HE is touted to be the 2nd most powerful man in the entire country, next only to the President due to the vast influence and power he wields across the nation.. I’m referring to the chief of the Philippine National Police who commands the 195,000-strong police force.
If luck will smile on him, outgoing PNP chief, General Oscar Albayalde will bow out from the service on his 56th birthday this coming November 8. However, there will always be the possibility that the unpredictable President Duterte may cut short his term as a result of the ‘Ninja Cops’ issue that has scandalized the organization over the past two weeks.
Last week, a very highly-reliable source told me that the President has chosen who will be Gen. Albayalde’s successor. He mentioned to me the name of the official but told me to keep it secret for the meantime until the Commander-in-Chief announces it. I’m giving however a clue: the next Chief,PNP has the Letters ‘A’ and ‘R’ in his name.
Right now, the top three contenders to replace Gen. Albayalde are PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius or ‘Pikoy’ Cascolan and National Capital Region Police Office director, Major. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar or ‘Gilor’ to many.
All three are highly-qualified for the post, having shone in their respective career through the years. Both Gamboa and Cascolan are known ‘Davao Boys’ too and classmates from PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 of Gen. Albayalde while the hardworking Eleazar belongs to PMA ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987.
The names of two underclassmen of the three, Manila Police District director, Brigadier Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. and Police Security and Protection Group director, Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal, both members of PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 are also believed to be ‘Chief,PNP-tiables’ in the very near future since they are known to be very close to the former Davao City mayor.
However, the release of a purported letter to President Duterte by a graduate of the PNP Academy to consider him as a replacement to Gen. Albayalde has kept the rumor mill in Camp Crame a-busy since Monday since it was the first time that a PNPA alumni has been whispered as a candidate to the top PNP post.
Not only that, the man named in the letter: former Police Regional Office 13 director in Caraga region: Brig. General Gilbert Cruz—his middle name is dela Cruz— turned out to be one of the only three police officials who joined President Duterte in his trip to Russia yesterday, the other two being Escobal and Brig. Gen. Rhodel O. Semonia, a member of PMA ‘Makatao’ Class of 1989 who is presently the director of the Police-Community Affairs Development Group, formerly known as the Police-Community Relations Group.
The purported letter signed by a man claiming to be ‘Brig. Gen. Gilberto DC Cruz’ of PNPA Class 1986 was addressed to President Duterte and dated September 26, 2019. The real Brig. Gen. Cruz will be marking his 55th birthday this coming November 8, the day Gen. Albayalde will be officially leaving the police force at the age of 56.
In his letter, the man told the President ‘I am writing this letter to express my sincerest interest for the position of the CHIEF OF PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE to make an exemplary difference to your administration.’ The letter enumerated the purported police general’s outstanding track record and for being the most senior PNPA graduate currently serving the police force.
The letter-sender also enumerated his plans and programs if given the chance to lead the 195,000-strong police force and win the hearts and minds of the citizenry including focus on the immediate neutralization of ‘high-value drug targets,’ the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers.
The need for the PNP to lead the government’s anti-insurgency campaign, have a stronger PNP Internal Affairs, provide free police clearance and motor vehicle clearance and other PNP frontline services to the public, support low-ranking policemen with financial difficulties, release funds and gas allocation from the PNP national headquarters directly to police stations to prevent them from indulging in illegal activities and have an improved bidding process thru livestreaming in order to show real transparency.
The letter-sender also told the President that if chosen as PNP chief, he is willing to step down from his post if he will fail in his plans and programs within three months. That’s another first. As far as I can remember, the only police general who made true his promise to resign his post was retired Gen. Mike Coronel of PMA Class 1970.
When he was designated Central Luzon police director nearly two decades ago, Coronel said he would step down if he will fail to stop ‘jueteng’ in three months. True to his word, Coronel stepped down as Police Regional Office 3 Regional Director after failing terribly in his promise due to non-cooperation from all concerned people.
On Monday, Cruz denied he was the one who sent the signed letter to the President although under the law, any police official with the rank of Brigadier General and up can qualify to become a PNP chief.
Cruz told me that it may be very possible that PNPA graduates of Lakans were behind the letter which bore his fake signature. “I am greatly humbled and overwhelmed by the overflowing support and encouragement from my fellow PNPA alumni, friends and other members of the PNP on the alleged contention of yours truly as the next Chief PNP,” he said in an official statement.
“I however, vehemently deny the authenticity of the letter bearing my signature. Nevertheless, if given the privilege to lead the Philippine National Police, I will definitely take the challenge without any hesitation and will absolutely do my best to serv every Filipino people in the most excellent and humane way,” Cruz explained.