By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is looking for an honest and competent new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President would carefully vet the candidates for PNP chief and choose the most qualified person for the job.
The incoming PNP chief, Panelo added, should not be facing cases of corruption and other irregularities.
“Competence, honesty. Palagi naman yun ang qualifications [Those are the qualifications],” he said during a Palace press briefing.
“Kapag honest ka, hindi ka corrupt… Basta if you’re honest, ibig sabihin wala kang kaso relative to any irregularity. Pag competent ka, ibig sabihin magaling ka sa trabaho mo,” he said, when asked if the next PNP chief should not be entangled with the ninja cop controversy and other forms of corruption.
PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde will reach the mandatory age of 56 on November 8.
Recently, the police chief has been accused of allegedly trying to protect suspected ninja cops, but has denied the allegations. The drug recycling scandal implicating several cops has triggered calls for Albayalde’s removal but the President preferred to wait for the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) probe on the matter.
Panelo explained that while there might be some recommendations for the top PNP post, the President still personally screens the candidates to determine if they meet his qualifications.
He noted that four police officers have been reportedly recommended to replace Albayalde, but he could not confirm if there was indeed such shortlist given to the President.
“Knowing the president, iba style ni Presidente. He always keep it to himself,” he said.
Panelo made the remarks after President Duterte commented he would carefully screen the next PNP chief to avoid stumbling again. He added that he would also consult “everybody” concerning the choice of the PNP chief.
“Not yet. ‘Yan ang mahirap. We have to — they call it vet. I have to consult everybody. Maya-maya madapa na naman tapos ako ang magkaroon ng problema [Not yet. It’s difficult. We have to , they call it vet. I have to consult everybody. I might stumble again and I will end up with a problem],” Duterte said during a press conference in Davao City last Sunday when asked if he has already selected the new PNP chief.
Asked if the President meant he made a mistake in choosing the PNP chief, Panelo said: “Wala naman siya sinabi na nagkamali siya. Nagspe-speculate lang tayo [He did not say he was mistaken. We’re just speculating].”
He admitted that it was prudent to ask the President for clarification.
“Mahirap mag-interpret sa sinabi niya. Hindi masyadong klaro kung kanino niya nire-refer [It’s difficult to interpret what he said. It is not clear who he was referring to],” he said.