New AFP, PNP, NBI chiefs named

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has filled up key positions in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Malacañang announced on Monday.

Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro was named AFP chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. was appointed PNP chief while long-time assistant director Medardo de Lemos was promoted as new NBI director.

Prior to his appointment, Bacarro was serving as the commander of the AFP-Southern Luzon Command (SolCom).

“The change of command for the new AFP chief of staff will be on 8 August. This will give time for Gen. Bacarro to wind down at the SolCom and provide him with the transition to his new position in Camp Aguinaldo,” Press Secretary Trixie Cruz Angeles said in a statement.

Bacarro, a native of La Union province, graduated in the upper quartile of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Maringal” Class of 1988.

Angeles said outgoing AFP chief of staff Gen. Andres Centino, a classmate of Bacarro in PMA, is slated for a new post befitting a former chief of staff.

She noted that in accordance with Republic Act 11709, Bacarro will be the first CSAFP to be given a fixed three-year term.

Republic Act 11709, signed by former President Rodrigo Duterte on 13 April sets a fixed three-year tour of duty for the AFP chief of staff, vice chief of staff, the deputy chief of staff, the major service commanders (Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy), unified command commanders, and inspector general “unless sooner terminated by the President.”

Shortly after graduation, Bacarro was assigned with the 5th Infantry Division in Isabela province at the height of the counter-insurgency campaign in the Cagayan Valley from June 1988 until 1995.

Bacarro earned his Medal of Valor, the highest award for combat in the AFP, during his assignment in Isabela province.

Azurin, on the other hand, is a graduate of Philippine Military Academy “Makatao” Class of 1989.

The 55-year-old official is currently the commander of the Northern Luzon Police Area composed of Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Azurin also served as the former commander of the Southern Luzon Police Area which include the regions of CALABARZON (Region 4-A), MIMAROPA (Region 4-B) and Bicol (Region 5).

Throughout the years, he has held star-rank positions in Camp Crame as director of the Directorate for Comptrollership as well as the Directorate for Information and Communication Technology Management.

As a newly-promoted police general, Azurin served director of the Maritime Group and later as the regional director of Police Regional Office 1 in Ilocos, the bailiwick of the Marcoses.

NBI’s newly-appointed director is the bureau’s most senior officer.

His appointment, according to Angeles, is a strong indication of the President’s “commitment in strengthening the system of meritocracy in the promotion, placement and hiring of government personnel.”

A lawyer by profession, De Lemos has been serving in the country’s primary investigation body for over 37 years.

He was earlier designated NBI officer-in-charge by Department Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla.

He succeeded Eric Distor, who was appointed by Duterte in March this year.

De Lemos graduated from the University of the PhilippinesCollege of Law in 1983 and from the NBI Academy in Tagaytay in 1985.

He obtained a Career Executive Service Officer Rank in 2003.

According to Angeles, part of De Lemos’ accomplishments as an NBI official is the crafting of the bureau’s Rules of Engagement which defined the policy on the use of deadly force in its enforcement operations.

He is also regular lecturer at the Philippine Judicial Academy on the use of deadly force in the security training for judges.

MICHELLE GUILLANG @tribunephl_mish

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