Service reputation comes in handy in PNP reorg

AS I have earlier written this week, the Senate victory of former Philippine National Police chief, retired General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa and former Special Assistant to President Duterte, Secretary Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’  Go is expected to trigger another reorganization of some key PNP positions.

My usually highly-reliable sources also told me that there is an ongoing analysis of the votes garnered by the two rookie senators as well as candidates known for being supported by the Left in different regions. As it is already known, left-leaning groups that once dominated the party-list race suffered some kind of a defeat in the May 13 polls with their senatorial bet Neri Colmenares only placing 24th in the senatorial race and some have credited it to the government’s appeal for to public to reject candidates allied with communist rebels.

Sources told me that the analysis of the votes gained by some senatorial bets is aimed  at gauging the performance of concerned police commanders not only in keeping the May 13 national and local elections in their areas as peaceful as possible but also how they fared in mustering support for President Duterte’s candidates and at the same time convincing their people and their families not to vote for members of the so-called Makabayan bloc.

This week, some sources have whispered to me that some Police Regional Office directors and heads of National Support Units would be affected by the revamp. Several officials confirmed the information but refused to give further details until last Friday, a close confidante of PNP chief, Gen. Oscar Albayalde whispered to me that indeed, some RDs would be replaced.

My friend told me that as far as he knows, there would be new RDs in Bicol region, Western Visayas, Western Mindanao and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. He added that new directors of the Southern Police District and the Police Security and Protection Group would also be named very soon although Ididn’t ask him the reason behind the supposed plan.

Here’s the lineup mentioned to me by my source: PSPG director, Brigadier General Filmore Escobal would replace his elder brother, Brig. Gen. Arnel Escobal as Police Regional Office 5 director in Bicol region while SPD director, Brig. Gen. Ely Cruz will be the new PSPG director. He said that Brig. Gen. Escobal, a lawyer-member of PMA ‘Hinirang’ Class of 1987 would be designated to a deputy position in Camp Crame.

I don’t really know if the plan would materialize since the younger Escobal of PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 is a known close aide of President Duterte and he, along with his mistah, Brig. Gen. Vic Danao of the Manila Police District, is  expected to lead  the 190,000-strong police force in the last two years or more of the Duterte administration. Danao will retire on August 10, 2023 while Escobal’s retirement will be on November 5, 2023.

The wisdom of the PNP leadership will also be tested as it implements its placement and promotion system during the remaining months of Gen. Oscar Albayalde in the PNP. While I was writing this piece, some officials told me that members of PMA ‘Maringal’ Class of 1988 are expected to become new RDs in the days ahead.

Records will show that there are four members of PMA Class 1988 who are RDs at present: Brig. Gen. John Bulalacao of PRO7 in Western Visayas who will retire this coming June 27; ARMM police director, Brig. Gen. Graciano Mijares who will retire on December 19; PRO8 director in Eastern Visayas, Brig. Gen. Dionards Carlos, one of the youngest members of the Class who will retire on May 8, 2022; and PRO1 director in Ilocos-Pangasinan region, Brig. Gen. Bong Orduna who will retire on May 10, 2020.  

There are also the non-Peemayers who are being groomed to occupy new key PNP positions, I was told. One of them is Brig. Gen. Johnson Almazan of the PNP Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Visayas who is said to be slated to become the new SPD director in the event Ely Cruz of PMA ‘Bigkis Lahi’ Class of 1990 is designated as PSPG director.

Another official who is expected to spring a surprise is Colonel Ronnie Montejo, the no. 2 man of the Northern Police District. I was told that Montejo, a member of PNP Academy Class 1989 is being groomed to become the next Quezon City Police District director in the event QCPD director, Brig. Gen. Joyet Esquivel, also of PMA Class 1988 is given an RD position. Montejo is being pushed by the influential Iglesia ni Cristo for the top QCPD position, I was informed.

Another key PNP position which will be filled up by the PNP leadership is its Directorate for Operations headed by Major Gen. Ma-o Aplasca of PMA Class 1987 who will retire this coming August 22, meaning barely three months from now which is just a short 12 weeks of waiting for his would-be successor. The name of his mistah,  PRO9 director, Brig. Gen. Ringo Licup has been mentioned as the would-be successor of Aplasca.

As I have written this week, there are some officials who are saying why fix the house when it ain’t broke. When newly-proclaimed Sen. Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa was asked on whom he think are the three top logical choices to replace Gen. Albayalde when he retires from the post, he did not mince any words  in identifying them as PNP Deputy Chief for Operations, Lieutenant General Archie Gamboa; PNP Chief Directorial Staff, Lt. Gen. Camilo ‘Pikoy’ Cascolan; and last but not the least, National Capital Region Police Office director, Major General Gilor Eleazar.

Dela Rosa, Albayalde, Gamboa and Cascolan are all member of PMA’ Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 while Eleazar belongs to PMA Class 1987. Gen. Albayalde however will be retiring only this coming November 8. Gamboa will retire on September 2, 2020 while Cascolan will retire on November 10, 2020. Eleazar will retire November 13, 2021.

Gen. Albayalde admitted that the three are highly-qualified to replace him. Albayalde marked his 1st year as the country’s top cop last April 19 and is currently getting praised for his handling of the PNP’s security preparations which have made the last May 13 polls as one of the most peaceful and orderly in recent history.

All the officers I have mentioned have the solid credentials to make good on a much higher job if they will have the luck of getting the solid blessing of President Duterte. All of them are deserving although in the end, their solid track record, service reputation and hard work will serve them well, with or without any politicial backing, Mark my word.