PRO 7 Regional Director Brig. Gen. Valeriano De Leon (photo courtesy from Val T. De Leon FB page)

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CEBU CITY, Philippines- Central Visayas Police Regional Director Valeriano De Leon is pitching for a “healing PNP Chief.” Among those being considered for the top cop post, De Leon said such an attribute is important to restore the confidence of the people to its police force.

“To me, it doesnt matter if who takes the lead. What matters most is who can restore the affected image of the PNP. There are disappointments from the community that’s why we, who are very loyal to the institution hindi na kailangan kung sino.

Ang kailangan ma-i-restore, kailangan natin ang healing leader, kailangan natin na maibalik ang tiwala ng mga mamamayan,” De Leon told the local press today November 4, 2019, when asked for his reaction as among those being considered by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to be the next PNP chief. Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Ano said that although he submitted a short list to the President, the Chief Executive could actually choose from those who are ranked as police Brigadier Generals.

“President Duterte can choose anybody from one star (Brigadier General) to three star (Lieutenant General),” Ano said in Manila. De Leon’s name surfaced as among those being considered by Pres. Duterte owing to his familiarity of how the President works as he was once assigned in Davao City when Duterte was still the city Mayor.

Choosing the next PNP chief has been reportedly difficult to the President as outgoing PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde has been linked to the so-called “ninja cops” that had cast doubt on the public on the credibility of the police organization.

Ninja cops are those anti-drug policemen who would recycle drugs where Albayalde was pinpointed during his stint as Pampanga police director in 2013. According to De Leon, being the PNP chief is not his top of mind but his task as Central Visayas police director but he would also welcome the challenge if President Duterte so decides.

“Let’s leave it that way bahala na sila. Judgement day is nearing, I am just focusing my energies serving the Central Visayas ito yung binigay sa akin na task, I’ll just focus there. I’ll just focus here pag later on mag decide siya, whoever will be the, mag-cooperate tayo. We ask the same if friends, colleagues, contemporaries, sino, ako, we just need cooperation para matupad na din yung, mabalik yung (affected) image natin.

“Aside from his rapport with Pres. Duterte, De Leon is himself familiar to Presidential daughter Sara Duterte, the incumbent Davao City Mayor who handpicked De Leon to lead a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) that solved the Davao City night market bombing in 2016. An elder brother retired Maj. Gen. Benito De Leon was also summoned by Sara to forego his retirement when he appointed Benito to head the Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) which has restored normalcy in Davao City after the night market blast that claimed 14 lives and injured several others.

Benito was finally allowed to retire in September this year by the Davao City Mayor. Aside from the PRO7 chief, another contender who is considered to be the “dark horse” is De Leon’s predecessor, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas who has been promoted as the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) regional police director.

Three has been in the short list of Sec. Ano, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, the PNP OIC; newly appointed PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan and Maj. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, The Chief Directorial Staff (TCDS).

Another contender is Brig. Gen. Vicente Danao, also former Davao City Police Director who is now the Calabarzon regional police chief. Of the contenders, Gamboa along with Cascolan are the seniors being classmates of Albayalde in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) 1986 Sinagtala class while Eleazar and Sinas belong to the PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.

De Leon belongs to the PMA Makatao Class of 1989 while Danao is a member of the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991. Sinas has been largely credited for the seizure of P2.3 billion methamphetamine hydrochloride locally known as “shabu” during his stint in the Central Visayas region. Albayalde who opted to have non-duty status after the ninja cops controversy surfaced will have his compulsory retirement on Nov. 08. /AAJ

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