MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police will have a turnover of command on Sept. 14, when PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa will formally retire from the police service.
PNP spokesman Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said the turnover of command would be made after President Aquino names the new PNP chief to succeed Verzosa.
Police officials would not comment on who could possibly be the next PNP chief but sources revealed he could be Deputy Director General Raul Bacalzo who would celebrate his 55th birthday on Sept. 15.
When asked who will be the possible replacement, Cruz said the other front-runners include Deputy Director General Perfecto Palad, the deputy chief for administration; and Director Benjamin Belarmino, the chief directorial staff.
“Everybody from chief superintendent and up are eligible to be appointed as chief PNP depending on the decision of the appointing authority, who is President Aquino,” Cruz added.
Cruz stressed Verzosa’s early retirement is not related to the bungled police rescue attempt on the Manila bus hostage taking incident that killed eight Hong Kong tourists last Aug. 23.
Senior police officials, on the other hand, expressed support for Verzosa, hailing his decision to retire this month well ahead of his mandatory retirement.
Cruz said many of Verzosa’s former classmates were not surprised by the decision of the PNP chief to retire early.
“Their classmates have reached their consensus to give way to younger officers,” he said.
According to Cruz, Verzosa’s early retirement was part of a plan of his classmates at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) batch 1976 for him to retire early.
“They (PMA Class of 1976) want to give way to take over and implement our integrated transformation program,” Cruz said.
Verzosa is the last of the PMA Class of 1976 in the PNP.
His classmates, Director Abner Cabalquinto, of the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management, and Director Luizo Ticman, chief of the PNP Directorate for Logistics, are set to go on “non duty” status on Sept. 15, a day after Verzosa formally retires.
Cabalquinto will turn 56 on Oct. 9 while Ticman will also retire the day after.
Cruz said Verzosa has already filed his formal application for early retirement to President Aquino, who has yet to reply.
Verzosa revealed last month his plans to bow out of police service before his mandatory retirement on Dec. 25, his 56th birthday. He still has 112 days in the police service.
“Even after his retirement, Verzosa promised to attend all hearings and help the PNP improve its capability,” Cruz said.
He said the Manila bus hostage incident that left eight Hong Kong tourists dead would not affect the plans of the PNP chief to leave the service ahead of his mandatory retirement.
Verzosa said he is looking forward to spending Christmas and his birthday as a civilian with his family.
Verzosa was credited for maintaining a very peaceful conduct of the May 10 elections.
But a few days before announcing his plans to retire, the bungled hostage taking in Manila occurred, which some quarters said could leave a stain on Verzosa’s outstanding record in the police service.
Verzosa described his 38 years in the service as turbulent. He said he had been relieved four times over wrong accusations but somehow he got promoted.
Cecile Suerte Felipe, Philippine Star