- (Aaron B. Recuenco)

Three former Davao City police chiefs are being eyed by presumptiv­e President Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte to replace Philippine National Police Director General Ricardo C. Marquez.

They are Chief Supt. Ronald dela Rosa, Chief Supt. Ramon Apolinario, and Senior Supt. Ramon Aspera.

Dela Rosa is the closest to Duterte. Dela Rosa was sacked from his post as commander of the election standby force of the PNP over a pro-Duterte Facebook post.

“You have been the greatest influence in my career. I never feared to enforce the law and prevent crimes because you are always there watching my back ..... To the greatest leader on earth, Mayor RRD, happy birthday sir! Wishing you the best of health and the best of 2016! May God bless you more!” said Dela Rosa in his Facebook post on March 28.

Sources said Duterte liked Dela Rosa, nicknamed “Bato” for his physical built and being a very tough law enforcer, because aside from being a Davaoeño, he is also results-oriented and a clean police officer. “Bato is very straight, he was never involved in any corruption activities,” said a source.

“He never fears to enforce the law for as long as he believes that he is doing the right thing. That’s what Mayor Duterte liked on him the most,” said another source.

The latest accomplish­ment of Dela Rosa that further cemented his stature as a tough and smart police commander was the rescue of 52-year-old Sally Chua who was kidnapped in Quezon City and taken to Davao City.

During the successful rescue operation conceptual­ized by Dela Rosa in 2013, three of her kidnappers died while two others were arrested. No civilians were harmed during the incident although it was carried out in one of the busy streets of Davao City.

He served as Davao City police chief from January 2012 to October 2013. He was then assigned to Camp Crame in Quezon City where he got his first star.

Apolinario, nicknamed Apol by his mistahs or classmates at the Philippine Military Academy, finished Executive Education Program on Public Financial Management at the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, in Cambridge, Massachuse­tts, in 2004.

After his graduation in 1985, he was assigned to the 189th Philippine Constabula­ry Company and intelligen­ce officer of the Nueva Ecija Constabula­ry Command.

He was designated as chief of police of San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija in 1993 and became the group commander of the 162nd Provincial Mobile Group in Guimba, Nueva Ecija in 1994.

He was the chief, production branch at the regional intelligen­ce division of the Police Regional Office 3 and the National Capital Region Police Office.

He served as Davao City police chief from 2008 to 2010.

If he were to be asked, Director General Ricardo C. Marquez, PNP chief, would advise Duterte to look for the best and brightest officer as his successor.

“It should be the best and the brightest in this organizati­on. Somebody who would command respect,” said Marquez, who is set to retire in August this year.

Marquez had earlier said that he will file a courtesy resignatio­n on June 30 to give Duterte in choosing his PNP chief.

The three names floated, however, are considered still juniors when seniority is factored in.

Dela Rosa is a member of PMA Class 1986; Apolinario, officer-incharge of the Region 4-B police, is from Class 1985; while Aspera, chief of staff of the Anti-Kidnapping Group, is from Class 1987. Marquez is a member of PMA Class 1982.

Marquez said there is no rule that prohibits the president from choosing who he wants as PNP chief as long as the rank is chief superinten­dent up to deputy director general (three-star general).

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