MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has directed the new chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., to make his presence felt and like other top cops before him, “serve the people with integrity, with accountability, and genuine justice.”
Marcos also assured the police force of the administration’s full support, including the upgrade of personnel and equipment, during the retirement honors for Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. and Acorda’s installation at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Monday.
“Make your presence felt in the streets, make them safer. Defend our democratic institutions, our ideals. Protect the people, especially the weak, the vulnerable, and those who indirectly work with us in the same cause, such as journalists, civic action groups, civic volunteers and the like,” Marcos told Acorda in his speech.
He said the PNP must “enhance operational ties with other law enforcement agencies, both at the local and national levels, ensure integrated coordinated, and systematic approaches in addressing our recent peace and order and internal security issues.”
Under his watch, the President said the administration will “boost the morale of our personnel, hone their skills, and advance their capabilities.”
The 55-year-old Acorda, who hails from Ilocos Norte, belongs to the Philippine Military Academy “Sambisig” Class of 1991.
He is the 29th PNP chief and the second under the Marcos administration. He is expected to serve until his retirement on Dec. 3.
Marcos said Acorda will face numerous challenges and he wished his leadership will be “guided to its desired path towards rebuilding and strengthening continuous improvement and capacity building.”
“Always be open to public scrutiny and practice restraint and maximum tolerance in the face of harsh criticism,” he advised Acorda. “A united police force, always strive to win the trust, respect, and admiration of our citizenry through an efficient, ethical, and compassionate brand of police work.”
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri praised Acorda’s appointment and expect him to make the PNP “sharper and more active.”
He said Acorda was effective when he was the Police Regional Office-10 (Northern Mindanao) head, lowering the crime rate by 9.40 percent during the first half of 2022.
“Our streets and communities have been safer and more peaceful, and our trust in our law enforcement agencies much higher,” Zubiri, who hails from Bukidnon province, said in a statement.
He believes that what Acorda has done for Region 10, he will be able to do for the whole country as well.
In another statement, Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, the first PNP chief of the Duterte administration, said Marcos made the “right and best choice in appointing Acorda.
He said Acorda’s exposure in the field of intelligence is badly needed in the internal cleansing program of the police force.
“He is a silent operator and a very professional officer who doesn’t give in to pressures from selfish politicians,” Dela Rosa said of the former head of the PNP Intelligence group.
Marcos thanked Azurin for 38 years of productive service.
“On behalf of the Filipino people, I convey our collective gratitude to General Jun Azurin for his leadership and his service to the PNP and the country,” he said.
Despite a “demanding and perilous journey,” he said Azurin served “with dedication, bravery, and selflessness.”
He stressed it holds true for the other retirees who retired anonymously but served the country with utmost competence and ethicality.
“Amid this grand ceremony that we are holding today, I convey to each one of you, wherever you are, that you do deserve profound commendation from our grateful citizenry. I hope that despite retirement, all of you will still continue to support the government in its fight against all forms of disorder and criminality for the work is never done,” he said,
Marcos said “the cost of peace and order is not only constant and continuing but also fluid, especially in today’s volatile world.”
He said various corrupt practices and heinous crimes continue to happen and these are among the challenges for the government vis-à-vis in maintaining order and justice.
“Hence, in the face of all these, we must ensure all the more that our law enforcement agencies, especially our police force, remain to be strong and formidable. They must be effective in their intelligence and investigations operations, in the enforcement of accountability, and of course, the rule of law without fear or favor,” he said. (With a report from Leonel Abasola/PNA)