BY AARON RECUENCO
President Duterte is expected to appoint a new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), a post which has been occupied by members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1986 in the last four years, as General Archie Francisco Gamboa is set to bow out of service next week.
The retirement honors are now being prepared for Gamboa, the 23rd PNP Chief, on his 56th birthday, which is the mandatory retirement age in the police and the military, on September 2.
The PNP leadership has been dominated by the PMA Class 1986 since Duterte assumed the presidency in July 2016, starting with now Sen. Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa followed by his mistah, retired general Oscar Albayalde in 2018.
PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said there are three senior police officials who are deemed top contenders for the post in terms of seniority rule: Lt. Gen. Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, the PNP’s number two man being the Deputy Chief for Administration; Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, the PNP Deputy Chief for Operations; and, Lt. Gen. Cesar Hawthorne Binag, the Chief Directorial Staff.
If appointed, Cascolan would be the 4th member of the PMA Class 1986 to hold the highest police post but will have only three more months left before he bows out of service on November 10. Eleazar and Binag are members of the PMA Class 1987.
“The PNP submits to the better judgment and freehand of the Chief Executive to exercise his prerogative of appointing the Chief PNP as provided by the law,” said Banac, adding that all policemen with a star-rank are qualified to be the next Chief PNP.
Cascolan is one of the few remaining PMA Class 1986 in the police organization along with Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Biay, Director for Personnel and Records Management; Maj. Gen. Elmo Francis Sarona, Director for Investigation and Detective Management; Maj. Gen. Amador Corpuz, Director for Human Resource and Doctrine Development; and Maj. Gen. Timoteo Pacleb, Director for Research and Development. Sarona will retire on September 10, Pacleb on September 23, Corpus on October 3 and Biay on November 9.
On Monday, all the PMA Class 1986 members were given retirement honors from their Alma Mater, through PMA Superintendent Navy Vice Admiral Allan Ferdinand Cusi, at Camp Crame in Quezon City since the testimonial parade is currently prohibited at the PMA grounds in Baguio City due to the threat of COVID-19.
The two other PMA Class 1986 who were not present during the awarding are Maj. Gen. Jose Maria Victor Ramos, who used to be the Director for Comptrollership; and Maj. Gen. Mariel Magaway, who used to be the head of the Directorate for Intelligence.
The two are currently on a non-duty status as they are recuperating from the injuries they suffered during the helicopter crash in Laguna in March this year.
Magaway is set to retire on October 8 while Ramos is the last PMA Class 1986 member to retire on November 25. (Aaron Recuenco)