Duterte: Año to 'handle' PNP for now

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to “handle” the Philippine National Police (PNP), which has had no chief since Oscar Albayalde retired in early November.

Duterte made the statement in a speech before earthquake victims in M’Lang, Cotabato, on Monday, December 30, while talking about the “many problems in Manila,” and his campaign against corruption and illegal drugs.

Before making the announcement, he said police in the provinces like Cotabato were doing fine but it was a different story in the national capital, which was why he had yet to appoint a new PNP chief. 

Basta mga probinsya mahusay ang mga pulis. But in Manila? That’s why I did not appoint a PNP. Sabi ko kay General Año na hawakan niya muna (Police in the provinces are competent. But in Manila? That’s why I did not appoint [a new] PNP [chief]. I told General Año to handle it for the meantime),” the President said.

“You fix the police so that by the time we make the exit two years from now, at least ang mga problema ng Pilipino medyo...hindi na masyadong mabigat (the problems of the Filipinos would not be as heavy),” he added.

Año, a former military chief, said in a statement that he would supervise the PNP as Duterte's alter ego.

"The President is still searching for a permanent Chief PNP and my job is to supervise the organization on his behalf as his alter ego, being the DILG Secretary and Chairman of Napolcom. I will do my job until the President chooses the next Chief PNP," he said.

The last PNP chief, Albayalde, retired in early November, weeks after he voluntarily went on non-duty status following the "ninja cops" controversy in which he was accused of either negligence or complicity.

Later that month, Duterte said he was having such a hard time choosing the right person to lead the PNP that he would rather leave the post vacant for longer and directly give guidance to the PNP himself. – Rappler.com