FORTY days from now, the whole country will watch as Philippine National Police chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa turns over the reins of the PNP to his heir apparent, very worthy successor and upperclassman from Philippine Military Academy, Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, also known as ‘Apol’ to his mistahs, friends and peers.
I would say that despite the endless brickbats from his critics including some members of the press who sees nothing good about him and would even make some absurd claims about him and his family––his PNPA cadet-son included, The Rock from PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 would hang his uniform while being adored by countless Filipinos thanking him for seeing to it that drugs, crime and corruption will be wiped out during his more than 18-months term.
I think that many would agree with me that despite the challenges and major controversies that rocked the 175,000-strong police force since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016, Dela Rosa saw to it that the PNP will remain strong and committed in keeping its mandate despite the presence of scoundrels, specifically cops involved in drug trafficking and abuse, kidnappings, murder, ‘hulidap’ and ‘bangketa’ operations that scandalized the organization.
Believe me when I say that despite the scandals that have hounded the police force, dela Rosa, as the 21st PNP chief maintained his ‘rock star’ status here and abroad that sometimes, presence of hundreds of people lining up just to have a ‘selfie’ or have a group or family picture with him poses a security threat and oftentimes delays his arrival to other engagements.
Just like the President, Dela Rosa meant what he says. He may be some sort of ‘contravida’ to some policemen and critics but again I would say that one reason I like ‘Bato’ is that he literally stopped politicians from dipping their hands into the affairs of the PNP particularly in selecting regional and provincial directors as well as police chiefs. As a proof: just make a research on how many governors and mayors have scored the PNP for failing to designate their own choice of PDs or COPs since July 2016.
Under him, the PNP literally absorbed the beating as it launched a deadly war on drugs but that is expected in this highly-politicized country. Where were these critics when dozens of suspected drug dealers, robbers and other criminals were being dumped in the streets of Metro Manila and other parts of the country almost daily during the previous administrations? Did they raise any howl of protest against so-called ‘EJKs’ then?
I would also say that since the start of Bato’s leadership, no procurement or financial scandals have hit the police force and let’s credit it to the massive transformation on administration and operations being carried out by the PNP in line with its Performance Governance System which right now is being supervised by Gen. Apolinario, the PMA ‘Sandiwa’ Class of 1985 member who is currently the chairman of the Technical Working Group on the ambitious PNP P.A.T.R.O.L. Plan 2030.
As I have been telling again and again, the next PNP chief would be crucial to the Duterte administration’s ongoing campaign against crime and corruption as well as effort to keep the forthcoming 2019 mid-term elections as honest and as peaceful as possible.
Many consider the position of the Chief,PNP as a ‘very influential job’ next only to the Philippine president since the Chief, PNP, whoever he is wields tremendous power in the country. However, many police generals active and retired have been telling me beforehand that several considerations have to be made in the selection, foremost of which is the retirement age of the candidate and the President’s trust and confidence in him.
One retired PNP chief told me that the appointment of the next PNP Chief needs to be thoroughly examined, firstly so as not to place President Duterte in a bad light, and secondly, so as not to jeopardize the institution. He made the remarks while saying that in its 17 years existence, it has been a wide belief that the PNP Chief ‘wields vast authority that he is considered the second most powerful person, next only to the President of the Republic.’
“He (PNP Chief) is considered even more powerful than the Armed Forces Chief of Staff because he is involved in the day-to-day affairs of the State,” the general said. Officials said merit particularly track record, fitness-physically, mentally and morally and loyalty are the three most important criteria in the selection process.
Service reputation will also play a major factor in the selection as it involves perception by both the internal and the external audience on the capability of the PNP Chief to carry out his mission. “Good reputation gains the trust and confidence of the people and motivates subordinates to do their job well,” the retired national police chief said.
He added that outstanding contribution or contributions by the Chief PNP-aspirant to the peace and order agenda of the past and present administration must also be considered. However, nobody can question the President’s prerogative and the PNP is expected to fully support whoever he will appoint as Chief, PNP.
President Duterte is expected to trust the generals who have served previously under him in Davao City when he was still its mayor. It’s the very same reason why he has chosen as PNP and AFP chiefs those who were previously assigned in Davao City, two of them Generals dela Rosa and Apolinario. My sources told me that Gen. Apolinario has been handpicked by the President as Gen. Dela Rosa’s successor. However, the firebrand president hinted that a ‘guwapo’ would be next to Apolinario.