MANILA, Philippines – Deputy Director General Alan Purisima will not yet be able to get his fourth star, the highest rank in the Philippine National Police (PNP), if ever he takes over as PNP Chief from Director General Nicanor Bartolome, Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday.
“It is clear in the law that there is only one 4-star in the PNP, just like in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). So whoever is appointed as the new Chief PNP, he can be appointed while still being a 3-star rank,” Lacson told reporters Wednesday.
President Benigno Aquino III recently said that Bartolome would likely be placed under a “non-duty” status ahead of his retirement on his 56th birthday on March 2013 to allow for a smoother transition and better security preparations in the upcoming midterm elections in May.
“While on non-duty status, he will retain his 4-star rank but he will not be doing anything. He will just wait for his retirement date,” Lacson said.
Only after [Bartolome’s] retirement can the 4-star rank be awarded to whoever will replace him. “In this case apparently it’s Purisima,” he added.
“But in the meantime [Bartolome] is still in the service as an active 4-star general, [Purisima] will not get his 4th star. That is the implication,” Lacson said.
“But for all intents and purposes, if Purisima is appointed he will be the chief PNP,” he added.
When asked why it appears that Aquino was in a hurry to get Bartolome out, Lacson replied that Aquino was just ensuring there would not be a vacuum in the position brought by the appointment ban in the coming elections.
“[Aquino] saw the prohibition of appointment once the election period begins. There might be a vacuum [with the retirement of Bartolome.] So Aquino is just preparing the PNP so there will be a unity of command,” Lacson said.