By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said he will recommend a sole name to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to be the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Current top cop Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. will retire from the service upon reaching the mandatory age of 56 on April 24.

Ako ay may personal rekomendasyon. Talagang nasubukan ko siya ever since maski na ito last ng PHP4 billion na drugs at ‘yung mga nauna pang PHP9 billion. Magaling itong taong ito pero for courtesy or delicadeza hindi ko muna sasabihin (I have a personal recommendation. I have already worked with him ever since, especially this last big haul of PHP4 billion in illegal drugs and the past operations where PHP9 billion worth of drugs were seized. This is a good one but for courtesy, I won’t disclose who he is),” Abalos told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) after a press briefing at Camp Crame on Monday.

Abalos has yet to submit his recommendation to the President.

“Well ako, personally, isa lang ang gusto ko although ito inuulit ko, maraming magagaling, but this person I really trust him at nakita ko yung kanyang actions. Hindi ko pa naipapasa (to the President) (Personally, I only like one although I admit there are a lot of good officials but this person, I really trust him and I saw his actions. I have yet to submit this to the President),” he added.

The submission of a list of recommendations for the next PNP chief to the President is done only at the level of the Interior Secretary, who is also the chairperson of the National Police Commission.

Azurin, a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Makatao” Class of 1989, was appointed by Marcos as the country’s 28th top cop in August last year.

Azurin, who has been in the police service for over 38 years, is the first PNP chief of the Marcos administration.

Among the possible contenders for PNP chief are the three top officers of the command group — deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Rhodel Sermonia, deputy chief for operations Maj. Gen. Jonnel Estomo and Lt. Gen. Michael John Dubria, chief of the directorial staff.

Other contenders are Directorate for Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Benjamin Acorda, Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management chief Maj. Gen. Eliseo Cruz; Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. and National Capital Region Police Office head Maj. Gen. Edgar Alan Okubo. (PNA)