By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is looking for an “honest” new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief even if the candidate has a lower rank, according to Senator Christopher Go.
Days after former PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde retired from the service, Go admitted that the President was having difficulty searching for the country’s next top cop.
“Hanggang ngayon wala pa siyang napipisil. Naghahanap siya ng honest na PNP chief. ‘Yung hinahanap niya talagang perfect na honest siguro. Nahihirapan siyang maghanap [Up to now, he has not chosen anyone yet. He is looking for an honest PNP chief. He’s looking for someone perfectly honest. He’s having a hard time],” Go said in an interview with reporters at the Palace.
“Parati niya kinukwento nga na may tao na kahit may araw, naghahanap ng lampara. Bakit naghahawak ka ng lampara kahit na may araw, nakikita mo naman yung nasa paligid mo? Kasi hirap pala siya maghanap ng honest man [He often said there was a man who held a lamp in daylight. Why use a lamp when you can see your surrounding? Because he has difficulty looking for an honest man],” the President’s former aide said.
Go also said the President has the prerogative if he wants to consider a police officer even with a lower rank to serve as the next PNP chief.
“Alam ninyo prerogative ng executive, ng Pangulo na pumili kahit na one-star possible, two-star possible [The executive, the President has the prerogative to chose, even if the person is one-star or two-star ranked],” he said.
He noted that the country’s past two police chiefs held lower rank positions before they were promoted. He said former PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa was a one-star police general while Albayalde held a two-star rank when they were appointed to lead the police force.
“Posible yun na pumili siya from one-star, two-star, even the three-star general [It’s possible to choose from one-star, two-star even three-star generals],” he said.
Asked if the President will appoint a new police chief by December, Go said he could not say.
“Wala siyang sinasabi na mayroon na siyang choice. Hinayaan niya munang linisin niya ‘yung gusot at dumi diyan sa loob [He has not said anything about his choice. He was letting them clean up the mess inside],” he added.
Among the nominees reportedly recommended to take the place of Albayalde are Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, the current officer-in-charge and Deputy Chief for Administration; Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, Deputy Chief for Operations; and Maj. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, the Chief of the Directorial Staff.
The three police officers have reportedly been recommended by the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM) and Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.
Albayalde earlier stepped down from his post ahead of his November 8 retirement amid allegations of involvement in the drug recycling scandal. He has denied the charges.