Demoralization in police ranks feared under new leadership; martial law in Jolo & Basilan to be recommended

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By Daniel Llanto | FilAm Star Correspondent

Outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Dir. Gen. Ricardo Marquez expressed fears of demoralization among senior police and Armed Forces officials because of the way the new administration appointed people to key PNP and AFP posts over the heads of those more qualified and next in line.

At the sidelines of a testimonial parade-and- review at Camp Aguinaldo in honor of outgoing President Aquino, Marquez said he was saddened by changes in the organization that woulaffect some good senior officers. One such officer is Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Chief Victor Deona who feared he would go in limbo in the next few months.

Incoming PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa, a former Davao City police chief when Duterte was city mayor, earlier announced that his first official acts would be to re-shuffle the police regional directors and national operating units.

During the elaborate send-off ceremonies for Aquino, top military and police officials complimented the outgoing President for riding herd the “best administration so far” in terms of capability modernization and weapons upgrade. Also present at the event was Duterte’s appointed AFP chief, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya.

Acting AFP Chief Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda thanked Aquino for having poured at least PHP 60 billion for the acquisition of much-needed military equipment. Full honors were accorded to the outgoing President upon his arrival at the GHQ Grandstand with Miranda as the military host.

Miranda said because of Aquino’s “concern and understanding of the requirements of the AFP, our preparedness was greatly improved with the arrival of new equipment that can be used not only in war but for peace and disaster.”

He also credited Aquino for signing into law Republic Act 10349 or “An act amending Republic act no. 7898, establishing the revised AFP modernization program and for other purposes.”

Three months earlier, Army officials cited the 56,840 new assault rifles they had received to replace “Vietnam war-era” weapons.

The Air Force received new air assets, procured by the government for a total of PHP 27 billion since 2013, including the first two of 12 fighter jets—the first in 10 years since the retirement of the last of such aircraft in 2005.

Among others, the AFP has acquired 114 units of M113a2 armored personnel carrier from US (excess defense articles); six units of armored personnel carrier and four units of armored recovery vehicle, all from Israel; 120 units of field ambulances; various types of mobility trucks, such as 1¼ ton trucks troop carrier, 2½ ton trucks troop carrier, and 5 ton trucks prime movers; 63,286 units M4 assault rifles, that include the requirements of the Philippine Marine Corps;
various types of tactical radio equipment; two Hamilton-class cutters, six multi-purpose assault craft, three brand-new C-295 medium lift aircraft, two C-130 heavy transports, two FA-50PH light-interim fighter aircraft and eight attack versions of the Agusta Westland AW-109 helicopters, five landing craft heavies and two strategic sealift vessels.

AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military capability buildup under the outgoing administration has been the best so far for the AFP and “greatly exceeds the support provided by the last three administrations combined.”

At the Camp Aguinaldo event, incoming AFP Chief Visayas revealed that he was considering the possibility of declaring martial law in Jolo and Basilan where the Abu Sayyaf Group is strongest. Visayas, commanding general of the Southern Luzon Command when he was tapped by Duterte, said they will study the possibility of placing the said areas under martial law so they can recommend it to Duterte.

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