FORMER senator Panfilo Lacson sees no logic in a statement of Malacañang that the reason why President Benigno Aquino 3rd has not yet appointed a new Philippine National Police chief is that former PNP head Alan Purisima still has not left the service.
According to Lacson, there is no legal provision that prevents the President from appointing a permanent PNP chief just because Purisima, a four-star general, has not retired from the service.
Also a former PNP chief, he was referring to the earlier Palace statement that the legal team of the Aquino is studying legalities surrounding the appointment of a new police chief since Purisima is still with the police.
Malacañang reportedly wants to find out if it can appoint a new PNP chief even if there is still a police officer with four-star rank in the service.
“That is one thing that the President wants to be studied, the legalities of the appointment because based on the law, there can only be one four-star [general]at the PNP,” Interior and Local government Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd also earlier said.
But Lacson said rank and position are two different matters, adding that rank is a mere consequence of the position and the position should not depend on the rank.
According to him, there were appointments in the past wherein the new PNP chief had to wait for the four-star police official to retire from the service for him to get the rank.
But, Lacson said, even without four-star rank himself, he was able to perform his duty as the chief of the national police.
He cited the case of then-PNP chief General Santiago Alino in 1998 who was replaced by General Roberto Lastimoso even before he retired from the service.
Alino was able to keep his four-star rank but it was Lastimoso who was the head of the PNP.
Lacson said, when he was appointed PNP chief by then-President Joseph Estrada, he was a two-star general and was appointed to three-star a month after and he waited until he got his fourth star.
“So I can’t understand the position of Malacañang that they can’t appoint a new chief yet because General Purisima is still in the service,” he added.
Lacson pointed out that the fact the President can appoint a PNP chief with the rank of chief superintendent and higher is indication that the head of the PNP need not be a four-star general.
He also noted that acting PNP chief Leonardo Espina has limited authority and cannot act on promotion of other police officers in the lower ranks.
It is the authority of the PNP chief to approve the promotion of Police Officers 1 (PO1) up to superintendent and since Espina, being an acting PNP chief cannot do it, their promotions remains on hold.
There are also some PNP provincial police chiefs who are still in acting capacity because Espina lacks the authority to permanently appoint them.