Jesus Versoza

PNP election order: Retiring officials to vacate posts now

PNP election order: Retiring officials to vacate posts now
Dateline Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Stressing the need to ensure that the government’s security preparations for the May 10 polls go as planned, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is directing all its retiring police officials to immediately vacate their posts ahead of their retirement schedule.

Camp Crame, the PNP’s national headquarters, issued a memorandum to all police regional and ground commanders, ordering them to relieve their subordinates that are due to retire between April 15 and June 30.

“This move is meant to ensure that our line commanders are still focused on their job and not distracted nor hesitant to do action because of their impending retirement,” the memorandum said.

The memorandum, signed by PNP Director General Jesus Versoza, was issued to all police regional, provincial, municipal and national support unit commanders.

“All regional directors, directors of national support units who are affected by this directive, are advised to submit their non-duty status as soon as possible,” Versoza said in his memo.

The memo also said that all other police officials that are to be affected by the directive are likewise encouraged to file for non-duty status with their respective administrative officers.

“So that they (retiring police officials) can prepare their necessary documentation for retirement,” the memorandum said, which was issued for the immediate compliance of affected officers.

The PNP Chief, in a chance interview with reporters at Camp Crame, explained that the move was necessary to ensure that the security plans and preparations for the May 10 Elections are not disrupted.

“There was an information to the commanders na yung mga [that those who are] retirable up to the end of the election period, may be encouraged to file a non-duty status for them to be replaced by new ones. But this is voluntary,” Versoza said.

“It is hard to change commanders in the field especially during the elections. There could be some vacuum, so it’s difficult for us, especially for the leaders on the ground,” he added.

Versoza added there’s nothing wrong with this move since retiring police officials are given the choice of going on non-duty status months before their actual retirement date.

A police official is compulsory retired from active police service when he or she reaches the age of 56. But the official has the option to go on non-duty status six-months before turning 56. (Anthony Vargas)

PNP sees violence rise as May polls near; figures say otherwise

PNP sees violence rise as May polls near; figures say otherwise
By Anthony Vargas
Dateline Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – Security officials on Tuesday said they expect the number of election-related violent incidents (ERVI’s) to rise as the campaign period reaches the homestretch to the May 10 elections.

The ERVI projection echoed the earlier statements of Defense secretary and National Security adviser Norberto Gonzales.

Director General Jesus Versoza, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said, however, that the recorded number of poll-related incidents this year is comparatively low as compared to reported number of poll related incidents in the two previous elections.

As of Tuesday, the PNP already tallied a total of 37 validated ERVI’s resulting in 22 deaths and 16 injuries during the first 71 days of the campaign period for national elections, which started last January 10.

Majority of the identified casualties recorded from January 10 to April 6 were supporters of candidates, according to the PNP monitoring report.

The PNP recorded a total of 130 poll-related incidents during the same period for the 2007 elections and 122 incidents for the same period during the 2004 elections.

Chief Supt. Leonardo Espina, PNP spokesman, attributed the low number of poll-related incidents recorded for this year’s election period to the intensified campaign against loose firearms and private armed groups.

“We intensified our campaign against loose firearms and private armed groups since last year and this somehow helped in lessening poll-related incidents,” Espina said in an interview.

The PNP spokesman said that to date, they have already accounted for about 64% of the estimated 1.1 million loose firearms scattered all over the country and have already neutralized over a dozed private armed groups.

Despite the relative success of the election gun ban campaign, the PNP raised its alert level status on the eve of the start of the campaign period for the local elections in a bid to prevent the outbreak of ERVIs.

“We are observing different areas and we expect that there could be an increase [in Ervi’s] towards May 10,” Versoza told reporters in a chance interview at Camp Crame.

The PNP chief said that political rivalries especially among supporters of candidates at the local level are expected to intensify in the run-up to the May 10 polls.

“We are requesting the supporters of different candidates to maintain calm and avoid any altercation with the other parties and to maintain their discipline to avoid more incidents in the elections,” Versoza said.