MANILA, Philippines — Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, newly-appointed PNP chief of the 205,000-strong Philippine National Police says he has “so much to do” especially on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs and the gargantuan task of internal cleansing of the controversy-riddled police force.
Gamboa, 55, took over the PNP reigns on an acting capacity last September or days after embattled former PNP chief Oscar Albayalde who is now facing “Ninja-Cops” related charges.
“We need to do our best to lessen, if not totally eradicate, this [drug] problem. Otherwise, it may destroy us not only today but also the future generations,” Gamboa said in a radio interview.
The problem is, Gamboa’s presence may not have a lasting impact on the reforms the PNP need as he will soon reach the mandatory retirement age of 56 in September this year.
Gamboa said there will be “a slight change of tack under his leadership with a focus on high-value targets instead of small-time pushers and a significant increase in the average volume of drug contraband seizures.”
“The priority is our campaign against illegal drugs, and second is the internal cleansing. We will not deviate from these,” Gamboa said.
When he accordingly assumed office in September last year, Gamboa said he had already implemented changes in the antidrugs strategy. The PNP he said has already increased the average volume of seizure from 15 grams to 56 grams.
He may only have eight months before he retires in September but expectations of him as new PNP chief are high especially from his immediate superior, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.
The latter said Saturday he expects Gamboa to also improve the image of the PNP which has been rankled by persistent charges of corruption.
“I also expect that he would continue to cleanse the PNP ranks of scalawags,” he said.
Former PNP chief and now third-term Senator Panfilo Lacson also tried to improve the image of the police when he was at the helm from 1999 to 2001.
Gamboa was appointed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday when the Chief Executive graced the thanksgiving gathering for the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Davao City.
“We have the PNP Chief — I’m going to appoint you as the regular PNP chief,” the President said of Gamboa in announcing the appointment. “Ipinakita mo sa akin ‘yung sincerity mo, and I want you to leave something that you will be remembered by the country.” The President previously assigned Gamboa as the PNP officer-in-charge after former police chief Oscar Albayalde resigned from his post in October 2019, weeks before his retirement. (IAMIGO/Currentph.com)