I’M referring to the case of more than 60 Philippine National Police officials whose promotions have hit a snag amid the reported failure of the National Police Commission to act on their papers.
It was actually not the 1st time since the start of the PBBM administration that senior PNP officials have cried foul over the same issue. I still remember that on September 28, 2022, concerned PNP officials held a dialogue with DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos and other Napolcom commissioners led by its vice-chairman, lawyer Alberto Bernardo.
The September 2022 meeting was attended by 92 officials whose promotion to Star-Rank and Police Colonel positions were greatly affected by the Napolcom decision to thoroughly study their cases and set things in order when it comes to placement and promotion in the 228,000-strong police force.
I was told then that the promotion papers of many of the 92 PNP officials were already at the Napolcom office but were not released or were not acted upon until they were totally affected by the ban on promotion as ordered by the Commission on Elections on March 8, 2020.
Issues raised by the Napolcom prior to that meeting include the alleged many violations of the law committed by the previous Napolcom En Banc when it comes to promotion in the PNP.
One issue cited was the need for the promotees to occupy their positions for a minimum of six-months before they can be promoted. Another is the question raised by the present Napolcom commissioners on why there are more than 16 PNP National Support Units when the law says there should only be 16 NSUs.
The meeting saw a number of senior PNP officials raising their voices to explain their sad plight. I was told that one Colonel present during that meeting even literally shed tears as he narrated to Sec. Abalos and the other Napolcom Commissioners the many services he had made to the country since he became an officer.
Already on the brink of being disqualified for a Star-Rank because of his age, that official finally got his rank after that meeting and is now a PNP regional director, many of his colleagues told me.
Over the weekend, I was again informed that demoralization has hit the ranks of over 60 PNP officials whose promotion has been delayed by the failure of Napolcom to act on their papers. Some of the officials are already star-rank officers while some are waiting for their 1st-star. The rest are Lieutenant Colonels recommended for promotion to Full-Fledged Colonel by the PNP Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board.
Some of the 2nd-Level PNP officials complained to me that their promotion papers have been ‘sleeping’ particularly in the office of Napolcom Vice-Chairman, Atty. Bernardo over the past three months.
“Our papers are all pending, they are not moving and we don’t know why since we are not being told why?,” one of the exasperated complainants told me. He also said they are asking why their promotion have been delayed although they have worked for it thru the years by giving their best to ‘serve and protect’ the public.
The 2nd-Level PNP officials said most of them have been demoralized by the ‘very slow’ processing of their papers for submission to the Civil Service Commission and later to the Office of the President for final approval.
I expect Sec. Abalos, also the concurrent chairman of Napolcom to act on the matter immediately. The DILG chief last week also asked Atty. Bernardo to look into the records of policemen whose dismissal from the force have not been implemented since 2020.
One of them incidentally is one of the members of the Navotas City Police Station accused of firing the shots that killed a teenager they suspected to be an armed killer last August 2. Atty. Bernardo said in a recent press conference that he will thoroughly look into the case of the dismissed cops even as he emphasized he won’t allow any shenanigans to happen in his office.
As the days go by, the PNP officials’ demoralization also continues to grow. “We are in a quandary here. Why the very long wait when we have already submitted all our credentials, passed the scrutiny of the PNP Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board and were recommended by the PNP leadership for promotion,” one Lt. Colonel told me.
I was told that the 3rd and 2nd-Level Officials have passed a strict vetting process which includes the checking of their previous records and service reputation. The vetting of course has affected the career of many other officials previously included in the so-called ‘PRRD drug list.’
As PBBM had accepted the courtesy resignation of 18th 3rd-Level Officials following a final recommendation from Napolcom, there are still grapevine rumors that a ‘2nd wave’ of PNP purging, this time involving 2nd-Level Officials is set to take place.
What is unclear at the moment is would the DILG also ask those to be promoted to the rank of Police Colonel to tender their courtesy resignation to the Commander-in-Chief. The promotion of these officials are also expected to hit a snag as the Comelec imposes a ban on ‘creation of new positions and promotion or giving of salary increases’ during the campaign period for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in October.
However, as many of my friends in the police force have told me: they really cannot explain in coherent terms the actions and resolutions of Napolcom in the last three decades. Thus, the PNP again is appealing to Sec. Abalos and the whole Napolcom for equity, moderation and open-mindedness. Hope their prayers and grievances will be answered and addressed immediately.