WITH barely 10 weeks before the May 9 national and local elections, Senator Ronald “Bato” M. de la Rosa on Monday called on all police commanders across the country to just follow orders from Philippine National Police Chief General Dionardo B. Carlos and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and they won’t go astray.
“Si PNP chief, Gen. Carlos at ang Comelec lang ang sundin ninyo,” Sen. dela Rosa, the 1st national police chief to be appointed by President Duterte said 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.
Sen. dela Rosa 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.
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.
Sen. 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 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.
Gen. Carlos as early as last year had said that 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 has 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 that in keeping with their non-partisan stand, the PNP which has been deputized by the Comelec to ensure the holding of 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 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 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.