MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang has not ruled out asking Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome to retire early to allow his successor enough time to prepare for the conduct of the 2013 elections.
There is no word yet if Bartolome would indeed be replacing retired Interior and Local Government Secretary Rico Puno.
"The idea here is you've got a midterm election coming up in May. He (Bartolome) retires in March. So there's a difficulty for the new PNP Director General to come and take over especially when it's already in the midst of the campaign,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told reporters, echoing an earlier statement of the President.
“You have to make sure that the regional [police offices], especially [in] those areas which we have already identified as hotspots, maintain peace and order in those regions,” he said.
Bartolome is set to retire in March 2013. If he will finish his term, Aquino will not be able to appoint a permanent PNP chief given the 90-day election ban on appointments.
"We need the new PNP Director [General] to gain earlier experience in seeing the whole picture come election time," Lacierda added.
Asked if Bartolome decides not to retire early, Lacierda said, "We'll leave it with the President and [Director] General Bartolome to discuss that. I have no details of that. And remember, General Bartolome said, 'I serve at the pleasure of the President.'"