Last Mojicans’ who were allowed to join the Philippine National Police and more than 27 years after, the proud Class has already produced three police Brigadier Generals.
On Friday, I joined members of PMA ‘Tanglaw Diwa’ Class of 1992 as they celebrated the promotion of their latest one-star generals, my friends, Brigadier General Jonnel Estomo of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group and Brig. Gen. Matthew Baccay of the PNP Legal Service.
I learned that 20 members of PMA Class 1992 literally became the first graduates of the prestigious Fort del Pilar academy to join the PNP with the rank of Inspectors. Their direct upperclassmen from PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 were the last members of the famed but now defunct Philippine Constabulary who joined the PNP shortly after it was created.
The 1st member of PMA Class 1992 in the PNP to earn a star-rank is PNP spokesman and head of the PNP Public Information Office, now Brig. Gen. Bernie Banac followed by Estomo and Baccay, the only lawyer among the 20.
Two others, Col. Romeo ‘Bong’ Caramat Jr. of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group and Col. Ronald Lee of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group are also on their way to earn their star-rank, I was told.
Six other members of PMA Class 1992 who joined the Armed Forces upon graduation are now also star-rank officers. They are Commodores Aremio Abu, Teotimo Borja, Rolando Punzalan Jr. and Juan Manuel Ramos of the Philippine Coast Guard.
Add to the list Air Force Brig. Gen. Aristotle Gonzales, the Wing Commander of the Air Force’s Northern Luzon Tactical Operations Win and Brig. Gen. Pablo Rustia Jr., the Wing Commander of the famous 250th Presidential Airlift Wing. Still waiting for their chance to get the star-rank are members of the Class from the Army and the Navy.
The same thing goes to other members of the Class in the police force who are just waiting for the right time and opportunity to be assigned to positions that would qualify them for promotion to the star-rank, most especially the most senior among them.
They include those who will retire from the service in 2022 or just over two years from now, namely Col. Steve Ludan (December 20); Antonino ‘CJ’ Cirujales (May 10); Ulysses ‘Yuli’ Cruz (October 18); and Ysmael ‘Maeng’ Yu (June 28). Two others, Col. John Atela and Marino Pungtilan opted to file for early retirement. Atela is supposed to retire on May 2023 while Pungtilan’s 56th birthday is on April 2022.
Other members of the Class who will be retiring either in 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027 are Col. Mario Reyes (December 2024); Banac (September 2026);Maf Bazar (October 2024); Sydney Hernia (October 2025); Belli Tamayo (Aprl 2024);
Estomo (November 2024); Leo Francisco (October 2025); Lee (May 2025); Patrick Obinque (May 2026); Sydney Villaflor (September 2025); Caramat (October 2024); Eric Noble (January 2024); Baccay (September 2026); and the youngest of them all, my fellow Antipolo City resident, Tateng Nartatez (March 2027). Many of these officers have shone in their respective field and deserve a rightful promotion too just like the others.
LACK OF LONG-TERM PLANNING EVIDENT IN DEMOLITION OF PNP-IAS BUILDING
I again would say it’s a classic case of taxpayers’ money wasted because of lack of future planning by some officials.
Barely a couple of years after the PNP Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) transferred to a newly-renovated office, I discovered that the entire one-storey structure inside Camp Crame was levelled down to give way to a 4-storey PNP-IAS building.
Many of my sources have told me that quite a huge amount of money—millions in fact—was spent to renovate the former PNP Service Store, equip it with brand-new air-conditioning units, computers and other office fixtures needed by PNP-IAS personnel.
It was actually home for PNP-IAS officials and investigators until it was levelled down to the ground to give way to a P120 million 4-storey PNP-IAS building whose construction will be supervised by the Quezon City Second District Engineering Office.
Last Friday, the ‘ground zero’ became the site of a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new building graced by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, PNP Officer-in-Charge, Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa, PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Major Gen. Gilor Eleazar and top PNP-IAS officials led by IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo and IAS Deputy Inspector General Bong Leuterio.
The P120 million building, the funding of which was sourced from the DPWH 2019 General Appropriations Act will be built by the winning contractor, Devex Incorporated. Its target completion date is November 12, 2020 or a total of 400 calendar days.
Yes indeed, since the creation of the PNP-IAS in 1998, it has not occupied a decent and comfortable workplace conducive to public service and its image, being the institutional watchdog tasked to ‘police the police.’
When I asked him about the matter, Triambulo defended the demolition of their old office however. “Hindi naman nasayang yun at we delivered public service naman nung nandun pa kami sa dating PNP Service Store,” he told me. So there goes the people’s money.