Marquez outshines other bets

    MARKED MAN  PNP chief-designate Director Ricardo Marquez fields questions from the media as outgoing chief, Leonardo Espina beams in the background. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

    PNP chief-designate Director Ricardo Marquez fields questions from the media as outgoing chief, Leonardo Espina beams in the background. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

    Just like many of his predecessors, Director Ricardo Marquez vows to send out more policemen to the streets to curb criminality.

    “I like to see more police officers on the streets. I will push people from the national, regional, provincial headquarters to go out of their police stations,” Marquez said on Tuesday after the announcement of his appointment as the new director-general of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

    “I want to see officers on the streets [for them to address the issue of]criminality,” he added.

    Malacañang also on Tuesday described Marquez, who hails from Cavite, as the official with the “highest qualifications” to hold the top PNP post.

    Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said President Benigno Aquino 3rd based his decision on the performance of all senior officers who were considered for the position.

    Marquez, who carries a two-star rank, is at present the director for operations of the 150,000-strong national police service.

    His appointment bypassed two higher-ranked officers, Deputy Directors-General Danilo Constantino and Marcelo Garbo.

    Another candidate for the post was Director Benjamin Magalong, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, who early this year hogged the headlines for leading the investigation of the infamous Mamasapano incident.

    Iglesia vs Liberal
    A source of The Manila Times said about a week ago that the race for the top PNP job was narrowed down to Marquez and his Philippine Military Academy (PMA) classmate, Constantino, with the former reportedly having the support of a “powerful Malacañang official” who has “strong links” to the politically influential Iglesia ni Cristo (INC or Church of Christ).

    A People’s Journal report on July 2 said Marquez was bothered by reports claiming that dismissed PNP chief Alan Purisima and former Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno were allegedly trying to endorse him as the next PNP chief.

    The same report quoting “highly-reliable sources” added that Purisima and Puno were the ones who blocked Marquez’s appointment as chief of Police Regional Office 1 in January 2013.

    Constantino, meanwhile, was reportedly backed by the Liberal Party.

    He replaced Garbo as Central Visayas police chief in 2013 after the latter was designated chief of the National capital Region Police Office as his “reward” for successfully implementing the suspension of then-Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

    Garbo was last year rumored to be being groomed to replace Purisima, his PMA “bunk-mate.”

    Pope’s security chief
    The People’s Journal’s July 2 report quoted Marquez as saying, “I will go where God leads me. He already has done so many good things for me.”

    A member of the PMA Sandigan Class of 1982, he had served as regional police director of Ilocos and provincial director of Nueva Ecija.

    Marquez also had stints at the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management and Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force.

    His most recent high-profile assignment was when he took charge as overall police commander of a task force that secured the January visit of Pope Francis as well as the 14 pre-summit meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation that were held at five locations across the country with “zero incident.”

    “We should make sure that crimes are properly investigated to prevent them from happening again and track down and take down most wanted criminals,” Marquez told reporters at Camp Crame in Quezon City after his appointment was announced by Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd.

    Marquez will take command of the PNP on Thursday when Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina steps down after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

    Espina, who was designated OIC after Director-General Alan Purisima was suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman in December, said the PNP “is in good hands” with Marquez taking the helm.

    “If I can only describe Ric [Marquez’s nickname] in one word, it would be [very industrious]. His competence has been proven, he is responsible in planning activities, successful events like the papal visit. The PNP is in good hands,” he said.

    Marquez said he only learned about his appointment on Monday.

    “Yesterday, I was brought by the good Secretary [Roxas] to Malacañang for a final meeting with the President,” he added.

    With JOEL M. SY EGCO


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