Año: I will supervise PNP until Duterte picks next chief

Robie de Guzman
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año on the sidelines of the 28th Bureau of Fire Protection Founding Anniversary and 118 Years of Fire Service at the Philippine International Convention Center on August 1, 2019. ACE MORANDANTE/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año has assured President Rodrigo Duterte that he will supervise the Philippine National Police (PNP) until the chief executive has chosen the next head of the country’s police force.

Año gave the assurance in response to Duterte’s order for him to lead and improve the PNP, which is currently being supervised by officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa.

“The President is still searching for a permanent Chief PNP and my job is to supervise the organization on his behalf as his alter ego, being the DILG Secretary and Chairman of NAPOLCOM. I will do my job until the President chooses the next Chief PNP,” he said in a statement issued on Monday.

The Interior Secretary also noted that Duterte is looking into the performance and conviction of the candidates for the position on various issues, particularly the government’s war against illegal drugs.

“I believe he has choices in his mind but he is closely watching the performance and conviction of of these candidates particularly on the fight against illegal drugs and professionalizing the PNP ranks,” he said.

The president earlier admitted he is taking his time in choosing the next PNP chief.

The post was vacated after former PNP chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde stepped down following allegations that he protected his men who were accused of being involved in the scheme of selling or recycling illegal drugs confiscated in a 2013 operation.

Año earlier recommended to the President three candidates for the PNP top post, namely Gamboa, PNP directorial staff chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar and PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan.

The PNP, for its part, said Año is in the “best position” to lead the police force, adding that he “already knows all about the PNP” as the concurrent chairman of the National Police Commission (Napolcom).

“As Chairman NAPOLCOM, Sec. Año is in the top hierarchy of the PNP Chain of Command, and is in the best position to cascade the strategic direction of the Commander-in-Chief upon the PNP,” PNP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said in a statement.

“Being the concurrent Chairman, NAPOLCOM himself, Sec Año already knows all about the PNP,” he added.

The PNP official also said they respect the president’s decision to designate Año in supervising the police force.

“The PNP under Officer-In-Charge,  PLTGEN Archie Francisco Gamboa fully respects and supports the decision of the President Rodrigo R Duterte designating the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, Honorable Eduardo Año lead and take over the administration and control of the PNP for the meantime,” he said.

“We will now await further guidance and instructions from Sec Año and we will give him our full support,” he added.

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