MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino named yesterday Philippine National Police Deputy Director General Raul Bacalzo as the new PNP chief to replace Director General Jesus Verzosa, who is retiring today.
The President said Bacalzo was his choice but did not elaborate. Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. also made the announcement.
Mr. Aquino is set to be at the PNP headquarters today for the turnover ceremony.
Bacalzo, deputy chief for operations and the third highest PNP official, was also said to be the choice of Verzosa, although junior officers had issued an open letter against him. The open letter alleged that he was involved in the illegal numbers game jueteng, illegal drugs and other corrupt activities. He was also the head of Task Force Usig, which was assigned to stop media and unexplained killings.
The Palace said the President made a background check
of all the candidates, which was narrowed down to three – Bacalzo, Deputy Director General for Administration Perfecto Palad and Deputy Director General Benjamin Belarmino, chief of the PNP Directorial Staff – and it was the prerogative of the junior officers to raise their concerns.
Palad, Bacalzo and Belarmino are the second, third and fourth highest PNP officials, respectively, all members of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class ’77.
Of the top three contenders, Palad was the first to get a three-star rank, followed by Bacalzo and Belarmino. Palad will be retiring in April 2011, Bacalzo in September 2011 and Belarmino in March 2012.
Bacalzo is said to be close to Verzosa, who earlier said that all star-rank officers were qualified to become the head of the police force. But Verzosa has admitted writing the President yesterday and endorsing Bacalzo as his successor. The PNP chief had also recommended Bacalzo as his successor to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Police Commission (Napolcom), which has direct supervision and control of the PNP.
The outgoing PNP chief last week submitted the names of the three generals to the DILG and Napolcom.
Bacalzo, the first member of PMA Class ’77 to get his first star, is a seasoned crime investigator and top-notch lawyer who placed 12th in the 1984 Bar Exam.
Verzosa is optimistic that Bacalzo would push the PNP’s Integrated Transformation Program (ITP), having served as general manager of its Program Management Office, which implements the ITP. The PNP chief has been leading torch runs in different police regions to symbolize the ITP of the PNP.
At least 15 officers will be affected by the revamp as a result of Verzosa’s retirement.
Job well done
Verzosa was the regional director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) during the rape-slay of UP Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez in Calauan, Laguna in the early ’90s. It was through his efforts that then Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez was charged and convicted for the crime.
He was the chief of the CIDG when it investigated former Abra. Gov. Vicente Valera for the murder of Abra Rep. Luis Bersamin in December 2006. Police later filed charges against Valera and several others for the crime.
Upon graduation from the PMA, Verzosa saw action in the field as platoon leader and later company commander under the 54th PC Battalion in Tuburan, Basilan and in Parang, Maguindanao during the height of the Mindanao campaign.
He was later assigned to various positions in the PC Metrocom until he returned to the field in 1986 as chief of the Intelligence and Investigation Branch of the Rizal PC/INP Command.
Verzosa has served a well-rounded career as an officer before eventually being elevated to top-level positions in the Directorial Staff and Command Group, and as executive director of the Program Management Office.
He is a recipient of numerous awards for outstanding accomplishments, including the prestigious Lingkod ng Bayan Award from the Civil Service Commission, two Cavalier Awards from the PMA Alumni Association, and service medals for efficiency, merit, and outstanding achievement.
Verzosa opted to retire early instead of finishing his tenure until Dec. 24. He turns 56, the mandatory retirement age, on Dec. 25.
Aurea Calica, Philippine Star