Francisco Don Montenegro

Mike Arroyo’s cousin new PNP chief prober

Mike Arroyo’s cousin new PNP chief prober
By Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—A relative of First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo has been designated chief investigator of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Chief Supt. Francisco Don Montenegro now heads the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the PNP’s main investigation unit, replacing Director Raul Castañeda in simple turnover rites at Camp Crame Wednesday.

Montenegro, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1981, is related to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s husband through the latter’s maternal lineage.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 2005, Montenegro acknowledged being a “distant relative” of the First Gentleman, but stressed that his ties had nothing to do with his designation as police director of Batangas at the time.

The police official, whose family owns an inland shipping company in Batangas, said he was also related to Angela Montenegro, the wife of the President’s son and Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo.

In his speech at Wednesday’s event, Montenegro vowed to “lead the CIDG through a genuine transformation campaign to make it a more capable, effective and credible organization.”

Poll-related crimes

The unit, he said, would train its resources at preventing election-related violence and the immediate resolution of pending cases.

“I will do my very best for the CIDG to properly and closely monitor, investigate and prosecute (election-related) cases and, more importantly, arrest the suspects,” Montenegro said.

PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa said the designation of Montenegro was part of the ongoing reorganization in the PNP triggered by the retirement of several high-ranking police officials.

“Contrary to what is being reported in the media, the (current) designation of our men is not a revamp. It’s an upward movement due to the retirement of some police generals,” he said during the turnover ceremony.

Records from the PNP showed that a total of 43 top police officials would bow out of service within the year upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

Castañeda, who occupied the post for more than two years, was named head of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in northern Luzon, a post formerly held by Director Eric Javier.

Task Force Ego

Verzosa directed the newly designated CIDG chief to intensify police operations against private armies in the run-up to the country’s first automated elections this May.

As a major support unit, he said the CIDG’s Task Force Ego must take the “reactive” role in the government’s campaign to eradicate private armies and arrest politicians maintaining such groups.

“The CIDG will play a very important part in these coming days,” Verzosa said.

The PNP chief ordered Montenegro to keep up with Castaneda’s “accomplishments” in the investigation of the grisly Maguindanao massacre, in which 57 people, including journalists, were killed, in November last year. The killings were blamed on the powerful Ampatuan clan.

“You should continue the investigation and prosecution of both the (multiple murder) and rebellion cases (against the Ampatuans) and also continue the administrative investigation on the sources of the firearms in Maguindanao,” Verzosa said.