Vera Cruz now PNP's No. 3, task force commander as Binag retires

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Vera Cruz now PNP's No. 3, task force commander as Binag retires
File photo dated December 2020 shows Police Lt. Gen. Joselito M Vera Cruz, the Chief Directorial Staff presiding the Simultaneous Turnover of Office in a simple ceremony held at Camp Crame in Quezon City with the incoming director of Directorate for Plans, Police Brig. Gen. Walter Castillejos, incoming director of Center for Police Strategy Management, Police Brig. Gen. Alexander Sampaga, and incoming director of Communication and Electronics Service, Police Brig. Gen. Conradi Gongon, Jr.
Photo courtesy of PNP

MANILA, Philippines — Effective Tuesday evening, Police Lt. Gen. Joselito Vera Cruz is the next Deputy Chief for Operations of the Philippine National Police and commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield. 

This was confirmed in a statement sent to reporters Wednesday afternoon.

Vera Cruz replaces Police Lt. Gen. Cesar Binag in both posts with the latter slated to retire on April 24 and whose designation was terminated that same day.

Prior to his designation among the agency's Top 3, Vera Cruz served as chief of the PNP's Directorial Staff. 

The Joint Task Force COVID Shield is the implementing arm of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases composed of the police, military, fire protection bureau, and coast guard.

"As the new commander of this task force, I expect PLtGen Vera Cruz will continue the plans and programs of the previous commander and enforce strict quarantine rules in the country to mitigate the spread of the virus while waiting for the available vaccines," Police Gen. Debold Sinas, PNP chief, said in the statement.

Along with Binag and Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Vera Cruz belongs to the PMA "Hinirang" Class of 1987. He will turn 56, the mandatory retirement age in the PNP, in March 2022.

With Sinas set to retire himself in early May, Vera Cruz is among those in the running to be the next PNP chief.

"I'm not going to recommend [the next PNP chief] because it's not in my authority to recommend. It's only [Interior Secretary Eduardo Año] who will recommend," Sinas told reporters in Filipino at a pre-recorded press briefing Monday. 

"All of us will just follow the order of our president and our SILG, and whoever is chosen, he will be the best among us. All of the members of the command group are capable and skilled to lead the PNP." 




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