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Duterte mulls taking over top PNP post

President Duterte may consider taking over the Philippine National Police himself if he could not find an “honest” man to lead the 191,000-strong police force.

The President said he was still looking for the best candidate to name as PNP chief, stressing that he would not name a police official who has even a single case of corruption.

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“If you have even a single case of corruption, you’re out. I would rather not appoint anybody for that matter. I will be the one to handle it,” he told reporters in an interview in Malacañang on Thursday.

Will give guidance

“I only need to give guidance and direction,” Duterte said.

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Asked how he will decide if he needs to lead the PNP himself, the President said: “If you’re talking of arrival, that could be a long journey. That may take a while. But that is in the event I could not find somebody I can trust.”

Mr. Duterte made the remarks more than a month after the resignation of ex-PNP chief Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde at the height of the “ninja cops” scandal, leaving the post of the national police body head vacant.

Albayalde quit his post ahead of his scheduled retirement amid allegations that his former subordinates were involved in a 2013 drug recycling controversy in Pampanga.

The PNP is presently being run by Police Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa in an officer in charge capacity.

Possible contenders

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has recommended Gamboa, deputy chief for operations Police Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, and chief of the directorial staff Police Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar as possible contenders for the position.

Other names earlier floated for the post include Central Visayas regional director Police Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon and Calabarzon regional director Police Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr.

The President said he had not yet selected a new PNP chief because the contenders were undergoing very thorough background checks.

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“There are so many things that the police have to improve on. Unless I think that I see the very best guy there. You show me, you tell me, who is the best to handle the command,” Mr. Duterte said.

‘Give me an honest man’

“Just give me an honest man, period,” he said.

The PNP on Friday welcomed the impending takeover by President Duterte of the country’s police force, even as it played down insinuations that the Chief Executive has lost trust in its current leadership.

Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said the PNP was ready to abide by the President’s exercise of his prerogative to lead the organization as its “Commander in Chief.”

“We do not see any problem with that setup [with Mr. Duterte as chief],” he said.

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