Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian urged President Aquino to immediately appoint a new chief for the Philippine National Police or PNP to arrest the creeping demoralization in among ranks due to former PNP Director-General Alan Purisima’s suspension and resignation.
Gatchalian maintained that appointing a new PNP chief will restore stability and raise morale in the police organization still reeling from the loss of the 44 Special Action Force or SAF commandos in the Jan. 25 Mamasapano clash.
“The appointment of the PNP chief would definitely stabilize the national police beset with organizational problems and demoralized elements over the mishandling of the SAF operation in Mamasapano,” he said.
Gatchalian said filling up the vacancies in the PNP hierarchy should not be a problem with the President since the PNP has a seniority lineal list which determines who is next in line when a position becomes vacant.
“The seniority lineal list will guide the President in choosing who among the most qualified can be appointed to the position that fits his or her level of competence and track record in the police service,” Gatchalian pointed out.
“All the President has to do is to choose from the list of recommended names of the PNP Senior Officers Placement and Promotions Board,” he added.
Gatchalian said it is now the best time to appoint a new PNP chief after President Aquino admitted on Saturday that then-suspended PNP chief Purisima deliberately disobeyed his directive to him to coordinate with the PNP officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina.
Aquino said he stressed this to Purisima because on Jan. 8, at a meeting for the visit of Pope Francis, National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia informed him that Espina was “not in the loop” in the hunt for international terrorist Zilkufli bin Hir, alias Marwan, his compatriot Amin Baco and their Filipino associate Basit Usman.
“I told Alan that it has come to my attention that Dindo Espina does not know and he is not [in] the loop and you tell him, tell him everything, to which I believe there was an acquiescence,” President Aquino explained.
“I would not have let him go had he said, ‘Sir, he should not know.’ I would not agree to that. Now [on Jan.] 25, that was when I found out that that was also another order that was not carried out,” the president added.
Gatchalian said President Aquino should now convince resigned PNP chief Purisima to retire from the service so that his four stars (director-general rank in the PNP) will be given to whoever the commander-in-chief wants to appoint as the new PNP chief.
The Valenzuela City lawmaker said the main contenders for PNP chief are PNP OIC Espina and PNP chief of directorial staff Deputy Director General Marcelo Garbo Jr., who are both members of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1981. Purisima belongs to the same PMA class.
Gatchalian said Espina and Garbo are both highly qualified to become chief of the 150,000-strong national police but time is against Espina, who is due to bow out in July this year when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 years old.
“This leaves General Garbo as the logical choice since he still has more than one year before he retires and his retirement will happen after the 2016 presidential elections,” said Gatchalian. (R. Burgos)