Bato chooses PMA upperclassmen as PNP deputies
Incoming Philippine National Police commander Chief Supt. Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa has sought to ease fears he would favor members of his Philippine Military Academy “Sinagtala” Class of 1986 in choosing the PNP’s new officials.
In an interview at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame on Wednesday afternoon, De la Rosa denied he would place any of his “mistah” in the police hierarchy. In fact, he said: “My upperclassmen will be in the command group.”
De la Rosa said his command group would be composed mostly of officials from the PMA “Sandigan” class of 1982—the class of retired Director General Ricardo Marquez, whom De la Rosa replaced.
Among others, De la Rosa said he had asked incumbent chief of the PNP Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, Director Benjamin Magalong, to be his deputy chief for operations, the third man in the PNP chain of command. Magalong is set to retire in December.
De la Rosa said he was also eyeing Deputy Director General Francisco Uyami—the interim director general—to be his second man, as his deputy chief for administration. Uyami will retire in March next year.
De la Rosa also mentioned Chief Supt. Ramon Apolinario, of PMA Class of 1985, as his possible deputy chief of directorial staff.
Apolinario, a former Davao city police chief like De la Rosa, was one of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s reported choices as PNP chief. He is currently heading the Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) regional police.
De la Rosa’s appointment as the top PNP official came with some controversy, considering he would effectively be promoted from chief superintendent to director general, bypassing his upperclassmen, who are now senior officers in the PNP command group and directorial staff, and triggering fears of “demoralization.”
One of De la Rosa’s upperclassmen, outgoing Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) head, Director Victor Deona, also of the PMA Class of 1982, raised some questions in a speech at CIDG on Monday.
Deona is set to retire in December, but with the change in administration, has been removed from his current post, and is expected to be “in limbo” for the next months.
De la Rosa countered back on Wednesday: “Please tell him [Deona] that everything I will do will not be a game … We are dealing with lives of people. Why would I play around? I will only become the chief PNP once.”
“I am not here to make everyone happy. I’m sure with my decisions, there are those who will be happy, and those who will be saddened …. We have so many generals, but there are only few positions for generals,” De la Rosa said. “I will not allow myself to be dictated by other people.”
Marquez, in an interview with the media on Monday, named Magalong and Deona as two of his most “excellent” officials.
“You’re talking of a momentum, so hopefully our successors would see the things that we’ve done in the best light and hopefully they will continue to do the things that will help,” he said.
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