Where's the NCRPO chief?


MANILA, Philippines – List it down as another announcement that will only come after the current administration’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.

Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, July 22, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said they will only name a new chief for the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) after President Benigno Aquino III’s last SONA.

The NCRPO, which has operational control over the 5 police districts and all stations within Metro Manila, finds itself without a full-time chief after Police Director Carmelo Valmoria retired on Wednesday, July 15. Valmoria, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1982, turned 56 on Thursday, July 16.

Unlike the months-long vetting for the chief PNP post, however, Valmoria’s exit from the PNP was anything but a surprise. Valmoria was supposed to turn over the NCRPO chief post on July 15, the same day as his retirement honors. But some 30 minutes before the program was scheduled to start, there were no papers designating Valmoria’s replacement.

At least one candidate for the plum post was in Camp Bagong Diwa – just in case – but the orders never came.

Sources privy to the goings-on in Camp Crame said the turnover was halted by the powers-that-be because they did not want Quezon City to be without a district chief.

Chief Superintendent Joel Pagdilao, who currently heads the Quezon City Police District, is said to be a shoo-in for the post. Marquez earlier told reporters it was "likely" that Pagdilao would take over the NCR command. 

The PNP, however, has yet to find a suitable replacement for Pagdilao – or at least one who is acceptable to Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, according to several sources. 

But according to one police source, there’s speculation that another police general – Chief Superintendent Pablo Francisco Balagtas, currently the chief of the PNP’s Aviation Security Group – might be considered for the post.

Pagdilao, said Marquez, will be leading police preparations for the SONA, which will be held at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

The NCRPO is temporarily headed by its second-in-command, Chief Superintendent Allan Bantolo, the deputy chief for administration. – Bea Cupin/Rappler.com