“THAT’s what we call Presidential Prerogative.”
Thus remarked a Philippine National Police general right after being told that President Duterte on Wednesday night had extended by at least three months the term of PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa who is supposed to retire this coming January 21, the day he reaches the mandatory police retirement age of 56.
Section 26 of Republic Act 6975 or An Act Establishing the Philippine National Police under a Reorganized Department of the Interior and Local Government states that “the Chief of the PNP shall serve a term of office not to exceed four (4) years; Provided, further, that in times of war or other national emergency declared by Congress, the President may extend such term of office.”
The law says that “the Chief of the PNP shall be appointed by the President from among the senior officers down to the rank of Chief Superintendent or a one-star police general.
President Duterte made it clear on Wednesday night when he said that as chief of the Executive Department who has jurisdiction over the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP, “I have that discretion to extend even beyond retirement age.” Last week, he also extended the term of Armed Forces chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero who has only two months left in the service.
“Ah, marami pa kasi akong gawin…I want to do some things in Mindanao of utmost importance and I need to extend the tour of duty of General dela Rosa to something like mga 2 to 3 months just to..it’s a mainly infrastructure and maybe the physical setting of the headquarters of the Armed Forces and the Police to sit the demands of the moment,” he said.
“May ililipat ako tapos may gagawin akong mga kampo na bago, but this time I am not prepared to spill out before the public,” he added.
President Duterte likewise made it clear that after his extended term is over, Gen. dela Rosa will go to the Bureau of Corrections. “Yeah, I said I will extend his tour of duty to something like 2 to 3 months. Once the projects are in place or operational or functional, then he goes to the BuCor. BuCor, mas malawak rin yan kasi marami tayong problema sa mga penal colonies and other places of the…not really detention but the prisoners convicted by final judgment and serving sentence,” he explained.
A member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986, Gen. dela Rosa said he is somewhat ‘pressured’ by the president’s decision but explained he is not the one who will back out from challenges specifically his main mission to lead the PNP’s campaign against drugs, criminality, corruption and terrorism.
“Hindi ako puwedeng mag-ayaw. Given the choice, ang sarap na retired ka na at wala nang ginagawa but I’m not running away from that responsibility. I cannot refuse the President,” he said.
The Journal Group earlier reported that unless Gen. dela Rosa’s term is extended by President Duterte, there will be a 22nd PNP chief come January 21.