VIENTIANE, Lao People’s Democratic Republic - President Aquino wants Philippine National Police Chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome to assume a “non duty status” by the end of November or December to effectively allow the incoming police leadership to oversee preparations in securing the May 2013 elections.
Bartolome is scheduled to retire in March 16 when he turns 56, the mandatory retirement age.
Aquino had initially stated his desire for Bartolome to retire early to allow a new PNP chief to prepare and ensure the conduct of peaceful elections.
Speaking to reporters covering his attendance at the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Laos, Aquino pointed out that Bartolome’s retirement day would come in the middle of the campaign period.
“We want to ensure that we have—parati nila sinasabi HOPE, ‘di ba—honest, orderly, peaceful elections. Siguro mataas ‘yung emphasis doon sa orderly and peaceful. So at the time when it’s most critical that the person who will be directly in charge of the peace and order situation suddenly retires at kumbaga peak nung tensed days ay mukhang mali naman yata ‘yon. So I’ll discuss that with him. And he might go on what is called the ‘no duty status’ of—we’ll discuss exactly when. That might be the end November or sometime in December,” Aquino said.
Aquino also cited the appointments ban during the election season.
“…by February meron ka ng [appointments] ban. You would want the person who will be in charge of monitoring and supervising that the conduct of the PNP to be fully—parang to have a chance to organize, to be able to put in place the necessary people to ensure that we have orderly and peaceful elections. So malabo ‘yung may timon na by oppression of law, biglang aalis sa pwesto sa panahon nung kainitan ng kampanya,” he said.
“May [appointments] ban ka na ngayon by February which means hindi ka pwedeng maglagay ng mga tao kung saan-saan. So ‘pag siya nanatili lagpas ng February baka naman may magpapasok pa ng question pwede pang palitan habang election, parang unnecessary irritant pagdating nung panahon na ‘yon. At kailangan meron talagang siguradong mando na walang duda na tuloy-tuloy pagmamando niya dahil election na nga tayo by next year,” he added.
Aquino said Bartolome expressed his intention to complete his term to enjoy full pension upon his retirement.
Aquino indicated that Bartolome can stay on but will assume a “non duty status.”
“Ulit ha: ‘no duty status.’ What does that mean? ’Yung ‘pag tinapos niya sa March 16, ‘yung sabi niya sa akin kumpleto ‘yung benefits, hindi ka nag-premature. Kumbaga sagad na sagad ‘yung iyong retirement pay, benefits, etcetera. Explanation nila sa akin, in particular, was ‘pag nag-retire siya before that baka may mababawas and entitled naman siya doon sa kanyang pension, benefits, etcetera. We’re checking that out,” Aquino said.
“Ngayon, ang point lang doon, he recognizes the fact na hindi naman pwede ‘yung timon, ‘di ba, ‘yung kapitan ay biglang mawawala sa panahon na talagang nandoon ka na sa medyo peligrosong pagbiyahe. And he recognizes that fact. But, di ba [pinanganak] siya nagkataon by March, election year, e doon tatama ‘yung kanyang age 56,” Aquino said.
Last week, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas named PNP directorial staff chief Alan Purisima to head the task force securing the 2013 elections.
Aquino said he has been concerned by recent reports of election-related violence. He also said that the PNP has been working on dismantling private armed groups.