Getting to know new PNP chief Maj. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr.
MANILA, Philippines — Police Major General Benjamin Acorda Jr. is the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), making him the second to lead the national police force under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Acorda, who traces his roots to La Union in the Ilocos region, took over from erstwhile PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. on Monday, April 24, and is expected to serve as the 29th head of the PNP until his retirement on December 3.
Prior to his recent appointment, Acorda – who belongs to the Philippine Military Academy “Sambisig” Class of 1991 – led the intelligence and counterintelligence efforts of the PNP.
Among the other positions he held were chief of staff of the Civil Security Group, deputy director for operations of the National Capital Region Police Office, and chief of the Northern Mindanao police.
Acorda in Northern Mindanao
Acorda was deputy regional director for administration of the Northern Mindanao police prior to being named as its regional director in November 2021.
In April 2022, he led a team in raiding the residence of an alleged leader of a gun-for-hire syndicate in Lanao del Norte.
The group, according to Acorda, was “responsible for some election-related violence recorded in the province in the past.”
Acorda was also the regional police director when a gun attack broke out while then-presidential aspirant and labor leader Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman, along with his partymates and supporters, were visiting a community of indigenous people in Bukidnon last year.
While Acorda had ordered the Bukidnon police to conduct an in-depth probe “that will give clarity to the incident,” he also said: “The reason for the presence of presidential candidate Leody de Guzman and his party in the area cannot be ascertained and there was no coordination made with the authorities by his group.”
This was disputed by de Guzman, who said authorities were well aware in advance about the conduct of their activity with community leaders.
There were also soldiers and police officers stationed near the area where the incident happened, de Guzman further noted.
Unfinished business for Acorda
As he assumes the top PNP post, Acorda inherits some controversies and unfinished business hounding the police force.
Acorda is left to tie the loose ends of a massive controversy on the alleged involvement of high-ranking PNP officials in covering up the 2022 arrest of a now-sacked police officer linked to a P6.7-billion shabu haul in Manila.
The issue seemingly sparked tensions between Acorda’s predecessor Azurin and Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., who were both vocal about their varying beliefs on the allegations.
Abalos said there was an attempt to cover up the irregularities in the seizure of the hefty volume of drugs, but Azurin believes otherwise.
As PNP chief, Acorda will also sit as ex-officio commissioner of the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
Napolcom, which Abalos chairs, will soon begin the final layer of evaluation of PNP generals and colonels who had tendered their courtesy resignations as part of the government’s bid to cleanse the police ranks of ties to illegal drugs.
Last week, the Azurin-led five-man advisory body completed the initial report on the 953 top-ranking police officers and will “formally endorse” it to Napolcom.
Napolcom may amend the report before elevating it to President Marcos for the final decision. — with reports from Faith Argosino
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