The powers of the PNP-OIC

May 21, 2022 Alfred P. Dalizon 589 views

Alfred DalizonI’M referring to the ‘special powers and additional authority’ given to a Philippine National Police Officer-in-Charge by the sitting President and the National Police Commission. Since 2010, we already have three OICs in the name of Lieutenant Generals Leonardo ‘Dindo’ Espina, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa and Lt. Gen. Vice Danao Jr.

When he became the PNP-OIC from February 5 to July 16, 2015, or during the time of the late President Noynoy Aquino, Lt. Gen. Espina of PMA ‘Dimalupig’ Class of 1981, according to then DILG chief Mar Roxas was given ‘full powers and authority’ of a full-time PNP chief.

However, it turned out that the well-loved Espina’s powers would be not that vast since although he was given power over the PNP’s finances and operations, his appointments were limited to only OICs, thus hindering the PNP’s efficacy.

He was later authorized to approve and issue permits to transport firearms, explosives and ammunition for air, naval and land assets of the police force which was then reeling from the infamous ‘Oplan Exodus’ that left the Gallant SAF 44 dead following a secret mission to neutralize Southeast Asia’s most wanted terrorist Zulkifli Bin Hir alias ‘Marwan’ in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Gen. Espina, then the PNP Deputy Chief for Administration was named PNP-OIC in December 2014 after then PNP chief, his mistah Gen. Alan Purisima was preventively suspended by the Ombudsman and later resigned a week after the SAF tragedy in Mamasapano.

Among the powers given to Espina by the Napolcom then was the authority approve and confirm transactions pertaining to the following: contracts involving procurement of services/resources by the PNP; approval of disbursements/payments of the PNP’s legitimate/regular financial transactions; authorization for the release of funds from the Agency Reserved Fund for fiscal year 2014; obligate funds from Trust Receipt; sign and counter-sign checks; and approve payroll and disbursement vouchers.

He was also authorized to perform the following functions: exercise disciplinary authority “as Chief PNP,” designate appropriate officers-in-charge (OICs) for the various PNP offices and units; appoint PNP non-uniformed personnel with salary grade 24 and below; sign documents concerning payments of retirement benefits of personnel with pending administrative cases but who have complied with the requirements under pertinent laws and circulars; enter into or renew agreements concerning regular transactions of the PNP; and issue firearms licenses and permits pursuant to the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.

The Napolcom then issued two resolutions granting Espina those ‘special powers’ to ensure that necessary transactions of the PNP that may affect the public will not be hampered. He later retired with full honors, sans any charges and is now enjoying private life with his family.

When he became the PNP-OIC from October 14, 2019 to January 20, 2020, then Lt. Gen. Gamboa had the full backing of the Palace and the DILG when he ordered a major reshuffling in the PNP. The DILG even defended Gamboa, a lawyer who ultimately became the PNP chief from January 20 to September 2, 2020 when he ordered a major PNP reorganization while still an OIC.

The DILG said that the ‘rigodon’ ordered by Gamboa of PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 has the full authority from President Duterte and Secretary Ed Año. The DILG came to the defense of the then PNP-OIC amid reports that some police officials were shocked by his decision to order a massive revamp of the force given his status.

It turned out that President Duterte and Sec. Año decided to give Gen. Gamboa ‘full authority’ to prevent cases in the past where an OIC cannot freely implement actions within the organization.

“This reshuffle is necessary for the PNP to regain the trust and confidence of the Filipino people and President, and for the entire organization to be able to move forward from the challenges and problems it has been facing lately,” said DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya then. True enough, Gen. Gamboa went on to retire a fulfilled PNP chief after being an OIC for three months.

Now comes Lt. Gen. Danao of PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 who has been named PNP-OIC following the retirement from the force last May 8 of Gen. Dionards Carlos of PMA ‘Maringal’ Class of 1988.

Last Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Danao ordered a minor reorganization of key PNP posts following the retirement of National Police Training Institute director, Major Gen. Alex Sintin of PMA ‘Bigkis Lahi’ Class of 1990 and the retirement of PNP Director for Personnel and Records Management, Maj. Gen. Jun Tadeo of PMA Class 1988 on Tuesday.

Initially, the special orders said that the affected officials would either be performing their new positions as ‘Acting’ directors or deputy directors except for the OIC of the Office of the Senior Executive Assistant to the Chief,PNP in the person of lawyer-Colonel Wilson Asueta of PNP Academy Class 1995. Later, the orders issued to the officials said they would be acting as OICs of their new officers. The move could be in deference to whoever would be appointed by incoming President Bongbong Marcos Jr. as his 1st national police chief, some officials told me.

By the way, Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson, himself a former PNP chief has previously urged the Napolcom to give the PNP-OIC the power to appoint police personnel and a voting right in the commission.

Sen. Lacson, a member of PMA ‘Matatag’ Class of 1971 made the recommendation during the Senate budget plenary deliberations attended by then PNP-OIC Gamboa. “Medyo awkward, National Police Commission na walang pulis. We understand may provision sa batas. I think there could be a way for Napolcom to do something about this,” he said.

The senator who immediately conceded to President-elect Bongbong Marcos Jr. had said that at present, a PNP officer-in-charge is just an observer in the Napolcom and not allowed to appoint personnel.

“Kung pwede may Napolcom resolution to allow him to sit as an ex-officio member with voting rights. Kung observer wala siyang magagawa roon,” Sen. Lacson said. He also suggested a resolution allowing the OIC to appoint PNP personnel from the lowest rank to lieutenant colonel.

“Ang hindi lang pwede appoint ng chief PNP ang full colonel. These are presidential appointees. When I was PNP chief, I can promote up to lieutenant colonel. And OIC Gamboa does not enjoy or exercise [that right,” he said during that Senate budget hearing.

Giving the PNP-OIC real powers to effectively lead the 225,000-strong police force is a must especially that he is the one really in-charge of motivating his men to do their best while going after the misfits and scalawags in the force.

THANK YOU CIELO VILLALUNA, PAL

On a personal note, I would like to thank a former colleague, Ms. Cielo Villaluna and the Philippine Airlines for going all-out to immediately return my iPad which I inadvertently left at the seat-back pocket of PAL PR 1845 last May 14.

Prior to that, my family and I, joined by our good friend Jimmy Cheng of United Daily News went for a short weekend vacation in Cebu the other Saturday where we met some long-time friends led by Central Visayas police director, Brigadier Gen. Roque Vega.

While enjoying the Manila-to-Cebu flight, I played chess in my iPad and inserted the gadget at the seat-back packet when the pilot announced we were about to land. That was the last time I saw it.

On our way to Manila, I realized that it was already missing. A check with the hotel and our service vehicle yielded negative result. That’s until I texted Cielo shortly after we safely arrived in Manila.

Cielo, a former member of the PNP Press Corps and one of the prettiest lady journalists I’ve known, next to my wife Candy of course, took her sweet time to immediately coordinate with their Cebu office. Last Monday afternoon, she informed me that my Ipad has been located and is on its way to Manila.

Last Wednesday, her staff from PAL Corporate Communications Office, Lito Hibo personally delivered my missing iPad at Camp Crame. With that, Cielo-one of the most popular TV reporters in the country when she was still covering Camp Crame and I would say that many present-day reporters really can’t hold a candle to her– again proved that PAL’s ‘lost-and-found- system is really good. Cielo and her team from PAL really deserve all the kudos for that. Thank you my friend. Stay safe always you all.

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