Who’s in charge at PNP?
Today until Dec. 9, when Philippine National Police Director General Alan Purisima returns from his official visit in Saudi Arabia, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina takes over as officer in charge (OIC) of the 150,000-strong PNP.
PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said Espina, deputy chief for operations, was designated OIC on Friday by Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, executive officer of the Directorate for Personnel and Records Management, as the police force gave retirement honors to Director General Felipe Rojas Jr., the PNP’s second in command and outgoing deputy chief for administration.
Rojas was originally named OIC from Dec. 3 to 9.
However, it remains unclear who will take over as PNP OIC once Purisima starts serving the six-month preventive suspension meted out to him by the Ombudsman on Thursday for an allegedly anomalous contract between the police and a courier service over the delivery of gun licenses.
Eleven other PNP officials, including three generals, were also ordered suspended.
Senior Supt. Robert Po, PNP deputy spokesperson, said the official appointment of an OIC will come from Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
Under normal circumstances, the second in command is usually named OIC, “but since the PNP chief is a sensitive position, it’s the Interior secretary who will decide,” Po said in a press briefing on Friday.
The official said the Interior Secretary has five days to implement the suspension order. “If the order is for the PNP chief and he is not yet here, it cannot be served,” Po said.
Purisima is set to return over the weekend but will report for work next week.
The Ombudsman also suspended Police Director Gil Meneses, Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta, Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles, Senior Supt. Allan Parreno, Senior Supt. Eduardo Acierto, Senior Supt. Melchor Reyes, Supt. Lenbell Fabia, Chief Insp. Sonia Calixto, Chief Insp. Nelson Bautista, Chief Insp. Ricardo Zapata, and Senior Insp. Ford Tuazon.
Purisima is facing a number of controversies, including the questionable contract with the courier service for the delivery of gun licenses and his acceptance of P12 million in donations for the construction of his official quarters dubbed the White House in Camp Crame.
The PNP chief is also under fire for his extensive property in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija, the huge discount he received from a car dealer for a sport utility vehicle and for accepting a bullet-proof SUV loaned to him.
Under Republic Act No. 6975 or the law establishing the PNP under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), any police official with star rank, meaning from a chief superintendent up, is qualified to be appointed PNP chief.
Po explained that once an OIC is appointed, he or she will carry out the tasks of a PNP chief, minus the powers to appoint, designate and reassign personnel, that only an acting PNP chief can do.
“What is lacking for an official in an acting capacity is the affirmation of rank,” Po said. An OIC’s powers are limited and temporary, and he will possibly serve for six months, he added.
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