WITH barely 10 weeks before the May 9 elections, Senator Ronald “Bato” M. de la Rosa called on all police commanders to “just follow” orders from Philippine National Police chief General Dionardo B. Carlos and the Commission on Elections and they won’t go astray.
“Si PNP chief Gen. Carlos at ang Comelec lang ang sundin ninyo,” said Dela Rosa, the 1st national police chief to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte, in his speech during the 31st founding anniversary of the police force at Camp Crame.
Dela Rosa was referring to the need for the police force to remain its apolitical stand during the election.
“Very crucial ang PNP sa eleksiyon kaya hindi dapat magpagamit sa magkabilang kampo ang mga Provincial Directors, ang mga Chiefs of Police,” he said.
The member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 said it is a fact that a chief of police siding with one candidate may do something that will benefit the latter to the chagrin of their rival or rivals.
“Pag magcheckpoint lang ang pulis sa isang lugar para hindi makapag-kampaya ng maayos ang kalaban kandidato, wala na,” he said.
The senator said a chief of police or a provincial director who is also under the ‘payroll’ of a candidate will do nothing that will offend his benefactor. “Hawak na sila sa ilong ng mga kandidatong ito pag ganun ang mangyayari, wala na silang independence,” he said.
Gen. Carlos had maintained their non-partisan stand during the election and said that since last January 8, a total of 38 new Provincial Directors, City Directors and Chiefs of Police in Metro Manila have been designated to their new posts.
Dela Rosa’s presence at Camp Crame was a sort of ‘déjà vu’ for Gen. Carlos, the official told the Journal Group. When he was still the PNP chief from July 1, 2016 until April 19, 2018, Gen. Carlos stood as dela Rosa’s spokesperson and chief of the PNP Public Information Office.
When asked to say if he were really supporting the candidacy of another former PNP chief in the person of Sen. Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson, dela Rosa refused to confirm nor deny it and merely said he believes in all the presidential aspirants.
“I am pushing for everyone of them. All of them are my friends, kung puwede nga lang Manalo lahat pero iisa lang talaga ang mananalo,” he said.
Gen. Carlos has ordered the police provincial and city directors as well as chiefs of police in Metro Manila who have been in their posts for more than one-year already will be replaced in line with their effort to ensure their apolitical stand ahead of the May 9 national and local elections.
As such, he ordered all 17 Police Regional Office directors and chiefs of the different national operational support units to continue identifying and transferring their personnel with relatives gunning for elective posts in their areas of responsibility to prevent them from engaging in partisan politics.
The move was made late last year as part of the PNP leadership’s commitment to bar its members from engaging in partisan politicking activities specifically after the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy for the May polls.
The order is to reassign concerned police officers and men outside cities, municipalities and provinces where their relatives are seeking elective posts. Superiors of these police personnel who would be found to have defied the PNP leadership’s directive will be held accountable for disregarding direct orders.
Camp Crame cited previous instances in which it received complaints about policemen who actively campaigned for their relatives and intervened on their behalf. Although some of the allegations were found to be false, the PNP leadership decided to issue the directive to prevent perceptions and even suspicions that its members are engaging in partisan political activities especially at the local level.
Gen. Carlos said in keeping with their non-partisan stand, the PNP which has been deputized by the Comelec to ensure the holding of a peaceful, secure, honest and orderly polls is managing the early rotation of the following unit commanders.
First, those who have relatives up to the 4th degree of consanguinity/affinity who are seeking elective posts in their areas of responsibility. Second are commanders who have served a two-year tour of duty in their posts within the election period.
Last but not the least are PNP officers and men who are closely related to retired PNP and Armed Forces officers who are running for elective positions in their areas of responsibility and are known for having close association with the candidates in the past.
The PNP-DPRM late last year started conducting an inventory of PDs/CDs and COPs for reshuffling. The move was started amid a recommendation to limit the stint of PDs/CDs and COPs from two-year to one-year as provided in a proposed policy to further strengthen the PNP placement and promotion system of Third Level Police Commissioned Officers.