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Picking the next PNP chief


I was writing this article when news came out on my Google feed that President Rodrigo R. Duterte was coming home earlier than scheduled due to “unbearable pain” that apparently was caused by his motorcycle accident last week.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Tuesday posted a picture of the President with his head resting on a cane that he had been using while attending the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito in Japan. He is scheduled to see his doctor upon arrival in Manila.

I am praying this pain is not due to a life-threatening injury as a result of the accident.

An important decision also needs to be made by the President upon his arrival. With the resignation of erstwhile PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde, the Philippine National Police needs to regain traction and restore the morale of its policemen and -women in the entire archipelago. The charges that Albayalde had covered up for the ninja cops and even put them in key positions when he became PNP chief seriously damaged the PNP’s image as an institution. Respect for the badge and uniform was undermined.

With this in mind, President Duterte needs to choose carefully from among the nominees submitted by DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano. Three of the front-runners are PNP OIC Lieutenant General Archie Francisco Gamboa, deputy director for operations, P/Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan and directorate staff chief P/Major General Guillermp Eleazar.

As an Ilonggo, and a Filipino, I am pushing for General Cascolan.

I have known Punky since he was a P/Chief Inspector more than 20 years ago. He has an unblemished track record. His performance has consistently been excellent. He is also actively campaigning for better benefits for retired Philippine Constabulary and PNP personnel. His heart is close to the men in the field. Respect for Punky is high.

The last aspect is critical at this point in the history of the PNP.

What the PNP needs is a leader with unquestioned integrity, an individual who has earned the trust and confidence of every man and woman in the organization. Cascolan is the man of the hour. His proven integrity will quickly repair the tarnished image of the organization. There isn’t a shadow of involvement in wrongdoing in his entire career as a police officer.

If the President doesn’t feel he wants Cascolan to be the PNP chief, then I believe the incumbent Officer-in-Charge, Lieut. Gen. Gamboa is equally capable and competent.

I watched his press conference a few days ago when he announced the dismissal of three policemen involved in the Nov. 29, 2013 fake drug buy-bust over another serious offense, I saw that he is cool and composed under fire. He is a good communicator, which is also a key skill that the next PNP chief needs to get it out of the rut.

As to P/Major Gen. Eleazar, I must confess that I don’t trust the guy. Besides, he was kicked upstairs by Albayalde just before his downfall in an apparent move to place him in contention for the position he was set to vacate.

Right now, anybody with a stain from Albayalde’s hand shouldn’t be given a key position. With the little I know about Eleazar, I could sense that he is clone of Albayalde. Even their moves, especially their penchant for bringing the media to document their surprise inspections, come from the same template. He isn’t an officer I would want to see as chief of the PNP.

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About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

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