The ‘favorites’ and ‘dark horse’ in race for next PNP chief 

No final decision has been made so far to push through this time with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in May. But for the appointment of the next Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, the “campaign” may have “unofficially” started.

The race is on for the successor of PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa, as he transitions toward his incoming post as director of the Bureau of Corrections, where he is expected to continue the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

And just like in normal races, there now emerge the “favorites” and the “dark horse.”

Dela Rosa was supposed to have retired last month, but—like Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero—his term was extended for another three months by President Duterte so his anti-drugs drive as head of the PNP will not be cut.

Front-runners

PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario; PNP Director for Intelligence Chief, Director Greg Pimentel; and National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Director Oscar Albayalde, have emerged as front-runners on the list to succeed dela Rosa.

Apolinario, the No. 2 man of the PNP, and Pimentel are members of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1985, while Albayalde is a member of Class 1986, and a mistah (or classmate) of dela Rosa himself.

While Apolinario and Pimentel have ties with Duterte, who is the appointing authority, Albayalde, an articulate and media-savvy officer, is banking on his accomplishments as chief of the NCRPO as his passport in bagging the PNP’s top post.

Ties that bind

Apolinario worked with Duterte before as head of the Davao City Police, while the President was among Pimentel’s wedding sponsors last month.

Just days before Duterte extended the term of dela Rosa, senior police officials have already been addressing Apolinario as “chief,” having gotten wind of his impending designation as PNP chief by Duterte.

While Apolinario remains as the top contender to succeed dela Rosa, the equation, however, may be fast changing, especially if merits and accomplishments were to be considered by Duterte, where Albayalde is proving to be a runaway winner, according to observers.

‘Doer’

Albayalde, as the head of the NCRPO that is considered as “window” of the PNP, is known as a “doer” and a strict disciplinarian while eclipsing any given task.

In ridding the NCRPO of unworthy members, he had implemented his own version of the PNP’s internal cleansing by directly taking and even heading the campaign on the ground, and in the “gravest” hour through his unannounced visits of police stations around Metro Manila at night and in the wee hours of the morning.

A number of policemen have been relieved from their posts, stripped of their firearms and badges and are facing disciplinary sanctions because they have been caught sleeping or imbibing alcohol while on duty.

“He went for the basics, which is discipline, even in the middle of the many campaigns and programs of the PNP. He knows that the success of any campaign in the PNP is inherent upon the character of the policemen,” according to a police observer who requested not to be named.

Albayalde’s tack was unprecedented in the PNP, that no less than the PNP-Internal Affairs Service has decided to duplicate his night visits.

When the PNP reassumed its “Oplan Tokhang,” Albayalde, leading a team of policemen from Quezon City, was the first to implement the controversial anti-drug operation in Metro Manila.

For the first time, the NCRPO, under Albayalde, has not only met its yearly accomplishments, but even surpassed them.

Last year the NCRPO managed to pull down crimes against persons by 13.87 percent, from 8,841 in 2016 to 7,305; and crime against properties by 20.58 percent, from 13, 200 in 2016 to 10,483.

The crime clearance efficiency (CCE) also increased by 4.27 percent, from 82.88 in 2016 to 86.42 percent.

The NCRPO’S “8-Focused Crimes” also decreased compared with 2016, with a total decrease of 17.96 percent in crime volume.

Murder decreased by 23.38 percent, from 1,976 to 1,514; homicide by 26.69 percent, from 577 to 423 incidents; physical injury by 7.62 percent, from 4,830 to 4,462; and rape by 17.49 percent, from 1,098 to 906 incidents.

Robbery cases also went down by 16.04 percent, from 3,603 incidents to 3,025; theft by 19.92 percent, from 8,059 to 6,454 incidents; and carnapping by 48.90 percent, from 317 to 162 incidents. Motorcycle theft also decreased by 31.04 percent, from 1,221 to 842 incidents.

Albayalde attributed the continued drops in these eight focused crimes to the NCRPO’s intensified implementation of Project Double Barrel Alpha, Project Double Barrel Reloaded and the intensified implementation of their Enhanced Managing Police Operations.

“Our accomplishments on war against illegal drugs have been notable, which resulted in the voluntary surrender of another 29,087 and arrest of 17,487 drug offenders. We have seized a total of more or less 755 kilograms of shabu, 34.6 kilograms of marijuana and 211 ecstacy tablets, which collectively amounted to more than P3.77 billion,” Albayalde said then.

In the war against illegal gambling, the NCRPO conducted 2,759 police operations that resulted in the arrest of 8,093 offenders.

For crime prevention, the NCRPO conducted 64,502 check points; 263,709 “Oplan Bakal Sita”; 977,074 Beat Patrol; 478,011 Mobile Patrol; 70,379 “Oplan Galugad”; and 21,986 “Oplan Katok,” wherein as a result, a total of 44,452 persons with standing warrants and in flagrante delicto were arrested.

For internal security operations and counterterrorism efforts, the Metro Manila police also implemented and carried out a total of 98,138 target-hardening measures, implemented 114,974 border-control security measures and conducted 25,880 social investigations.

Likewise, it has arrested a total of 11 members of terrorist groups that included  seven members of Maute Group and four members of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

 

Image Credits: AP/Bullit Marquez

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