Monday meet with Duterte was on drugs and communists, not PNP turnover — outgoing chief

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Monday meet with Duterte was on drugs and communists, not PNP turnover â outgoing chief
Undated file photo shows Police Gen. Camilo Cascolan.
The STAR, file

MANILA, Philippines — Monday night's meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and top officials of the Philippine National Police focused on the peace and order situation, the outgoing PNP chief said Tuesday. 

Speaking in an interview aired over ANC on Tuesday morning, retiring police chief Camilo Cascolan defended Police Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas, the latest appointee for the top uniformed post, saying he should be given a chance to explain himself. 

This comes after presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte had chosen to appoint Sinas, adding that he does not owe the public an explanation for the appointment.

"I'm not privy to that. We had no discussions about that. We talked about the illegal drugs situation. There was the AFP-PNP command conference, the peace and order situation and the situation in Mindanao. We focused much more on the local communists," Cascolan said.

Eleazar a good cop too 

"It was between him and Eleazar, and I know that they have done good also in their service. There were a lot of things that he did. Maybe there were some shortcomings, but generally, he has done good too," he added. 

He was referring to Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, a three-star general within the organization, who currently sits as the commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield and is the PNP's deputy chief for administration. Eleazar had been next in line in the PNP's hierarchy.

According to Cascolan, there were three names that were submitted to the president, with Eleazar being one of them. 

Based on the PNP's rule of command succession, other police officials with higher ranks and positions were also available for appointment until the chief executive ultimately decided on the controversial Sinas for the highly-coveted post.

Cascolan could have also been given an extension after only holding his post for two months. 

But Cascolan added that the rule of succession was not a cause for concern, saying: "At this point, it's not important considering they are both classmates. They deal with each other professionally and they respect each other...it may have some questions, but they know for a fact that leadership is in good hands."

With the move, Sinas will be the fifth PNP chief appointed under President Duterte's term. 

Known for violating quarantine protocols at a birthday party during the enhanced community quarantine, and later, for an eviction attempt on a family in Taguig, Sinas also built up a reputation over unsolved killings in Region 7 while he was regional director there, which have since been probed by a Senate panel and the human rights commission.

Asked how Sinas' case could proceed with him now sitting as the country's top cop, Cascolan said: "I don't know. I'm not privy to the case, I have not followed it up. But let him explain...maybe you could ask him personally. No comment."





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