MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Panfilo Lacson wondered yesterday if Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome could say no to President Aquino, who has call for him to retire six months before schedule in March next year.
Lacson, a former police chief, said that it is the prerogative of the chief executive if he wants to remove a Cabinet member, an undersecretary or even a bureau chief as in the case of the outgoing PNP chief.
Responding to reports that Bartolome had refused to retire early and apparently turned down an offer to replace resigned Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno, Lacson said it’s the PNP chief’s call.
“It’s his call. But the basic question, can you say no to the President when you are a Cabinet member, an undersecretary, a bureau chief? But you’re a member of the executive branch, in the bureaucracy, can you say no to the president?” the senator added.
Lacson, however, questioned the propriety of Bartolome or any other member of the government to question the President’s authority.
“Probably, in a nice or polite way, you can say no but you must have your own valid reason for saying no. But normally and usually, nobody says no to the president under the executive branch,” Lacson said.
Lacson conceded, however, that the President and concerned government officials could discuss all matters.
He did not discount the possibility that Aquino would like incoming Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II to have a free hand in appointing new officials of the department.