Bato’s, Bong Go’s victory fuels PNP overhaul talk

THE Senate victory of former Philippine National Police chief, retired General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa and former Special Assistant to President Duterte Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ T. Go has fuelled speculations of an impending overhaul of key Philippine National Police positions.

Journal Group sources said that at present, there is an ongoing analysis of the votes garnered by the two rookie senators as well as candidates known for being supported by the Left in different regions.

Security officials said that the move is aimed at gauging the performance of concerned police commanders not only in keeping the May 13 national and local elections in their areas as peaceful as possible but also how they fared in mustering support for President Duterte’s candidates and at the same time convincing their people and their families not to vote for members of the so-called Makabayan bloc.

However, some officials are also saying why fix the house when it ain’t broke, pointing out that the opposition was annihilated in the last polls and all administration Senate bets have been proclaimed already.

Newly-proclaimed Sen. dela Rosa said that if he will be asked by the President on whom he think can replace PNP chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde, there will be only three in the persons of PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa; PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan; and last but not the least, National Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.

Dela Rosa, Albayalde, Gamboa and Cascolan are all members of Philippine Military Academy’ Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 while Eleazar belongs to PMA ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987.

Gen. Albayalde however will be retiring only this coming November 8. Gamboa will retire on September 2, 2020 while Cascolan will retire on November 10, 2020. Eleazar will retire November 13, 2021.

Sources said that the other police generals who are likely to  spring a surprise when it comes to the race for the PNP chief’s post in the last three years of the Duterte presidency belong to the much younger PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 namely Brigadier General Vicente D. Danao Jr. of the Manila Police District and Brigadier General Filmore B. Escobal of the Police Security and Protection Group.

Danao will retire on August 10, 2023 while Escobal will retire on November 5, 2023. Both are known to be close aides of President Duterte.

Gen. Albayalde admitted that he and Sen. dela Rosa have the same names of generals who are highly-qualified to replace him. Albayalde marked his 1st year as the country’s top cop last April 19 and has been praised for his handling of the PNP’s security preparations which have made the last May 13 polls as one of the most peaceful and orderly in recent history.

“I think we have the same list naman as Gen. Bato Dela Rosa. Sila naman ang medyo senior at sila ang next in line besides kay General Eleazar who is Class ‘87 pero ang performance niya [Eleazar], he will do good. Also  the same as Cascolan at saka si General Gamboa,” Albayalde said in an ambush interview at Camp Crame, shortly before the PNP Highway Patrol Group’s 64th founding anniversary program started.