Incoming PNP chief Oscar Albayalde aims to discipline police force

MANILA, Philippines – Keeping true to the reason why he was chosen to be the country's next top cop, National Capital Region Police Office Director Oscar Albayalde said he will focus on "disciplining" the 180,000-strong Philippine National Police (PNP).

"We will focus on disciplining our force. Napaka-importante kasi 'yung pagdidisiplina (It's because disciplining is very important)," Albayalde told Camp Crame reporters on Friday, April 6 through a video call, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would be the next PNP chief.

"Noon pa man when I was a senior officer, medyo 'yan pa rin ang aking advocacy (Even back when I was a senior police officer, that has been my advocacy)," he added.

Albayalde's track record attests to this claim. President Rodrigo Duterte had also cited Albayalde's reputation as a "strict" police officer in choosing him to replace PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

'Strict' Albayalde: Albayalde is known among his subordinates at the NCRPO as a stern and scrupulous superior.

"He is hands-on, passionate about finishing the given task, strict, and unsatisfied when officers don't give feedback," PNP Spokesman Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao told Rappler in a text message on Thursday, April 5.

Bulalacao worked under Albayalde at the NCRPO for half a year before the PNP spokesman was assigned to the PNP headquarters, Camp Crame.

In the months leading up to his appointment, Albayalde motorbiked at midnight around Metro Manila, surprising police stations with impromptu inspections.

Sleeping, absent, and even feasting cops on duty time were relieved of their posts on the spot.

"Hindi announced ito. Ito talaga ang nangyayari on the ground. Ganito ang nangyayari on the ground. Ito ang reality (This is not announced. This is what is happening on the ground. This is reality)" Albayalde said during a February 14 surprise inspection.

What's his plan? Albayalde said that once he becomes top cop, he would not be able to do as many surprise inspections. He said he would entrust this task to chiefs of police stations or precincts.

"We will give that responsibility to the different commanders on the ground, down to the precinct level," Albayalde explained in a mix of English and Filipino.

"They will be made responsible for the deeds or misdeeds, actions or misactions of all their subordinates or everyone in their office," he added, stressing his belief in the command responsibility of police chiefs.

It's a task that sounds easy for a regional director to say, as chiefs of police are directly under his watch. But now climbing to the top of Crame, Albayalde will soon find himself in the many layers of bureaucracy behind running the 180,000-strong PNP.

Will his strictness suffice in imposing discipline throughout the PNP? –


Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.