BAGUIO CITY – The continuous failure of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III to appoint a permanent chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) is a dis-service to the Filipinos, especially on safety and security concerns, former Senator and rehabilitation czar Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson said here Friday.
Lacson, who was a former PNP chief, claimed the absence of a full-pledged PNP chief for a long period of time has placed the over 150,000-strong police force into low morale considering that most of important operational and administrative issues needing the approval of the PNP chief had been stagnating for over six months now.
After the resignation of embattled PNP chief Director-General Allan Purisima early this year, PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina also filed his resignation as temporary head of the country’s police force early this month leaving the highest position in the PNP vacant and a blatant vacuum of leadership.
“We are putting the PNP in a very fragile situation if no PNP chief will be appointed the soonest because all operational and administrative aspects of the organization will be temporary,” Lacson stressed.
Among the matters in the PNP that were put on hold were the promotions of commissioned and non-commissioned police officers holding the rank of Police Officer 1 up to Superintendent considering that the approval of such promotions is vested in the PNP chief.
Lacson explained it is difficult to leave the position of PNP chief vacant for a long period of time because the PNP chief is the alter ego of the President in terms of peacekeeping efforts, thus, the absence of a responsible official to take the lead might compromise the implementation of needed interventions to maintain law and order in the different parts of the archipelago.
According to him, almost all sensitive positions in the PNP hierarchy are all temporary in nature and that there are already numerous police officers whose promotions are overdue, thus, the President must take the said matter seriously before it will be too late for him to decide on who will occupy one of the most sensitive positions in government.
He cited police officers occupying temporary positions cannot render firm decisions on sensitive matters affecting the overall operations and administrative aspects of the organization that is why their efficiency and effectiveness in discharging their responsibilities and duties are obviously compromised.
Lacson cited the President must pressure his legal team to render a definite opinion on the legitimacy of appointing a permanent PNP chief even as experts argue that no PNP chief can be appointed considering that Purisima only resigned as the PNP chief that time and he never gave up his post as a 4star general and that under the rules, the PNP must only have one 4-star general in active duty.
The former PNP official said the President needs to come out with firm decisions in relation to the status of PNP officials who need to occupy sensitive positions so as not to compromise their efficiency and effectiveness in crafting short, medium and long-term solutions to the country’s peace and order problems that also affect the gains of his administration in terms of uplifting the country’s economic growth.
By Dexter A. See