From Alfred Dalizon’s column in People’s Journal: Highly respected former Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson, the 8th PNP chief from November 16, 1999 to February 16, 2001 has this to say on new PNP Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda.
FORMER PNP CHIEFS’ INTERESTING THOUGHTS ON GENERAL ACORDA
Alfred P. Dalizon, Crame Files
May 14, 2023
SHORTLY after President Bongbong Marcos Jr. picked General Benjamin ‘Benjie’ Acorda Jr. to be his 2nd PNP chief and the 29th PMA graduate to head the police organization since 1991, I have found out how he has earned the trust and respect of many of his predecessors.
Known as the ‘Gentleman from the North,’ the highly-decorated product of PMA ‘Sambisig’ Class of 1991 who used to be the PNP Director for Intelligence before he became our top cop has aired his uncompromising commitment to the President and the entire country to be steadfast in leading his men in ensuring a safe and economically stable community.
Here is how four highly-respected former PNP chiefs have to say on Gen. Acorda.
My Ninong Art Lomibao, the 12th PNP chief from March 14-2005 to July 5, 2006-he was also one of the seven PNP chiefs appointed by former President GMA during her 10-year presidency– wrote a lengthy Facebook post about Gen. Acorda.
He titled it as “The Ilocano Chief.” “MGen Benjie Casuga Acorda Jr. bested several other contenders to become the 29th Chief, Philippine National Police. He was the dark horse being only a 2-star general. He jumped over 3 senior officers occupying 3-star positions. But it’s a given that the President selects the chief from a field of 1 to 3-star generals, said Nong Art of PMA ‘Masigasig’ Class of 1972,” Nong art said.
“For me, officers who have reached the rank of general are properly equipped with the tools of the trade (Experience, Knowledge and Skills), and ready to assume the highest position in the PNP. Perhaps, other generals have more of these qualities but eventually, the appointed chief through self-improvement plus mentoring by his elders, will eventually gain the wisdom to enable him to lead the force effectively, provided however, that he performs his job without fear or favor, and not lose sight of the national interest,” Lomibao said.
“I hardly know Gen Acorda. So, when he was rumored to be an aspirant, I did my own research only to find out that he was one of my intel officers in region 1 where I served as Regional Director, 22 years ago,” he quipped.
“Chief Master Sgt Allan Quigao then my security detail, has this to say when I asked him about his former boss, then Colonel Acorda: “Parang ikaw sir, hindi palaimik, pero mabait at low-profile lang.”
“Kumusta naman sa trabaho, hindi ba involved sa drugs? I asked further. “Masipag sir, at wala akong nababalitan na kalukohan lalo na sa drugs. Eh sa chicks, I joked. Yan sir ang di ko ma-sure. Intel kasi kaya masekreto. That’s the new chief, Police General Bejamin Casuga Acorda,” wrote Gen. Lomibao.
“Trivia: How time flies! I retired 23 years ago.I was the 12th CPNP. The new chief is the 29th!!!” he added.
Highly respected former Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson, the 8th PNP chief from November 16, 1999 to February 16, 2001 has this to say on Gen. Acorda.
“His initial policy statement upon assumption of office to download the command resources to the frontline units gave me the impression that he is one CPNP who understands that accomplishing his mission largely depends on highly motivated men on the ground who should not compromise their integrity in order to support their operational needs,” said the former PNP chief-turned veteran senator who is now simply known as Citizen Ping.
“When he visited me in my office last Thursday (May 4), he struck me as one quiet, serious and focused leader who intends to do good in spite of the relatively short period that he will serve the 220,000 strong police force,” said Gen. Lacson of the famed but now defunct Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force or PAOCTF.
Gen. Acorda’s immediate predecessor, now retired Gen. Jun Azurin of PMA ‘Makatao’ Class of 1989 is known to have advised Gen. Acorda to be strong and brave and not to be afraid of who gets caught and who gets hurt.”
The 28th PNP chief who retired from the police force last April 24 did not mince any word in advising his successor to be strong to lead an honest-to-goodness, a genuine and real police transformation.
The 4th, another friend, retired Gen. Pikoy Cascolan of PMA ‘Sinagtala’ Class of 1986 is known to be a close ally of Gen. Acorda. My former teammate at the PNP Executive Basketball Team became the 24th PNP chief from September 2 to November 10, 2020.
Everybody in Camp Crame knows that it was Gen. Cascolan who named then Brigadier Gen. Acorda as director of the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group following his appointment as PNP chief by then President Duterte.
However, Acorda was transferred to the Personnel Holding Administrative Unit of the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management following Gen. Cascolan’s retirement. The two are known for their long history of friendship dating back from their junior days until they worked together under another friend, the late PNP chief, Gen. Larry Mendoza who was the top cop from March 16, 2001 to March 17, 2002.
When I asked Gen. Cascolan , now a Department of Health Undersecretary to describe Gen. Acorda as PNP chief, he put it all one powerful word. “DESERVING.’
All three retired PNP Chiefs were not around when PBBM installed Gen. Acorda as the 29th PNP chief last April 24. On that day, I was given a ringside ticket to witness the retirement of Gen. Azurin and the assumption of PNP chief Acorda.
I was seated alongside three former PNP chiefs, my Ninong Sonny Razon of PMA ‘Marangal’ Class of 1974, Gen. Nick Bartolome of PMA ‘Mapitagan’ Class of 1980 and Gen. Archie Gamboa of PMA Class 1986.
The three and I, along with dozens of 3-star and 2-star police generals as well as my friends, retired Generals Popong Felix and Gani Nerez, the secretary and undersecretary respectively of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Police and Military Affairs witnessed the historic event made more memorable by PBBM when he went to greet and pay respect to wheelchair-bound uncle of Gen. Azurin, retired Navy Captain Ramon Azurin, an aide-de-camp of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. who never left the Marcoses even when they were exiled to Hawaii in 1986.
Many friends told me that PBBM had even personally asked the retired Navy officer, also a PMA graduate to join him in touring Malacañang Palace prior to Gen. Acorda’s installation. It was a real show of presidential respect and honor to a proven ‘Marcos loyalist,” i learned.
On that day, Gen. Acorda earned his right to lead the 226,000-strong police force and be given the power to command and direct the PNP. As Section 26 of Republic Act 6975 which established the PNP says, he actually now has the power to “direct and control tactical as well as strategic movements, deployment, placement, utilization of the PNP or any of its units and personnel, including its equipment, facilities and other resources.”
An unassuming but combat-tested and God-fearing general, PNP Chief Acorda need to have the full support, trust and confidence of PBBM in carrying out his job, no matter who gets hurt as Gen. Azurin had said.
As the nation observes Mother’s Day today, I would like to bring to everybody’s mind the famous quote of William Ross Wallace: Motherhood takes…the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Samson, the patience of Job, the faith of Abraham, the insight of Daniel, and the courage of David.’
This is say is what Gen. Acorda needs too as he leads his men in battling crime specifically drugs and corruption and ensuring that external factors won’t hamper him from doing his duty efficiently and effectively, with dignity and professionalism amid the so-many challenges the police force is facing.
Before I end, Happy Mothers’ Day to all. How I wish my Nanay Loreta were alive so I can hug and kiss her. I love you Nanay and Tatay Alejandro. Thanks for everything you gave me.