MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The term of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa can be extended "up until the time the President wants him to serve," National Police Commission (Napolcom) Vice Chairman Rogelio Casurao said on Wednesday, February 21.
"There is no legal impediment to the extension of Chief PNP. Under present conditions, he (Dela Rosa) can be extended however the President wants him to serve," Casurao told Rappler in a phone interview.
The unlimited extension of Dela Rosa's term as PNP chief was attributed by Casurao to the state of national emergency that has been in place since the Davao bombing in September 2016, and the apparent omission of Director General rank (4-star general) to the one-year cap of extension from a PNP official's retirement age.
"The Chief of the PNP shall be appointed by the President...[he/she] shall serve a term of office not to exceed four (4) years: Provided, further, That in times of war or other national emergency declared by Congress, the President may extend such term of office."
Up until now, past presidents have read the said law's Section 39 to mean that Director Generals cannot go beyond one year, as the section reads:
"Compulsory retirement, for officer and non-officer, shall be upon the attainment of age fifty-six (56): Provided, That, in case of any officer with the rank of chief superintendent, director or deputy director general, the Commission may allow his retention in the service for an unextendible period of one (1) year."
Casurao said the law simply did not use an Oxford comma, so the "Director" rank (two-star general) should be read on its own.
Asked if the 2016 declaration of a state of national emergency can be cited for Dela Rosa’s extension instead of a declaration by Congress, Casurao explained that Congress cited Duterte's proclamation in confirming martial law in Mindanao. That is enough, he said.
"State of national emergency on account of lawless violence became the basis of martial law which was validated and confirmed by Congress. That being the case, [President Duterte] had the legal basis to extend the services of [Police Director General] Bato,” Casurao told Rappler in a text message.
It is unclear whether President Rodrigo Duterte will avail of this option, saying that he wants to extend Dela Rosa just a "little bit" longer. – Rappler.com