De Leon Brigadier General Valeriano T. de Leon

The race for top PNP post: Who is Brig. Gen. Val de Leon?

October 13, 2021 Alfred P. Dalizon 10700 views

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AMONG the three members of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) ‘Makatao’ Class of 1989 who are known to be being groomed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) with the retirement this coming November 13 of General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar, Journal Group sources there is one who is known to have gained the full trust and confidence of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who is still showing her hesitancy to join the 2020 presidential race.

His name: Brigadier General Valeriano Templo de Leon who became the Police Regional Office 3 (PRO3) director in Central Luzon on October 7, 2020 and will be retiring on May 7, 2023, or at least 18 long months more before retiring at the age of 56.

Known to his colleagues and friends simply as ‘Val,’ the official has his own share of challenges in his career although he has managed to overcome them owing to his pure talent.

Records will also show that he became the first police general from PMA Class 1989 and the first to become a Police Regional Director.

The official told the Journal Group that he believes that there are only two jobs for a police officer: “First is to prevent crimes and to solve it if it is not prevented.” The official also said he is subscribing to the doctrine that ‘leadership is not about the best but it is about making everyone else better.”

He is speaking from experience since preventing and solving crimes if they have taken place were the reasons why he was adjudged as the PNP Best Junior Police Commissioned Officer nationwide while still assigned at the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

The Regional Mobile Force Battalion he used to command was also awarded as the Best Regional Mobile Group of the Year in the entire country during the Police Service Anniversary in 2006 graced by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The position calls for the rank of a Police Colonel although he headed it while still a Police Major.

De Leon was also adjudged as the Best Senior Police Commissioned Officer of the Year for Administration in 2016 during ceremonies attended by President Duterte.

He also was a previous recipient of a Gold Award from the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission which cited him for introducing an online and ‘no contact policy’ as part of his anti-corruption initiatives when he headed the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office.

The move was done in accordance with Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018 signed by President Duterte.

On October 16, 2019, he was designated as Police Regional Office 7 director in Central Visayas replacing Gen. Debold M. Sinas who would eventually become the 5th PNP chief appointed by President Duterte.

Under him, the PRO7 was recognized by local government units for institutionalizing the major event security framework of the PNP that resulted to ‘zero-crime’ during the world-famous Sinulug festival attended by some three million devotees that year.

Brig. Gen. de Leon replaced his mistah and fellow ‘Chief,PNP-tiable,” Major Gen. Rhodel O. Sermonia as PRO3 director in October 20 last year and went on to lead the PRO3 into becoming the Best Police Regional Office nationwide during the recent Police Service Anniversary.

The PRO3 got the award for its notable accomplishments against illegal drugs and other forms of criminality, terrorism and in crime solution. However, some officials said that at least five months of the reckoning time for the award took place during the time of Maj. Gen. Sermonia.

Journal Group sources said that then Colonel de Leon got the attention of Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio when he supervised the investigation of the infamous bombing at a night market in the city on September 2, 2016 which killed 15 people and injured 69 others.

Patient sleuthing by the Special Investigation Task Group headed by de Leon led to identification and arrest of many of the terrorists behind the bombing.

On September 30, 2020, a Taguig City Regional Trial Court convicted 11 men behind the Davao City bombing. The suspects who were identified as members of the Islamic State-linked Maute group were found “guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the complex crime of multiple murder and multiple attempted murder.”

The conviction of the 11 was attributed to solid testimonies and pieces of evidence presented by the SITG.

De Leon was then the PRO11 Deputy Director for Operations and concurrently headed the Davao City Police Office and the Davao Occidental Police Provincial Office in an Officer-in-Charge capacity.

The 54-year old official was a former aide-de-camp of General -turned Antipoli City Representative Romeo M. Acop when the latter was still the director of the PNP-CIDG.

De Leon’s foundation is anchored on his strong family background although his solid career started at the PMPA.

He actually belongs to a family of career military officials. His mother Fe Templo was the sister of three generals from the Philippine Army, the Philippine Navy and the now defunct Philippine Constabulary which is the forerunner of the PNP.

He is also the brother of retired Army Maj. Gen. Benito de Leon who settled in Davao City and was once the head of the City’s Public Safety and Security Command Center. The elder de Leon is now an Undersecretary at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

De Leon is known to be an officer ‘with a very wide horizon’ considering the fact that he has been assigned in different PNP Directorial Staff positions including the Directorates for Operations, Human Resource and Doctrine Development and Comptrollership.

However, de Leon was also known as the Quezon Police Provincial Office director when 12 policemen were charged over the alleged ‘rubout’ of 13 men in Atimonan municipality on January 10, 2019. The official was ordered administratively relieved in the aftermath of the incident.

On October 16, 2019, then PNP chief, Gen. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa designated de Leon as PRO7 director vice Gen. Sinas who was named as National Capital Region Police Office director on the same day.

He got the assignment after defending himself from charges made by the camp of former PNP chief, Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde that the PNP-FEO revenues ‘dwindled’ during his incumbency.

De Leon successfully explained his side and the rest is history. It is under him when the PNP-FEO institutionalized the ‘online’ application for License to Own and Possess Firearms and other gun permits making it much easier for gun-holders to renew their applications online specifically during the new normal.

“The hardest part of moving up to a new assignment is to say goodbye to people you’ve learned to love and treasure for almost two-and-a-half years,” de Leon said after being installed as Central Visayas police director.

“Finally, I’m relieved of duty as chief, FEO. You know why I’m so relieved? I shiver every time I think of maybe retiring in FEO since I was assigned here in 2017. But at the end of the day, God is good because there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said then.

In January 2020, he also effected Gen. Gamboa’s order to relieve three of his officials who were accused of ‘playing golf’ during weekdays.

Journal group sources said the PNP chief must possess the competency and integrity to handle the job as he will be answerable to the PNP’s internal and external audience. He should also have the dogged determination to do the job, the needed track record and service reputation, a ton of contribution to the country’s peace and order campaign, and most importantly, the loyalty to the Constitution and the duly-constituted authorities.

Since 1991 to date, the PNP already had 26 Chiefs, the 1st being the late Gen. Cesar ‘Hari-Hari’ Nazareno and the 26th is Gen. Eleazar. It should be interesting to note that all the PNP chiefs we have were products of the prestigious PMA. n May 8, 2022.

However, officials said that the President’s trust and confidence will always play a major role in his decision, particularly now that the 2022 elections are forthcoming.

Right now, there are many speculations on who will be the next Chief,PNP although all agree that the candidates to replace Gen. Eleazar are all qualified and have proven their worth when it comes to serving the country with pride and honor.

Thus, President Duterte really has to make a good final decision with his presidency coming to an end. This has something to do with service reputation, sterling service record, untarnished integrity and the most important of them all, loyalty to the President and the Republic. The President also has to make a very wise decision with exactly a month left before Gen. Eleazar’s retirement.

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