Manila, Philippines — Who will be the next chief of the Philippine National Police?
Names of three senior police officials immediately surfaced as the top and possibly the only contenders for the post PNP Chief post with the forthcoming retirement of Director General Jesus Verzosa next week.
While all police generals are qualified to replace Verzosa on September 14, Senior Superintendent Agrimero Cruz, Jr., PNP spokesman, said the list was actually narrowed down to three.
“As far as the Senior Officers Placement and Promotion Board (SOPBB), three members of the command group are the most qualified to replace retiring Director General Jesus Verzosa,” said Cruz in an interview.
They are Deputy Director General Perfecto Palad, the so-called PNP’s number two-man being the deputy chief for Administration; Deputy Director General Raul Bacalzo, deputy chief for Operations; and, Director Benjamin Belarmino, the chief of the PNP Directorial Staff.
What made the fight for the post a three-way fight is based on seniority rule, a respected policy not only in the PNP but also in the military.
This was confirmed by Cruz, adding that seniority is one of the three major considerations in the promotions aside from skills and experience.
With all the members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1976, including Verzosa, already out of the loop, Cruz said the choice is reduced to the next PMA class in line in terms of seniority – the PMA Class 1977.
“All the three contenders are members of the PMA Class 1977,” said Cruz.
Of the three contenders, Palad is considered the most senior, being the first to attain the three-star rank and the first member of the PMA Class 1977 who was named in the command group.
The only problem is that Palad has only less than a year in the service as he is set to reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 in April next year.
The issue of having less than a year in service has been repeatedly raised before, backed by a provision that no official shall be promoted to the next next rank if he has only less than a year in the service,
Bacalzo is set to retire in September next year while Belarmino in March, 2012.
But Cruz was quick to clarify that the issue is not a big deal when it comes to the choice of the PNP Chief.
“Based on the law, having less than a year in service is not a hindrance to become a PNP chief. “The post of the PNP Chief is exempted because the appointment will be the prerogative of the President,” said Cruz.
The PNP Chief position is the only four-star rank, or Director General (equivalent to General in the military), in the police organization.
Aaron Recuenco, Manila Bulletin