Duterte mulls taking over PNP if he can’t decide on new chief

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 28) — President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday he would have to resort to taking over the leadership of the Philippine National Police (PNP) if he cannot decide on a new chief.

Duterte said he is still having trouble choosing who will sit at the helm of the agency. Its top position was left open after PDGen Oscar Albayalde relinquished his post. He was accused during a Senate investigation of blocking the dismissal of 13 policemen involved in an irregular drug raid in Pampanga during his stint as provincial police chief in 2013. Albayalde has professed innocence.

The President said he is making sure the next chief has no history of corruption.

“If they have even a single case of corruption, I would rather not appoint anybody for that matter. Ako na ang hahawak [I will lead them],” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang.

That means taking the lead in the “direction and guidance” of the force, he said.

“But that is in the event that I could not find somebody I could trust,” Duterte added.

There are three candidates currently being eyed for the promotion — Officer-in-Charge PLTGen Archie Gamboa, chief of Directorial Staff PMGen Guillermo Eleazar and Deputy Chief for Operations PLtGen Camilo Pancratius Cascolan. Gamboa currently heads the PNP while they await Duterte’s appointment.

The President earlier said he has already received the list of endorsements but he is still taking time with his decision.

He said he is being careful because anyone can be involved in the illegal drug trade. In September, the police was placed under Senate scrutiny after a former PNP official revealed irregularities in the conduct of drug raids, saying some officers often pocket stashes of drugs and accept bribes in exchange for the freedom of certain drug lords.

“Unless I think that I see the very best guy there, you show me, you tell me, kayong mga pulis [you policemen] who [is] the best [who] could handle the command... Just give me an honest man,” Duterte urged.