MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - The Philippine National Police has a new chief.
Police Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, who currently holds the second-highest position in the police force, will succeed Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año confirmed Tuesday.
Gamboa is set to retire on Wednesday after nearly 8 months in the post.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also confirmed Cascolan’s appointment effective Wednesday.
“We are confident that the incoming Chief of the PNP would continue the significant strides made by his predecessors in making the PNP a professional organization worthy of our people's trust,” Roque said in a statement.
The new PNP chief is expected to have a short stint at the helm as he is set to retire in November.
President Rodrigo Duterte chose Cascolan to take over the reins of the 205,000-strong police force by seniority, Año told Teleradyo's "SRO."
"Ang gusto kasi talaga ng Presidente ay sinusunod ang seniority (What the President wants is to follow the seniority rule) and Gen. Cascolan is qualified so we welcomed the decision of the President," he said.
The interior chief described Cascolan as a "well-rounded officer," who has experience in operations and administrative duties.
With only 2 months to lead the PNP, this is still an ample time for Cascolan to accomplish many things, Año said. Cascolan is set to retire on Nov. 10.
"Mahabang panahon pa naman 'yan. Marami pang magagawa sa loob ng 2 o hanggang 3 buwan, lalo na ngayong pandemic na everyday counts. (It's still an ample time. A lot of things can be achieved in 2 or 3 months, especially during the pandemic when everyday counts)," he said.
He added, "I wish and I would direct Gen. Cascolan to lead the Philippine National Police in its role, being one of the strongest pillars in the fight against the pandemic, and of course the fight against crimes."
Año also said he would direct the new PNP chief to continue implementing the minimum health protocols against COVID-19, which has infected over 224,000 people and killed more than 3,500 in the country.
Earlier this year, Cascolan, who has been deputy chief for administration of the PNP, temporarily became caretaker of the police force after Gamboa was injured in a helicopter crash.
A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, Cascolan’s “mistahs” or classmates include his predecessors, former police chiefs Gamboa, Oscar Albayalde and Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa.
He was among those who authored Oplan Double Barrel, which became the PNP’s flagship program in the war against illegal drugs.
Under this program is the controversial “Oplan Tokhang” which saw police officers knocking on homes to look for drug suspects. It is also linked to thousands of deaths, which government said were justified as suspects allegedly resisted violently, prompting police to defend themselves.
Cascolan also served as the chief of the PNP Directorate for Operations and Metro Manila Police director, replacing Albayalde.