The future of the country’s police force will depend on Interior Secretary Eduardo Año’s efforts to rid the Philippine National Police (PNP) of corruption, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
Duterte made this remark admitting that he has yet to appoint a PNP chief but only because he wanted Año to ensure that the police force is corrupt-free before he names its new head.
He earlier appointed Año to supervise the PNP while Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa remains as PNP officer-in-charge (OIC).
“I have given Secretary Año the blanket authority to get rid of corruption,” Duterte said in a media interview in Malacañang.
“And it is on his shoulder the future of how the police would behave in the coming years — na kay Año ‘yan (it’s Año’s responsibility),” he added.
At present, the President said it was enough for him for Año “to make the corrections.”
He expressed confidence that Año would be successful in cleansing the police force.
“And I think that with the remaining — remaining two years, if I can just fix a third of what’s bogging the PNP, and that is corruption,” he added.
Even if he appointed a new head, the President said he was sure that the new PNP chief would “not be able to solve the problem.”
“You know, historically — historically, the police, the PNP, has always been a problem for any administration,” Duterte said.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Año will manage the country’s police force for as long as the President thinks is necessary.
“‘Di ba sabi niya hanggang kailan niya gusto? (Didn’t he say that he wanted Año to supervise the PNP as long as he wanted him to?),” Panelo said in a January 2 Palace briefing.
Despite his delay in appointing a new PNP chief, the President assured that a new commander will definitely be named for the police force within his term.
“They should have a commander,” Duterte said.
However, he said he has not selected a new PNP chief “at this time.”
Contenders for the PNP chief post are Gamboa, Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, deputy chief for operations and Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, former Metro Manila police director and now head of the directorial staff.
Also considered were Central Visayas regional director, Brig. Gen. Valeriano de Leon and Calabarzon regional director, Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. (PNA)