THE race for the top post at the Philippine National Police (PNP) has become a tight contest between a powerful religious organization and the administration’s Liberal Party (LP), informed sources in Camp Crame disclosed on Thursday.
It turned out to be closely fought after the Office of the Ombudsman (OMB) issued a dismissal order against the resigned PNP chief, Director General Alan Purisima, and his heir apparent, former Central Luzon police director and Chief Supt. Raul Petrasanta.
An informed police official in Camp Crame–the national police headquarters in Quezon City–said the LP and the powerful Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) are backing their respective candidates for PNP chief, whose seat has been vacant since December last year.
The source said “a powerful official from Malacanang” is pushing for the operations chief of the PNP, Director Ricardo Marquez, a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1982, as the next possible head of the 150, 000-strong police organization.
According to him, the Liberal Party , which is led by President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, are pushing for the candidacy of Deputy Director General Danilo Constantino.
The source said Malacanang is now in a bind on who to choose between Marquez and Constantino as the Aquino administration needs the INC votes in next year’s elections for President and other top national officials.
”I think both of them [Marquez and Constantino] are expected to accomplish what the Palace wishes in the [2016 elections],” the source said.
He added that Chief Supt. Isagani Nerez (PMA Class of 1984) is said to figure prominently in the battle for the No. 1 PNP job, which is being held by Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina as officer-in-charge.
Currently regional director for the Cordillera Police Office, Nerez reportedly enjoys the support of the Masons, who count former PNP chiefs as among their members.
“Nerez is the darkhorse here… the Masons are strongly lobbying for his name to become the next chief of the PNP,” the source said.
Espina, a member of PMA Class of 1981, is said to be out of the race as this month he will turn 56, the mandatory retirement age for police personnel and those in the government service.
He has ruled out running in next year’s elections, saying he just wants to go home after his retirement from the police service on July 19.