Escobal, Danao and other PMA Class 1991 members in the Philippine National Police

November 10, 2018

WITH his recent assumption as Manila Police District director, Senior Superintendent Vicente ‘Vic’ Danao Jr. will become the 2nd member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 to become a 1-star general and inch much closer to Malacañang, the other home of former Davao City mayor-turned- President Rodrigo Duterte.

Danao and Chief Supt. Filmore Escobal, the 1st member of PMA Class 1991 to become a 1-star general are both known for their close association with the fighting President Duterte. Escobal, the younger brother of former Highway Patrol Group-turned Bicol police director, Chief Supt. Arnel Escobal of PMA Class 1987, is known for leading the police security contingent of Duterte during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Escobal went on to become the deputy director of the Police Security and Protection Group and head of the Presidential Protection Unit of the PSPS detailed with the Presidential Security Group until he was designated as PSPG director last April 9 with the retirement of erstwhile PSPG director, Chief Supt. Joel Garcia and the assumption as PNP chief of Gen. Oscar Albayalde, both of PMA Class 1986.

Many friends have whispered to me that Danao is President Duterte’s personal choice to head the Manila’s Finest but he has to wait however after the term of Chief Supt. Jigs Coronel of PMA Class 1987 and Chief Supt. Rolly Anduyan of PMA Class 1990 who both also made good at the MPD. (Coronel is now the NCRPO’s no. 2 man while Anduyan will be the new Northern Police District director upon the retirement of Chief Supt. Greg Lim, also of PMA Class 1987 on Saturday next week). Danao will be retiring on August 10, 2023 while Escobal will retire on November 5 of the same year.

As of July 2016, there were 19 other members of PMA Class 1991 in the PNP apart from Danao and Escobal They are Senior Supts. Patrick Villacorte, Mike Dubria, Robert Rodriguez, Conrad Gongon, Jimili Macaraeg, Roque Vega, Benjie Acorda, Rommel Marbil, Jon Arnaldo, Tony Yarra, Neil Alinsangan, Richard dela Rosa, Armando de Leon, Emmanuel Peralta, Benjie Santos, Dario Gunabe, Honorio ‘Yoyong’ Agnila, Eduardo Chico and Allan Servida. Chico has already resigned from the police force and is now embarking in another government career, i was told.

Many of these officers are my friends way back in the late 90s where they have served with pride and distinction in the police force. Last Friday alone, I met Gongon and Acorda during a joint meeting of officials of the Highway Patrol, Headquarters Support Service and the Crime Laboratory and their respective Advisory Councils. On the other hand, de Leon, as deputy director of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group regularly meets me and the rest of the members of the Advisory Council of the lead PNP anti-drug unit.

Another known reform advocate, Macaraig used to be a basketball teammate at the PNP Executive Team while Vega is a constant companion at the HPG where he is now the deputy director for operations. Villacorte, Dubria, Marbil, Arnaldo and Yarra, currently the MPD’s no. 3 official, are old-time friends just like Santos and Agnila who happens to be a constant companion at the PNP Public Information Office where he is the deputy of PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Bong Durana of PMA Class 1988.

Two other members of PMA Class 1991 are also in the limelight right now. They are former Navy pilot Edison ‘Bong’ Nebrija, the head of the Special Operations Group of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority known for his viral confrontation with traffic violators and Jonathan ‘Balde’ Baldevarona, a former police chief inspector who surprised many of us when he joined the 2019 senatorial race.

Back to Danao, the incoming police chief superintendent needs all the support of his mistahs, the PNP leadership and the officers and men of the Manila’s Finest in his very challenging task as MPD director. It’s really a herculean task because Manila remains the Philippines’ showcase and whatever Manila policemen do affects the entire police force.

Remember the infamous Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident which embarrassed the entire country in the eyes of the world due to the presence of bungling Manila cops? Add to that the never-ending cases of Manila policemen being embroiled in controversies, the latest of them two MPD cops accused of raping a 15-year-old daughter of a couple jailed for drugs and the other caught sniffing cocaine inside a bar in Taguig City while the rest of his colleagues were busy securing the recent Undas.

Danao thanked Malacañan Palace for the trust and confidence bestowed on him but his job really not ends with that expression of confidence and expressed warning to criminals and rogues in uniform. Danao really needs to make good his vow to apply the full extent of the law to all rude and scalawag MPD personnel while at the same time giving reward and medals to those who deserve it. Having the full backing of the President and the City Hall, Danao has to work overtime to help restore discipline and bring back the good image of the Manila’s Finest which was tarnished by the presence of a few including the so-called ‘Ninja Cops’ who sowed terror in the 90s and early 2000 until they slowly dispersed and transferred to other units outside of Manila.

When he took his oath of office before Coronel, Danao gave a new meaning to the word MPD. For him, it means “Magalang at Mapagkakatiwalaan, Protektor ng mga Inaapi at Ordinaryong Mama-mayan, Disiplinado at Dedikado sa Sinumpaang Tungkulin.” I pray that the Almighty Lord will guide him in his sworn duty and really change the meaning of MPD.