Bato kept indefinitely as PNP chief
While Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa’s term extension is for an indefinite period, he expressed doubt it would be for the duration of President Duterte’s tenure.
“There’s no forever,” Dela Rosa said. “This is not forever,” he said of his term extension during an ambush interview with reporters in the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame.
He did say that it was possible he could exceed the one-year term extension limit as PNP chief if there was a state of national emergency.
According to the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, the chief of the PNP is not to serve for over four years but the President may extend his term in times of war or a national emergency declared by Congress.
Mandatory retirement age
Dela Rosa was supposed to have retired on Jan. 21 when he turned 56, the mandatory age of retirement for police officers, but was given a term extension until April 24, which Mr. Duterte nullified with his latest order.
Dela Rosa recounted that when he met with Mr. Duterte in Malacañang on Wednesday the President had told him, “Bato you are extended for the meantime because we still have many problems at the PNP.”
He said that he never asked until when his term as PNP chief was extended because “that’s self-serving and I know the President. It’s a turnoff for him if you asked him that.”
Dela Rosa recalled that he told the President “yes sir. As long as you want me, I am willing to help you.” He said he later found out from Mr. Duterte’s staff that the term extension was for an indefinite period.
The PNP chief insisted that he cannot refuse should Mr. Duterte keep him in the PNP until he steps down as President in 2022.
“I cannot refuse him but I will also give him my piece of advice that there are other promising officers who can replace me who are even better than me given the chance,” Dela Rosa said.
“I will also say my piece but in the meantime I will follow his order because I want him to feel comfortable in his work,” Dela Rosa said.
“If he feels comfortable with me around him then, with all my heart, I am going to be with him and help him do the reforms he wants to institute,” he said.
While he maintained that he does not want to plunge into politics “nothing is definite yet because politics is not his priority for me. Instead it is how I can help him in what he is doing.”
Mr. Duterte, he said, wants him to focus on cleansing the ranks of the PNP.
“He knows how big a problem police discipline is which is why he wants focus on internal cleansing and illegal drugs,” Dela Rosa said.
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