Bartolome in ‘barong’: Prelude to taking over Puno’s DILG post?By Frances Mangosing
MANILA, Philippines—Has he applied for retirement from the police service or was he priming himself up for the job that has been vacated by Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno?
Speculations flew thick and fast as Philippine National Police chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome came in civilian barong and not in the usual police uniform to an awarding ceremony at the Tejeros Hall of the AFP Commissioners Club in Camp Aguinaldo Wednesday.
Bartolome is said to be the choice of President Aquino to replace Puno, who resigned last Tuesday in the wake of his controversial attempt to enter the condominium unit of the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo in Quezon City, presumably to secure documents. There have been speculations that Puno tried to obtain some documents that might link him to irregularities.
The police chief dropped by the Bakas Parangal awards recognizing the unsung heroes in past calamities and disasters before attending the Civil Service Commission (CSC) anniversary held at the Main Restaurant located downstairs.
As reporters accosted Bartolome in an ambush interview and asked him why he was not wearing his police uniform, he just said, “I am wearing the same attire of General Cacdac, referring to PNP deputy chief for administration Deputy Director General Arturo Cacdac, who retired from service last week. Cacdac was an awardee at the CSC event.
Saying that he remained the chief of the PNP, Bartolome said that he was in barong because he was tasked to read the award citation for Cacdac. “Do not put any meaning to this. It’s just that we need to wear this attire this afternoon,” he told reporters after the event.
“Matagal pa ang retirement ko (My retirement is still far off),” he added. Cacdac is due to retire in March next year.
Bartolome also declined to comment when asked if he would accept if offered the undersecretary post of the DILG.
Bartolome must first retire from the police service before he can be appointed to the DILG post.
Bartolome was reported to likely replace Puno.
A coordinator from the event hosted by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at the awards ceremony said Bartolome had been invited in his capacity as PNP Chief.
Prescribed attire for the guests were bush coat for the military, service blouse for police and formal barong for civilians.
Originally posted at 5:07 p.m.