Time for PNP to move on

October 15, 2019

I’M saying this in the wake of General Oscar Albayalde’s decision to go on non-duty status 25 days before his 56th birthday this coming November 8. Now is the time for the PNP to move on and buckle down to work while President Duterte is choosing who will be his 3rd PNP chief.

Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa, the PNP Deputy Chief for Administration who was named as PNP Officer-in-Charge has called on his officers and men to continue their no-let up crackdown against drugs, criminality, terrorism and rogues in uniform and I think that the police will follow suit.

Admit it or not, the 195,000-strong police force watched from the sidelines as Gen. Albayalde and his men were grilled by senators during the investigation of the infamous Pampanga anti-narcotics raid in 2013. But although the house was literally divided, police did not wavered in their job and continued keeping the streets safe. For that, they deserve congratulations.
 
There is an old saying which goes: ‘there’s no use flogging a dead horse’  so I would just let the law take its course on the case of Gen. Albayalde et al. What we need right now is to see to it that the transition of power in the police force would be as smooth as possible and whoever will be chosen by the President to succeed Albayalde would really be up to his job.

Back to Gamboa, the lawyer-police general I believe will be given additional authority to run the police force by the National Police Commission similar to the power given by the same body to the highly-respected PNP-OIC, now retired Gen. Dindo Espina in 2015.

The Napolcom authority is necessary in order to achieve, efficient, effective and responsive operations of the PNP, thereby avoiding undue delay in the performance of the day-to-day activities of the police organization.

As PNP-OIC, Gamboa will be managing all activities of the PNP Command Group with the assistance of the 10 PNP Directorial Staff offices that exercise specific administrative and operational functions with their respective operating arms among the National Support Units.

The presence of a PNP-OIC is a must since there should always be a PNP leader who will ensure the continuous implementation of all ongoing police campaign plans on internal security, anti-criminality, anti-illegal drugs and anti-corruption in line witteh h national priorities and direction of the President.

Designating a PNP-OIC is vital in ensuring the continuity of the PNP mission and function. As I vividly recall, in 2015, the Napolcom granted additional authority to then PNP-OIC, Gen. Espina thru Resolution Number 2015-106 which allowed Espina to “approve and issue permits to import/transport ammunitions, explosives, firearms of any type/caliber, weapons systems and accessories attached or pertaining to air, naval and land assets.”

Espina took over as PNP-OIC in December 2015 after then PNP chief, Gen. Purisima was placed under preventive suspension over a graft case. As PNP-OIC, Gen. Espina was authorized then to act on or approve urgent, necessary or time-bound transactions/disbursements/activities which, unless addressed immediately, may unduly cause damage and prejudice to the public or hamper the effective performance of the PNP’s functions.

He was also authorized to approve contracts involving procurement of services/resources by the PNP; approval of disbursements/payments of the PNP’s legitimate/regular financial transactions; authorization for the release of funds from the Agency Reserved Fund FY 2014; obligate funds from Trust Receipt; sign and counter-sign checks; and approve payroll and disbursement vouchers.

Additionally, as PNP-OIC, Gen. Espina was authorized to exercise disciplinary authority as Chief, PNP; designate appropriate OICs for the various PNP offices/units; appoint PNP Non-Uniformed Personnel SG 24 and below; sign documents concerning payments of retirement benefits of personnel with pending administrative cases but who have complied with the requirements under pertinent laws and circulars; enter into or renew agreements concerning regular transactions of the PNP; and issue firearms licenses and permits pursuant to the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

However, the PNP-OIC’s authority was subject to existing pertinent rules, regulations and procedures and such limitations/conditions that the Napolcom imposed or prescribed. In the next few days, we will learn if Gamboa will stay as PNP-OIC or will the President designate his 3rd PNP chief. As I have been saying, service reputation, acceptance of both the PNP internal and external audience, loyalty to the Constitution and the country and an outstanding track record will be the qualities we need from a PNP chief.

Gamboa and his fellow contenders for the top PNP post: Lt. Gen. Pikoy Cascolan, Major Gen. Gilor Eleazar and Brigadier Gen. Vic Danao are known for possessing those qualities. May the best man win however.