MANILA (UPDATE) - Newly-appointed Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas is "qualified" for the top post, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said as he urged the public to give President Rodrigo Duterte's appointee "a chance."
The appointment of Sinas, who as Metro Manila police chief held a "mañanita" party during lockdown, was met with criticism.
"Ang sabi nga natin ang Pangulo ang meron absolute discretion and authority to choose among the PNP generals kung sino ang magiging chief PNP at kapangyarihan niya, hindi niya kailangan mag-explain. Pag sinabi niya na mataas ang trust and confidence niya in this person, let’s give that person a chance," Año told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(As we have said, the President has absolute discretion and authority to choose among the PNP generals who will be the next chief PNP. It's his power and he doesn't have to explain. If he says he has high trust and confidence in this person, let’s give that person a chance.)
"At bilang 2-star general, Major General si Debold Sinas, ay qualified din siya sa position ng chief PNP."
(As a 2-star general, Major General Debold Sinas is qualified for the position of chief PNP.)
Año also clarified media reports and said Sinas was among shortlisted officials selected by the National Police Commission for the top PNP post.
Duterte ordered Sinas to focus on government's anti-narcotics campaign and its fights against communist rebels, Año said.
The DILG chief, who oversees the PNP, also urged lawmakers to amend the law setting the retirement age of police and military chiefs.
Sinas will serve as PNP chief until he retires on May 8, 2021, when he turns 56, the mandatory age of retirement for uniformed personnel.
"Bago kasi dumating ang panahon na makapili ka ng qualified, matured, and senior official, less than a year na lang talaga ang kaniyang natitira dahil gusto natin dumadaan sa tinatawag na career ladder ng military at police service," he said.
(Before the time comes that you can choose a qualified, matured, and senior official, he only has less than a year remaining in service because we want them to go through what we call the career ladder of the military and police service.)
"Yun talaga ay matagal nang problema sa PNP at Armed Forces of the Philippines. Ang sinusunod talaga d'yan ay i-amend ang batas at i-extend ang retirement ng chief PNP at ng Armed Forces of the Philippines."
(That's been a problem for the longest time in the PNP and AFP. What we should follow is to amend the law and extend the retirement of the chiefs of PNP and AFP.)
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said measures proposing a tenure of 2 or 3 years for military chief have been filed in Congress.
"I think as an institution ang PNP din deserves and should be given more opportunity for more meritocracy. I suppose 'yung security of tenure para sa isang chief PNP would be something very good to consider," she told ANC's Headstart.
"Right now it’s (56) a very young retiring age for both of our chiefs PNP and AFP."
Hontiveros, meantime, said Duterte could have "made a more meritorious choice" in selecting a new PNP chief.
"Although Debold Sinas was an underclassman of my husband and an old friend, unfortunately 'yung naipakita nila (what he showed) so far under his previous commands in terms of stemming, rolling back the tide of violence and not just observing but authentically enforcing the anti-COVID-19 protocols, unfortunately pinapakita dito na (it shows) the President could have made a more meritorious choice," she said.
"There can be more or less meritorious possible appointees."