7 possible contenders seen for next PNP chief

Emmanuel Tupas – The Philippine Star

November 12, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — As Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. is set to retire in less than a month, it is another race for senior PNP officials to become the next leader of the country’s 228,000-strong police force.

Unless President Marcos extends his tour of duty, Acorda will bow out on his 56th birthday on Dec. 3 after 37 years of service.

The next senior officer to Acorda is PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia. However, he only has over two months left in service, as he will retire on Jan. 26, 2024.

With no word yet on Acorda’s successor, several names have cropped up as contenders for his post.

In terms of seniority, two of the candidates are PNP deputy chief for operations Lt. Gen. Michael John Dubria and PNP chief of the directorial staff Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Peralta.

The other possible contenders are Criminal Investigation and
 Detection Group director Maj. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr., director of the Directorate for Police Community Relations Maj. Gen. Edgar Alan Okubo, director of the Directorate for Information and Communications Technology Management Maj. Gen. Bernard Banac, Directorate for Comptrollership director Brig. Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil and National Capital Region Police Office head Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr.

Dubria, who will retire on Dec. 20, 2024, is from Davao City and Acorda’s classmate at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA)’s Class of 1991. He served as chief of the directorial staff and also headed the Civil Security Group, Directorate for Intelligence and the Soccsksargen police.

Peralta, who was also a classmate of Acorda, once served as director of Police Regional Office 1. He also had stints as director of the Directorate for Operations, Directorate for Human Resource and Doctrine Development.

Another classmate of Acorda, Marbil served as director of the Eastern Visayas police and also headed the Highway Patrol Group. He will retire on Feb. 7, 2025.

A graduate of the PMA Class of 1992, Caramat served as director of the Caraga police. He also played a role in the war on drugs as director of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group and in the efforts to arrest former Bureau of Corrections director Gerald Bantag, accused of masterminding the murder of radio broadcaster Percy Lapid.

Meanwhile, Banac’s career included stints as director of the Directorate for Plans, Training Service and Eastern Visayas police.

A native of Benguet province, Okubo could make history as the first chief PNP produced by the Philippine National Police Academy. He served as NCRPO chief and once led the elite Special Action Force.

Meanwhile, Nartatez is currently in charge of the security in Metro Manila director. He also approved the dismissal from service of police officers who were found liable for grave misconduct. Among them were the policemen involved in a shooting incident that led to the death of 17-year-old Jerhode Baltazar in Navotas City last Aug. 2.

Nartatez also served as Ilocos Norte police director.

Prior to becoming NCRPO chief, Nartatez served as the PNP’s director for intelligence and commander of the Calabarzon police.

On the other hand, Acorda has expressed willingness to serve in another capacity in government should President Marcos ask him to serve.

Speaking to reporters after the testimonial parade and review held in his honor at the PMA in Baguio City yesterday, Acorda said he is preparing for his life as a private citizen after his retirement.

However, Acorda said he will not think twice should he be called to serve again in government.

“I leave up to the higher ups if they think I have more to contribute to the country. Who am I to refuse,” Acorda said.

On whether his term would be extended beyond his retirement, Acorda said: “I leave that to the decision of the President. All I can do or promise is to do my best.”


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