NICK BARTOLOME, in his own words


This is NOT my interview. This is a transcript of a press briefing by Philippine National Police DIR. GEN. NICANOR BARTOLOME on Nov. 7, 2012.

PNP Chief Nicanor Bartolome. Pix courtesy of @ANCAlerts

There are many factors that make people squeamish about Malacanang’s move to remove the chief PNP — by assigning him from non-duty status, which effectively strips him of all powers of the position.

The big push started when the President Benigno Aquino III was in Russia for the APEC summit, amplified by aides here (though typically, half of them didn’t seem to be aware of the issue), brought up again during PNOY’s recent Laos trip.

The official line is, that the President wants someone in place early so he/she — thought it most certainly will be a he — doesn’t scramble at the height of the election campaign season, when Bart (as he is called by cops and reporters) retires.

Fair enough. We all want clean and honest elections, and to a large extent that will depend on the performance of the PNP.

But people are pointing out: Surely, PNOY knew of Bart’s retirement schedule when he appointed the man?

More important, people are concerned about the President’s penchant for informing media (and his bosses) first about crucial decisions, without first discussing the issues with concerned officials. Which has made for tragicomedy at the PDEA, where both deputy and, eventually, the chief, learned they’d been fired from breaking news. What’s wrong with a phone call, if you can’t be bothered to slot in a meeting or two?

The decisions are legitimate, legal, within his powers. The process — again, the process — leaves you wondering about the President’s increasing tendency to be imperious. I thought that went out of style with his predecessor. Sigh.

I’m sharing the transcript of Bart’s interview to give free rein to his voice. In a nutshell he says:

  • Yes, he got the news from elsewhere;
  • He understands where the President is coming from;
  • He had reminded the President earlier that his retirement comes in March.

People expecting the theatrics of the PDEA officials will be disappointed. Bart is genial. He is almost always cool and calm — admittedly, too much so, according to critics. Best we get if from him directly. I enjoyed the gentle, subtle commentaries🙂

(I’d like to thank Anthony Vargas. I’ve done very little editing… just to write words in whole, etc.) Bart’s answer in boldface.

On Noy saying you will be non-duty

I have been very consistent with my answers to queries; that is, I serve at the pleasure of the President. Ang aming serbisyo ay depende sa pangangailangan and latest ‘;m hearing is, that the President might ask me to consider an early retirement or non duty status. So I am open to the idea. I’m open to it. Whatever the President desires I will follow

Have you talked to Noy?

Wala pa kararating nya kahapon reason why im not here yesterday I was in Mindanao working — met with highway patrol group brought with me Gen Subong, head of HPG in Davao and discussed with regional officers of HPG the situation in Mindanao as far as car-napping is concerned

Open to DILG Usec?

Wala yun sa condition for me to either retire early or go on non duty status. Kasi there is I think a shortlist now. Sabi nya may shortlist now. Baka siguro wala ako sa shortlist. Sabi ata nya mga retired and private. Di ako kasama dun. (**Note: PNOY promised the new DILG Secretary Mar Roxas that he could have a freehand in staffing the department.)

Are you demoralized?

Di naman. I work for pleasure of the Prez. I work as member of team of the Command in Chief. Siya leader being commander in chief. Ang isang team member should be flexible.

Service ko di nag umpisa kahapon. I’ve been in service since 1981. Yung few months naman kung kailangan for the entire institution e di naman siguro makakasagabal. (If the entire institution needs those few months, maybe it shouldn’t be a problem.)

Noy did not talk to you again?

Di na uli until yung Laos na natanong. Mag-uusap siguro kami

Did you talk after he said it in Russia?

Just nung dumating sya from Russia. Sabi ko, Sir, marso pa. Sabi nya, Marso? Parang siniguro nyang tama. Narinig nya siguro

.Would you prefer non duty or retirement?

Discuss pa naming ni Presidente. Sabi ni Presidente he will discuss it with me. Basta mahalaga ay kung kailangan ito bakit di ko gagawin, e member lang ako ng team. I am with the team of commander in chief

Successor in mind?

After mag usap kami. Wala kami masasabi

When?

Hintay ako kailan mapapatawag

First time this happened to PNP chief?

Hindi, marami na non duty status is just procedure where kung saan ang official din a nagpeperform ng duty nya dahil naghihintay na lang ng retirement. Si Gen Cacdac nag NDS muna kasi ang kanyang retirement 1 buwan pa —  kundi 3 weeks one month he went on NDS . His retirement orders effective sa kanyang bday Oct 11 but he did not attend normal office work na because nag NDS ata.

Non duty status hindi naman sinasabi floating. Floating is a different term, meaning tinanggal ka dahil meron ka kinasasangkutan investigation. Ang non duty status, hindi. The non duty statsu ginagawa ng opisyal para mag prepare sa kanyang retirement at least meron one month to prepare
his documents.  Hindi naman ito bago may ganyan nang gumawa. General Castaneda went in NDS

For PNP chief?

Si Gen Bacalzo nga when I replaced him, di pa nya bday yun. He left his office Sept 9 when I assumed as chief but retirement order effective
siguro mga 1 week pa

Yours too long?

Marami reason at intervening event na dapat i-consider. I look at it positively. I should not be the worry of the commander in chief . I should not be the problem

Reports say you did not heed his request to DILG?

Baka di tama un. Sabi nya naman I might, even now I might. But ang mahalaga I’m ready. I should not be a problem. I should be part of the solution

Due to Election ban?

Kung wala naman siguro election baka di naman siguro ako magiging kasama sa NDS. Nagkataon may election

Will it matter if you leave pnp months before retirement?

May pangangailangan. Kasi una sa pagpaplano pwede I consider yun at ung maaaring epekto ng sunod-sunod na pag akyat sa pwesto maari pag alis
ako mag aakyatan yan yung isa maari mag move at baka may mag NDS din na director. Di natin alam. Di natin alam

Discussed this with family?

Matagal na natin na-discuss ito. Tinitignan nila, kailan ka ba magreretire? Yan lagi pinag uusapan sa mga pamilya ng nasa service — kailangan ka magreretire, kailan ka papasyal as family ng matagal na hindi nagmamadali — minsan hours lang.

I should not be a problem kung meron. Hypothetical sabi ko, mas gugustohin ko na lang na di ako kasama sa worry nila

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