P-Noy’s choice of PNP chief backed

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Latest News Philippines: P-Noy’s choice of PNP chief backed – Journal.com.ph:

A former top cop-turned lawmaker yesterday said the practice of not appointing the most senior police official as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is something not new in the organization and had been practiced during the appointment of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson as the country’s top cop in 1999 under the presidential prerogative.

Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop recalled that he worked professionally with his then junior officer Lacson who was appointed by then President Joseph Estrada as director general of the PNP.

Acop said the President has all the powers to name even a junior officers as next head of the PNP like in the case of PNP Deputy Director General Alan Purisima, chief of the Directorial Staff or the fourth most senior police official and President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s choice to replace outgoing PNP Director General Nicanor Bartolome.

“The President is not bound by the Constitution to observe the tradition. We should respect the President’s prerogative to appoint the highest official of the PNP,” Acop told this reporter.

“There are no constitutional prohibitions. The President is free to choose his trusted man for the top PNP post. The appointment of a senior official is just a practice by tradition,” Acop added. Purisma is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1981 and was assigned to the Presidential Security Group (PSG) during the time of the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

In the present PNP hierarchy, Purisima is only next to Bartolome, Deputy Director General Emelito Sarmiento and Deputy Director General Rommel Heredia.

Acop pointed out that he helped Lacson to professionalize the PNP in 1999 despite the fact that he was the senior police official.

“I asked then PNP Chief Lacson, he told me to help professionalize the PNP and I extended my hands to him because it is my job to follow the chain of command and uphold the presidential prerogative,” Acop stressed. Acop is a member of PMA Class of 1970 while Lacson came from Class of 1971.

He worked as police deputy director for comptrollership during the time of Lacson. Aside from him, Acop explained that Lacson’s appointment as PNP chief bypassed four other senior police officials which include the late National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Reynaldo Wycoco and Deputy Chief for Operations Gen. Jewel F. Canson, both members of PMA Class of 1968; former PNP chief Gen. Leandro Mendoza of Class 1969 and ex-PNP Chief Hermogenes Esperon of Class 1970.

The Antipolo City lawmaker said President Aquino has all the powers to name a junior officer as next PNP chief under the amended Republic Act (RA) No. 8551 or the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998.

“Under the amended PNP law, President Aquino can appoint a junior officer as his next PNP chief and the senior officials should follow the chain of command and respect his exercise of presidential prerogative,” said Acop. Acop explained that “demoralization among senior officials as an offshoot of a possible appointment by the President of a junior officer has no room among professional officers.”

Earlier, President Aquino disclosed the non-duty status option for Bartolome in his recent trip in Laos where he attended the 9th Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit following reports that he refused to go on early retirement.

The Chief Executive wants Bartolome to retire early because his retirement on March 16 or his 56th birthday, the mandatory age of retirement, will fall right in the middle of the campaign for next polls.

If the non-duty status pushes through, it will virtually place Bartolome at the backburner while Purisima will get more active role as commander of the PNP Task Force Halalan.


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