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Is NCRPO head next PNP chief?

RUMORS flew fast and thick in Camp Crame yesterday that National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold M. Sinas is being groomed by Malacañang as the next chief of the Philippine National Police vice General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan who will retire on Tuesday next week.

“We heard that he (Sinas) is it but let’s wait for the official announcement from the Palace” a police general told the Journal Group on condition of anonymity.

A second source, also an active general, confirmed the same saying they even learned that President had already met the two officials on Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Sinas previously commanded the PNP Crime Laboratory and the Police Regional Office 7 in Central Visayas before he was designated as Metro Manila police chief in October last year.

He is known to have performed very well in all his previous assignments specifically in waging administrative reforms and fighting drugs, criminality, terror and corruption. However, his critics found a way to hit him when his men surprised him with a ‘Mañanita’ or serenaded him on his 55th birthday last May while the NCRPO was strictly enforcing the Enhanced Community Quarantine.

President Duterte however came to the official’s rescue and said he would not fire or replace Sinas despite the controversy saying the police official is an honest man and the ‘mañanita’ for his birthday was not his fault as his people only wanted to greet him on his birthday.

“You can say that the ‘law is the law.’ That is my responsibility. But I will not order his transfer. He stays there,” the President told a Cabinet meeting last May 19, days after the ‘mañanita’ incident’ drew criticisms from netizens.

The President also justified the non-wearing of masks, saying the policemen could not possibly eat had they worn masks. He added that he looked at the merits and demerits of the case and concluded that he needs Sinas to continue serving as NCRPO chief.

Gen. Cascolan last September said he was keen on transferring Sinas to another position of major responsibility, most probably in training but the plan did not materialize.

The PNP chief himself seems to have confirmed that he won’t be given an extended term by President Duterte although he said he is open to a new government post once he retires on November 10 at the age of 56.

“Yes, of course. I’m always here for the President,” said Cascolan, the 4th member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 to lead the PNP since the start of the Duterte administration.

Before him were General-now Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa, Oscar D. Albayalde and Archie Francisco F. Gamboa.

The 24th PNP chief said there is no word from the Commander-in-Chief that he will get an extension. “Wala po. As a true soldier, we always do our job. Tayo po ay gumagawa lang ng trabaho up to the time that we will retire,” he told reporters after presenting an estimated P1.2 billion worth of brand-new vehicles, radios and assault rifles purchased by the police to further improve its ‘move, shoot, communicate and investigate’ capabilities.

A former PNP Director for Operations who authored the vaunted PNP Oplan Double Barrel against illegal drug trafficking and abuse, Gen. Cascolan said he was open to having an extended term so that he could achieve more in the police force which he started leading last September 2 after Gamboa’s retirement.

“Puwede tayo ma-extend. Of course, tuloy ang retirement pero sana pagbigyan pa rin tayo, We hope we will be extended,” he told a radio interview.

Gen. Cascolan is known for his 9-point action agenda which include the decongestion of Camp Crame and transferring police personnel closer to areas where their services are needed.

“Well, even though it was a short term, I think I have given more than a year of service to the people of the Philippines… It’s not how long you will serve. It’s how much you can serve or how much you can give for your organization,” he said.

Before the name of Sinas was mentioned as the ‘probable next Chief,PNP,’ Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año said he has already submitted to President Duterte the names of three candidates to replace Gen. Cascolan although he did not identity them.

However, seniority rule means the candidates are PNP Deputy Chief for Administration Lieutenant Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar; PNP Deputy Chief for Operations Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne R. Binag and PNP Chief Directorial Staff, incoming Lt. Gen. Joselito M. Vera Cruz Jr.

All three are classmates from PMA ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 of Maj. Gen. Sinas who was the Central Visayas police commander before he was named as NCRPO director last October.

Journal Group sources said that Secretary Año forwarded the list based on the PNP rule of succession by seniority. However, the President, being the Commander-in-Chief has the prerogative to choose the PNP chief from any official with the rank of Brigadier General up.

Both Eleazar and Binag will be retiring on November 13 and May 24 next year respectively while Vera Cruz will retire on March 8, 2022. Sources said that apart from the four, another contender from PMA Class 1987 is PNP Director for Comptrollership, Major Gen. Emmanuel Luis D. Licup.

Licup will retire on April 9 next year while Sinas will retire on May 8 of the same year.

Highly-reliable sources said that with the Duterte administration nearing its end on June 30, 2022, the President is all-set to appoint a PNP chief who has his full trust and confidence particularly in mid-2021 where all would be preparing for the 2022 presidential and national elections.

Sources said that the President is expected to also appoint a member of PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 as a PNP chief next year. There are three very known ‘Davao Boys’ from PMA Class 1991 namely Brigadier Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. of the Police Regional Office 4-A in Calabarzon region; Brig. Gen. Filmore B. Escobal of the PRO11 in Southern Mindanao; and Brig. Gen. Michael John F. Dubria of the PRO12 in Central Mindanao region.

Danao will retire on August 10, 2023, Escobal on November 5, 2023 and Dubria on on December 20, 2024.