MANILA, Philippines - Police officials scrapped a ceremony set yesterday for outgoing Manila Police District (MPD) director Chief Superintendent Alejandro Gutierrez to hand over command to his successor and named an officer-in-charge (OIC) in his stead.
Senior Superintendent Robert Po, MPD deputy district director for administration was ordered yesterday afternoon to take over as officer-in-charge of the MPD – a move that surprised Manila police officers.
Gutierrez formally retired yesterday after reaching the mandatory age of retirement of 56 years old. He was supposed to turn over command of the MPD to Chief Superintendent Isagani Genabe, Caraga deputy regional director for administration, in a ceremony at Camp Bagong Diwa yesterday afternoon.
A memorandum signed by Deputy Director General Felipe Lozada Roxas Jr., chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) directorial staff, ordered Genabe last April 3 to report to the MPD and assume the post of district director.
The order stated that Genabe’s assumption to the post was by direct command of PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima.
The ceremony, however, was cancelled at the last minute and Po was designated OIC in another order “through the direction of (National Capital Region Police Office) chief Director Leonardo Espina and signed by Chief Superintendent Dennis Jurilla Peña,” the chief of the NCRPO’s directorial staff.
Sources said Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim rejected the idea that an outsider would assume the post. Lim was pushing for either Senior Superintendent Ronald Estilles, MPD deputy director for operations; or Chief Superintendent Fidel Posadas, Estilles’ predecessor, they said.
Another source said Genabe was being backed by a politician close to Malacañang and Purisima – who wanted either Po or Estilles – had no choice but to give in.
Po said he does not have high expectations for himself and the MPD because as OIC he cannot really shake up the district.
“I cannot really reshuffle or reassign officers and personnel. But definitely we are going to do our jobs and responsibilities… to discipline policemen who are riding motorcycles without helmets and other things,” he said.