Bartolome assumes PNP's top post
() - September 9, 2011 - 11:20am

MANILA, Philippines - Deputy Director General Nicanor Bartolome, who has served as spokesperson of several past chiefs of the Philippine National Police (PNP), today took over the top post of the police organization.

Bartolome took over the post from retiring PNP chief Deputy Director Raul Bacalzo, who officially leaves the police service on September 15, in ceremonies at the national police headquarters in Camp Crame.

The change of command was witnessed by President Benigno Aquino III, former police chiefs, top active and former government officials and foreign diplomats.

"I will carry on from where General Bacalzo left off and sustain the integrated transformation program where he and his predecessors put their heart. We will set targets that measure reform programs," Bartolome said as he formally takes over the PNP leadership.

Bartolome mentioned in the opening of his speech the current controversies facing the police organization, hinting the PNP's anomalous purchases of two pre-owned helicopters in 2009 and other police vehicle.

"Nitong mga nakaraang araw ay muling nagkaroon ng agam-agam sa kakayahan ng kapulisan upang maprotektahan ang ating mga kababayan kundi pati na rin ang mga bisitang dayuhan... Nasangkot sa anomalya, diumano hindi wasto ang paggamit ng pondo. Nalugi na ang gobyerno, malalagay pa sa alanganin ang buhay ng ating mga katrabaho," he said.

Bartolome said that he will face the controversies and treat them as fairly as possible to be able to correct the mistakes of the past leaderships.

"Ang mga pangyayaring ito ay dapat nating harapin ng lubusin, tanggapin ang kamalian at iwasto ang panuntunan. Ito ang nararapat kung ang ating mithiin ay maibalik ang tunay na antas ng serbisyo sa bayan," he said.

Despite this assurance, Bartolome aired his thanks to his predecessors and mentors, including past PNP chiefs, two of whom -- Jesus Verzosa and Avelino Razon Jr. -- have been implicated in the current controversies facing the organization.

Verzosa has been recommended to be charged for the anomalous purchase of the helicopters, while Razon is being probed for the "ghost repairs" of police vehicles during his time.

Bartolome served as spokesperson for the two retired police officials.

One cop for each barangay

In his speech, Bartolome announced his first orders and plan to improve the police's role of maintaining peace and order.

Bartolome said he will order the specific deployment of one policeman for each barangays around the country.

"The said policeman will act as a conduit between the community and his unit. With the guidance of the chief of police, he will plan and execute public safety services in coordination with barangay officials," he said.

He also ordered a periodic performance audit to be able to review the individual competencies of policemen and police units.

He also promised to intensify the police's tracking down of wanted persons and the full review and overhaul of the police organization's procurement system.

Bartolome said that he will also be tough on the police's bad eggs.

"Discipline will remain the central focus of my leadership. We will be quick in giving rewards to deserving personnel, but we will also be very strict in punishing the misfits and the undiscioplined," he said.

Bartolome promised to leave the PNP in March 2013 with high "self-esteem, self pride, competent and confident."

President Aquino, meanwhile, said that he is confident that Bartolome would surpass the achievements of the outgoing PNP chief.

Aquino praised Bacalzo for uplifting the capability of the police since the unfortunate hostage crisis in Manila on Aug. 23, 2010, where eight Hong Kong tourists were slain by a dismissed policeman.

He also praised Bacalzo for making a big head start in reforming the police organization. -- Angelo L. Gutierrez

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