THE Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday said it would leave to President Rodrigo Duterte the decision to extend the term of General Dionardo B. Carlos until June 30 this year or allow an acting PNP chief or an Officer-in-Charge in case the Commander-in-Chief allows the latter to retire on his 56th birthday on May 8.
“We will leave it to the President to decide kung sino ang ituturo na next PNP Chief following the retirement of PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos on May 8. May mga na-submit na po na pangalan sa Pangulo and in no time, malalaman din natin ang kanyang desisyon,” said PNP Public Information Office chief, Brigadier Gen. Roderick Augustus B. Alba.
Brig. Gen. Alba issued the statement in reaction to Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año’s pronouncement that he has recommended the names of two senior PNP generals who may replace Gen. Carlos upon his retirement.
“We can somehow emphasize that the PNP is willing and ready to secure the May 9 local and national elections. The possible change in leadership won’t diminish the value of our preparation for the upcoming polls at ito ay dahil sa epektibong pamumuno ni PNP Chief Carlos,” Brig. Gen. Alba said.
President Duterte earlier commended the 225,000-strong police force for being a main cog in the government’s war on drugs since 2016. “I thank the PNP for being at the forefront in the fight against illegal drugs, crime and terrorism over the past six year,” said the Commander-in-Chief during the PNP Academy graduation rites last April 21.
The PNP leadership said they fully appreciate the President’s message.
“It has been challenging given that the campaign against criminality never stops, with criminal elements becoming more brazen and resourceful. Idagdag pa natin ang naging epekto ng pandemya. As frontliners, may takot na posibleng tamaan ng sakit ang mga personnel namin, but we pledged to commit our full service to the Fiipinos,” Brig. Gen. Alba said.
“All these accomplishments against criminality and lawlessness ay hindi natin mapagtatagumpayan kung hindi dahil sa tulong ng mga stakeholders at active participation ng communities na nagnanais mamuhay ng ligtas at payapa,” he added.
Sec. Año did not identify the generals he recommended to take over from Gen. Carlos although he said that he picked them based on seniority and competency.
According to the DILG chief, President Duterte’s choice will only serve as PNP chief in an acting capacity or serve as an OIC.
He cited the 1987 Constitution which states that no appointments in an executive position, except for temporary ones, shall be made 60 days before election day.
Sec. Año however maintained that the President “has the absolute authority” to pick an acting PNP chief outside of the DILG’s recommendation and also has the discretion to extend the term of Gen. Carlos.
SERMONIA. DANAO IN THE RUNNING
TWO members of the Command Group of Gen. Carlos, PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, Lieutenant Gen. Rhodel O. Sermonia and PNP The Chief Directorial Staff, incoming PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lt. Gen. Vicente D. Danao Jr. are the top PNP officials being considered to take over as acting PNP chief until the next president picks his choice.
Gen. Carlos, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Maringal’ Class of 1988 will retire on May 8 while Lt. Gen. Sermonia of PMA ‘Makatao’ Class of 1989 will retire on January 26, 2024. Lt. Gen. Danao of PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 will retire on August 10, 2023.
Lt. Gen. Danao is set to automatically become the PNP’s 3rd highest official with the retirement of PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lt. Gen. Ferdinand O. Divina, a classmate of Gen. Carlos who will retire on Monday, May 2.
Sec. Año previously had said that President Duterte may extend term of Carlos to pave the way for a smooth transition period between the current and incoming administration even as the Palace had said it would strictly follow the rules on ‘midnight appointments.’
Here are the scenarios ‘floating’ at Camp Crame when it comes to the PNP chief position. First is the possibility that Gen. Carlos may be given an extended term until June 30 to ensure that the new president will pick his choice to become the country’s next top cop.
Another is the scenario that Lt. Gen. Sermonia will be designated as PNP-OIC before or on the actual 56th birthday of Gen. Carlos.
However, the law says that the Commander-in-Chief may pick a PNP chief from any of the star-rank officials in the force, meaning the Brigadier Generals and up.
The law also says that there should only be one 4-star general in the person of the PNP chief.