PNP chief, Bangsamoro officials tackle security prep for village polls

Police General Benjamin Acorda Jr. during the media interview after the security summit at the Bangsamoro Government Center in Cotabato City on Thursday (11 May 2023). MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 12 May) — General Benjamin Acorda Jr., chief of the Philippine National Police, met with officials of the Bangsamoro government and the military in a security summit here to iron out preparations for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 30 this year.

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has recorded several killings since January this year victimizing barangay and other local officials.

Acorda said that aside from preparations for the elections, he also wanted to talk to local officials to know how they can help each other.

BARMM Interior and Local Government Minister and spokesperson Naguib Sinarimbo said they also discussed issues on complementation of police programs from his ministry and additional police force.

“We will seek assistance from the Congress for their legislative action on our request for the increase in the number of police recruitment intended for the region,” Sinarimbo said in a press briefing after the security summit.

After the summit, Acorda proceeded to Camp Salipada K. Pendation, headquarters of Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Parang, Maguindanao del Norte for a short talk-to-men command visit.

The police chief admitted he is hurt by the controversies hounding his office just before his appointment.

He cited the alleged cover-up related to the seizure last year of shabu (meth) in Tondo, Manila reportedly weighing 990 kilos with an estimated value of P6.7 billion, and corruption involving police personnel under the control of some powerful politicians.

One M/Sgt Rodolfo Mayo Jr. and nine others were arrested last year in relation to the drug raid.

But Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos claimed that more ranking police officials are linked to the huge drug haul.

Few days ago, former president Rodrigo Duterte, in his radio program “Pulso ng Bayan” aired over SMNI TV accused the PNP of massive corruption from the top down.

“They are compromised because they are receiving bribes from those involved in drugs and from politicians who make them lapdogs,” Duterte said with his usual expletives.

“We welcome critics, it is an eye opener for us to look into these allegations,” Acorda said when asked by reporters to comment on Duterte’s allegations.

Acorda said he sees it as a challenge to his leadership to uplift the morale of his men. 

He said his stint in counter-intelligence showed that there are more upright police officers.

He urged his subordinates to bring back the respect that people had for men in uniform by instilling discipline.

The La Union-born new police chief recalled that he earned his first medal while on assignment in Basilan province in the 1990s. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera/MindaNews)