THERE will be no more holding back for Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa whose tour of duty will be extended until April 21.
“Ibigay ko na, ibuhos ko na lahat. Wala ng reserba to,” the PNP chief said as he disclosed that although he is yet to have a hard copy of President Duterte’s order extending his term up to April 21, he has been informed about the extension.
His main priority during his 3-months’ extended term: go all-out against illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
“Gusto ko maramdaman ng lahat ang dent sa drug trafficking. Sa next three months, marami pang mahuhuli, mas marami pa ang makukulong,” the PNP chief said.
Dela Rosa is supposed to retire at the age of 56 this coming January 21 but President Duterte exercised his presidential prerogative and extended his term.
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 that clear last month 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.’”
He had also service last December extended the term of Armed Forces chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero who has only two months left in the service.
President Duterte likewise made it clear that after his extended term is over, Gen. dela Rosa will go to the Bureau of Corrections.
A member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986, Gen. Dela Rosa earlier said he is somewhat “pressured” by the President’s decision but is not one to shirk 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.
However, Section 25 of RA 6975 also says that “in no case shall any officer who has retired or is retirable within six (6) months from his compulsory retirement age be appointed as Chief of the PNP,” it says.
That big question has been raised since Gen. Dela Rosa’s supposed heir apparent, PNP Deputy Chief for Administration, Deputy Director General Ramon C. Apolinario of PMA ‘Sandiwa’ Class of 1985 will be retiring this coming August 31.
If Gen. Dela Rosa’s term will be extended by three months --April 21 to be exact -- Gen. Apolinario would have only four months left in the service unless he is given an extension too by the President.
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.
Early last December, highly-placed sources said that the President had hinted that Gen. Apolinario will be the incoming PNP chief. He made the statement during a command conference at the Palace with Gen. Dela Rosa on an official travel in the United States.