Duterte looking for competent, honest, not corrupt PNP chief – Panelo
MANILA, Philippines — Amid the “ninja cops” scandal plaguing the Philippine National Police, President Rodrigo Duterte wants the next PNP chief to be competent, honest, and without any allegations of corruption or irregularities.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured Tuesday that the President is carefully scrutinizing the contenders for the plum post to ensure that he will select the most qualified man for the job.
“Competence, honest. Those are his usual qualifications. If you’re honest, then you’re not corrupt,” Panelo said in a press briefing.
Pressed if the next top cop should not be involved in the ninja cop controversy, he said: “If you’re honest, you don’t have any cases relative to any irregularity. If you’re competent, it means that you are good at your job.”
He added that “every organization” has men qualified for the job.
Panelo made the remarks following the President’s pronouncement last Sunday that he has to “consult everybody” and carefully vet contenders for the post.
Duterte said he has to be careful in choosing the next PNP chief. “The man might end up stumbling again and I am the one saddled with the problem,” he noted.
Panelo said he does not know if the President was referring to PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde, who has been accused of interfering in the dismissal of 13 policemen who were then his subordinates when he was Pampanga provincial police director.
Duterte has deferred acting on Albayalde’s fate, saying he will wait for the results of a probe by the Department of the Interior and Local Government. He also said that like any other accused, Albayalde deserves due process and the presumption of innocence.
Panelo cited news reports which claimed that there are four contenders for the post, but said he was unaware if there was any shortlist of candidates.
“Didn’t he say that he still has to vet it,” he said. “There were four being mentioned. But knowing the President, his style (is) that he always keeps it to himself.”
News reports claimed that among the top contenders were PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa and PNP chief directorial staff Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan.
They are both Albayalde’s mistahs in the Philippine Military Academy Sinagtala Class of 1986.
Another contender is National Capital Region Police Office director Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar of the PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.
Also being reportedly considered is Manila Police District chief Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. of the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991.
Asked if the President is likely to choose someone he personally knows, Panelo noted that there were instances in which Duterte appointed someone he did not know in the past.
“It depends. Sometimes the President appoints someone he doesn’t know. Like Albayalde, he didn’t know him personally. Or (education secretary Leonor) Briones or (former budget secretary Benjamin) Diokno, he didn’t know them,” he said.
He added: “Maybe he appoints on the basis of reputation preceding the appointee, if he has a good reputation.”
Asked on the likelihood of Duterte appointing someone from the Philippine National Police Academy, Panelo said: “I don’t know what his criteria are… as long as he is honest and competent.”
Meanwhile, the Palace official noted that the investigation on the ninja cops controversy has not yet been concluded even if Albayalde appealed to the public to “move on” from the scandal.
“What do you mean by move on, we will forget it? You have to ask him what he means by that. As far as Malacanang is concerned, there is an ongoing investigation as instructed by the President, and there are no recommendations yet,” Panelo said.
He also declined to speculate on Duterte’s remarks that the next PNP chief might end up “stumbling” and leaving him with a mess.
“We would be speculating on that, so you better ask him. It’s difficult to interpret what he said because it was not clear who he was referring to,” Panelo said, later adding: “I don’t interpret the President’s statements. I only explain what his statements refer to or is meant to be according to him, not according to me.” /kga
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