PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has said he may have to take over the leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) if he cannot decide on a new chief.
Duterte said he is still having trouble choosing who he will put at the helm of the agency. Its top position was left open after PDGen Oscar Albayalde relinquished his post. Albayalde was accused during a Senate investigation of blocking the dismissal of 13 policemen involved in an irregular drug raid in Pampanga during his stint as provincial police chief in 2013. Albayalde has professed innocence.
The President said he is making sure the next chief has no history of corruption.
“If they have even a single case of corruption, I would rather not appoint anybody for that matter. Ako na ang hahawak [I will lead them],” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang.
That means taking the lead in the “direction and guidance” of the force, he said.
“But that is in the event that I could not find somebody I could trust,” Duterte added.
There are three candidates currently being eyed for the promotion — Officer-in-Charge PLTGen Archie Gamboa, chief of Directorial Staff PMGen Guillermo Eleazar and Deputy Chief for Operations PLtGen Camilo Pancratius Cascolan. Gamboa currently heads the PNP while the organization awaits Duterte’s pick.
The President earlier said he has already received the list of endorsements but he is still taking time with his decision.
He said he is being careful because anyone can be involved in the illegal drug trade. In September, the police was placed under Senate scrutiny after a former PNP official revealed irregularities in the conduct of drug raids, saying some officers often pocket stashes of drugs and accept bribes in exchange for the freedom of certain drug lords.
“Unless I think that I see the very best guy there, you show me, you tell me, kayong mga pulis [you policemen] who [is] the best [who] could handle the command... Just give me an honest man,” Duterte said.
C-IN-C AS TOP COP? WHY NOT?
The PNP National Police welcomed President Duterte’s pronouncement that he may take over the reins of the 195,000-strong police force while searching for an honest general who will command the organization after General Oscar D. Albayalde.
“Maganda pong balita iyan. Suportado ng PNP ang pahayag ng Pangulo sa kanyang kahandaan na posibleng siyang manguna sa administrasyon ng PNP at wala naman tayong nakikitang anumang problema dahil bilang Commander- in- Chief, ang ating Pangulo ang siyang pinagmumulan ng lahat ng ating direktiba, guidance at kautusan at hindi na bago sa atin na tayo ay nabibigyan ng policy guidelines at instructions patungkol sa ating kampanya laban sa kriminalidad at ilegal na droga, maging sa korapsyon.
“Kung anuman magiging desisyon ng Pangulo sa bagay na ito ay handa ang PNP na tumugon at sumuporta,” said PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac,
“Nasa kapangyarihan ng Pangulo ang pagpili at kapasyahan para pumili ng Chief,PNP bilang pinuno. Lahat tayo bilang nasa unipormadong serbisyo ay nakahanda na tumalima sa anumang magiging desisyon ng ating pinakamataas na authority, walang iba kundi ang ating Pangulong Duterte. Sa kadahilanang iyan ay wala tayong nakikitang problema. Tayo po bilang propesyunal na organisasyon ay handang sumunod kung yan ang magiging kapasyahan ng Pangulo,” he explained.
Apart from PNP Officer-in-Charge, PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, Lieutenant General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, top contenders to become the 23rd PNP chief and the 3rd under the Duterte administration after Gamboa and now Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa are PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan and PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Major Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.
Journal Group sources said that other classmates from Philippine Military Academy ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 of Maj. Gen. Eleazar, PNP Academy Class 1986 member, Brig. Gen. Gilbert DC Cruz and two members of PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991, Police Regional Office 4-A director, Brig. Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. and PRO11 director in Southern Mindanao, Brig. Gen. Filmore B. Escobal have also been added to the list of the so-called ‘Chief, PNP-tiables.’
However, President Duterte said he would rather take the helm for now of the PNP rather that allow it to go astray anew under a leadership of somebody he cannot trust.
“If they have even a single case of corruption, wala ka. I would rather not appoint anybody for that matter.
With Efren Montano