LUCENA CITY, Quezon - President Aquino on Monday said he has asked Philippine National Police chief Nicanor Bartolome to consider retiring early, saying that Bartolome is “cognizant” of the need for a new PNP chief to take over and give him ample time to prepare for the elections.
In an interview, Aquino said the media should not give color to his proposal to Bartolome. The President earlier said he is eyeing the PNP chief to replace resigned Undersecretary Rico Puno at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
"Alam niyo binibigyan niyo ng kulay e. Si Director General Bartolome magre-retire March 2013, kung papayagan natin ‘yung normal course of attaining the [retirement] age of 56. Ang problema ‘non, March 2013 kasagsagan ng eleksyon tapos magpapalitan kayo ng hepe ng PNP na siyang dapat mangalaga ng orderly and peaceful elections," he told reporters.
“So March magre-retire, April binubuno ng bago ‘yung kanyang bagong assignment, May—first week ng May more or less—eleksyon. Mukhang ginagarantiya natin na magkakagulo-gulo ‘yung conduct ng peaceful elections kung hindi bibigyan ng supisyenteng panahon na talagang gumawa ng plano, maikasa ‘yung plano ‘nung susunod na papalit.
The President said even Bartolome understands the reasons why early retirement is wiser since retiring in the middle of campaign season could be disruptive.
"Cognizant siya na may isyu ngang ganoon, na kung matatapos ‘yung termino niya o ‘yung kanyang tour of duty lampas ng eleksyon, walang problema. Pero matatapos kainitan ‘nung eleksyon. Ngayon pa lang, ano, several months na ang tumatakbo, alam ninyo may kampanya tayo doon sa mga private armed groups. Marami nang napaaresto, merong mga nasawi, merong mga nakulong. At talagang hindi tayo titigil diyan para maniguradong tahimik at mapayapa nga itong eleksyon natin," he said.