Puno tells Dolina to stay put in Bulacan; reminds local execs on rule on PNP assignments
Quezon City (2 September) -- Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno yesterday told Senior Supt. Asher Dolina to "stay put" as provincial director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bulacan pending the resolution of the legal action taken by local executives to have him replaced by his predecessor at the helm of the PNP in the province.
At the same time, Puno also reminded local chief executives to abide by the provisions of the law and the rules formulated by the National Police Commission (Napolcom) on PNP assignments to key provincial and district positions, as he pointed out that they have no absolute power over such appointments in their respective constituencies.
Puno likewise asked these local executives to clarify their alleged "withdrawal of support" from the police leadership in Bulacan because they would be liable for "dereliction of duty" should such an action in their resolution mean that they were withdrawing support from the peace and order programs of the PNP in the province.
In a press briefing in Camp Crame, Puno said that under Republic Act Nos. 6975 and 8551 and the rules formulated by the Napolcom, local chief executives do not have the absolute right to name the police officials they want assigned as PNP provincial or district directors in their respective areas, because they are merely given a list of three to five choices each—depending on the positions—from which they are supposed to pick their preferred police officers.
As stated in several Napolcom resolutions adopted in accordance with RA 6975 and RA 8551, the assignment of police officials requires the PNP to submit to the Commission the names of three qualified officers recommended for assignment as provincial directors and five recommendees for highly urbanized cities.
The Napolcom, in turn, reviews the list before submitting it to the local chief executive concerned.
In the case of municipalities and component cities, the Napolcom requires a list of five eligible officers that should be submitted by the PNP for review and approval by Napolcom.
If the local officials reject the lists of recommendees, the Napolcom will have to submit new lists from which the local executives are to select their preferred officers, Puno said.
He said that if the follow-up lists are rejected anew by local officials, then the PNP is empowered under the law to exercise its prerogative to appoint the officers in these areas without the prior approval of the local executives who had rejected the two previous lists of choices.
Puno made it clear that the clamor of local officials in Bulacan led by Gov. Joselito Mendoza for the return of Senior Supt. Jesus Gatchalian as police director of the province "will absolutely not happen."
"We want to make the principles very clear here not just for Bulacan but for other provinces as well. The era of private armies is over," Puno said. "Our PNP officers are the partners of our local chief executives in maintaining peace and order; they are not their errand boys."
Puno also pointed out that the petition for mandamus filed by Bulacan officials before the Bulacan Regional Trial Court in a bid to have Dolina relieved from his post and replaced by Gatchalian would only delay the resolution of the issue concerning the appointment of a permanent police director in Bulacan.
"Senior Supt. Dolina will stay put until all legal issues are resolved on this matter," said Puno in adding that the law was clear on this matter with regard to the appointment of key provincial police officials.
He noted that Dolina was merely designated as officer-in-charge of the PNP provincial office in Bulacan, so that the list of recommendees for the post of police director in the province has yet to be submitted by the Napolcom to Gov. Mendoza.
Puno lamented, however, that instead of waiting for the final list of recommendees to be submitted by the PNP, Bulacan's local officials have instead resorted to "informal measures" to ensure that Gatchalian would get back his old post as Bulacan provincial director, to the extent of issuing a resolution withdrawing their support for Dolina.
Gatchalian's return as Bulacan's police chief will never happen, he said, because it is never the PNP policy to return provincial police chiefs to their previous assignments.
The DILG chief warned Bulacan's local executives who signed the resolution that they could be held liable for dereliction of duty if such withdrawal of support means jeopardizing the peace and order efforts of the PNP in Bulacan.
As for the claims by certain officials that the crime rate rose in the province since Dolina took over, Puno said the PNP or the Napolcom, where he sits as chairman, has yet to receive any formal complaint about Dolina's performance as police director of Bulacan.
"But we do know that on his watch, Dolina was able to dismantle a big shabu laboratory in Bulacan, capture several ranking members of the New People's Army, and intercept loads of recycled meat, among his many accomplishments as OIC police director of the province," Puno said.
If Bulacan's local executives have any complaint against Dolina, Puno said the proper thing for them to have done was to bring it up with him or with the PNP leadership instead of holding a press conference to demand Dolina's ouster and taking legal steps to compel PNP chief Director General Oscar Calderon to replace him. (PIA) [top]