PNP chief Bartolome okay with 'non-duty status'

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome doesn’t mind being relegated to “non-duty status” so that President Benigno Aquino III could appoint his successor at an earlier time.

“The latest I am hearing is that the president might ask me to consider an early retirement or non-duty status, so I am open to the idea, I am open to it. Whatever the president desires I will follow,” Bartolome told reporters at a press briefing in Camp Crame Wednesday.

Bartolome will bow out of service on March 16 next year upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 for policemen, but Aquino had said that he wants the leadership transition to take place at an earlier time, noting the date’s proximity to the elections in May.

Aquino said he doesn’t want the PNP to be changing its leadership at the height of security preparations for the elections.

On Wednesday, Bartolome noted that he has been “very consistent” in saying that he serves “at the pleasure” of Aquino, even if it means giving up his post. “I have been very consistent with my answers to queries that I serve at the pleasure of the president,” he said. “I should not be the worry of the commander-in-chief, I should not be the problem.” Bartolome said he is ready to discuss the issue with Aquino, who plans to meet with him late November or early December. “Discuss pa namin ni president,” Bartolome said. "Sabi ni president he will discuss it with me. Basta mahalaga ay kung kailangan ito, bakit 'di ko gagawin?”

Bartolome said it would not be the first time that a PNP officer will be placed on non-duty status. Without mentioning names, he said a number of police generals had opted to go under non-duty status to give way for younger officers.

— Gian C. Geronimo/KBK, GMA News

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