CEBU CITY, Philippines – Brigadier General Valeriano de Leon, head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Firearms and Explosives Office, will take over as Central Visayas police chief.
PNP Spokesperson Bernard Banac confirmed this in a text message to Rappler.
De Leon will head the Central Visayas police based in Cebu City, taking over from Brigadier General Debold Sinas who officially took over as Metro Manila police chief on Wednesday, October 16.
In his new post, De Leon will oversee the safety and security 7 million people spread across the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor. (READ: Get to know Metro Manila's new police chief Debold Sinas)
He is taking over a tenure marked by an intensified drug war in the region and escalating violence, particularly in the provinces of Cebu and Bohol.
His predecessor, Sinas, highlighted that his biggest achievement during his year in office was the confiscation of over P1.2 billion worth of shabu.
Over the past year, Central Visayas was identified as the region with the 4th highest number of drug-linked killings in the country.
While Sinas openly clashed with former Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña during his tenure, De Leon would likely not have much trouble with Mayor Edgardo Labella, who enjoys good relations with local police chiefs and is supportive of the administration’s campaign against drugs.
President Rodrigo Duterte had backed the mayoral bid of Labella in the last elections.
Prior to heading the firearms office, De Leon served as Mindanao police deputy regional director for operations and served as officer-in-charge of the Davao City Police Office.
De Leon, who is from the Cagayan Valley, graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1989. – Rappler.com