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THE OUTSIDER (Melandrew T. Velasco): A well-deserved extension for PNP Chief Gen. Acorda

Of the notable decisions that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has made nowadays in his official capacity, it is the term extension for PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. that counts among the soundest.

More than a presidential prerogative, this reflects Marcos’ desire for continuity anchored on threats to national security as well as having loyal and only “the best and the brightest” to serve in his official Cabinet including the uniformed service. Indeed, it is also a wise decision, coming from a man inured to the ways of politics.

Mr. Marcos couldn’t have made a better decision than extend Acorda’s term, given that the “top cop” fits the bill: He is responsible for preserving peace and order as well as helping neutralize threats to national security, holding big-time syndicates at bay, pursuing the   internal purge of PNP and in the past, leading an active role in the United Nations’ peacekeeping missions.

A graduate of PMA Class 1991, Acorda will continue to act as PNP chief until March 31, 2024.

All along, I’ve been rooting for Gen. Acorda in my opinion columns in this and other publications.  I’ve known him to be a man of integrity, honor, and valor — qualities that have earned him the continued trust and confidence of Marcos Jr. Now, the commander-in-chief entrusts the general with an extended term to further oversee the vast organization of 224,000 police personnel.

The PNP is supposed to serve and protect the citizenry, being the first line of defense against criminals and this is definitely a tall order for Acorda.

The PNP chief recently said at the Traditional Lighting of Lanterns and Christmas Tree at Camp Crame that he is neither brilliant nor pretentious, adding that his accomplishments will speak for himself.

For one, Acorda is credited with having refurbished the PNP image, as shown by its 84 percent acceptance rating, one of the highest ratings in the Marcos Cabinet. The recent promotions of many police officers by President BBM, which the PNP Chief laboriously fought for, also boosted the morale of the entire police force.  While there is no denying the fact that some recidivists and scalawags in uniform continue to give the PNP a bad name, the continuing the internal cleansing of the PNP can be added to Acorda’s “unfinished” business. After all, Acorda is in familiar territory once again, having briefly commanded the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group that went after rogue cops.

Rising from the ranks, Acorda said he tried to follow in the footsteps, or the career path, of his “idol,” the late General Leandro “Larry” Mendoza to whom he had served as aide-de-camp for five years. Both of them had acted as head of the PNP directorate for intelligence on different eras, before they reached the top of the PNP totem pole, with Acorda becoming the 29th chief of the National Police.

Many of his peers describe Acorda as the quintessential officer and gentleman.  His friends and men refer to him as a “humble public servant.”

He was born and raised in Ilocos Norte by parents who had instilled in him the values of patriotism and genuine public service.

From PMA, Acorda’s career journey began soon after he enlisted with the PNP and was assigned as police station chief of several municipalities of Pangasinan such as Balungao, Sison, Bolinao and Sual.

Since then, it was all action and promotion for this young officer.

Acorda was also one of the pioneering officers who formed the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group, gaining recognition from China and Taiwan for launching a major offensive in the country that led to the arrest of hundreds of Chinese and Taiwanese nationals engaged in cyber-crimes.

His productive service included foreign stints with the United Nations as a member of the Blue Helmets or police officers who have been deployed twice or more representing the Philippine contingent to the UN peacekeeping missions.

My friendship with Gen. Jun Acorda goes way back in 1993 when we worked together under the tutelage of then Pangasinan provincial director Col. Amado T. Espino Jr. Then a lieutenant, Jun Acorda and I teamed up for some special projects such as the Lingayen Gulf War — a crusade to save the endangered gulf — Pista’y Dayat, 1995 Palarong Pambansa, and flagship projects like the Sual Coal Power Plant and the San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam. Thirty years after, Gen. Acorda and I will be teaming up again along with Gen. Reynaldo V. Velasco for the book project on the late PNP Chief Mendoza.

When he took over the helm on April 4, 2023, Gen. Acorda anchored his leadership on five-focused agenda for a better and more effective police force namely: 1) Personnel Morale and Welfare; 2) Community Engagement; 3) Integrity Enhancement; 4) ICT Development; and, 5) Honest Law Enforcement Operations.

Among his notable feats as PNP Chief was the drop by 8.24 of index crime volume based on the Crime Information Reporting and Analysis System. From January 1 to Oct.  31, 2023, there were only 34,908 recorded cases and these dropped to 2,877 cases or 8.24 percent compared to the same period last year.  Likewise, the PNP tackled “8 focus crimes” such as murder, homicide, physical injury, robbery, theft, rape, car and motor theft. As a result, focus crimes dropped by 8.18 percent, from 34,702 cases in 2022 to only 31,864 in 2023.

In one of my opinion columns last November, I wrote:  These promising outcomes stand as a clear testament to the tireless and coordinated efforts of the PNP contrary to popular narratives. The statistics undeniably demonstrate a noteworthy decline in the overall crime rate during the 10 months of 2023.

This success mirrors the PNP’s commitment to ‘Serbisyong Nagkakaisa’ and his unwavering vow to decisively suppress criminal activities, ensuring the safety

Now that he’s back in the saddle, he can have more time and a vast PNP machinery at his disposal to look after and complete his unfinished task – to secure the country from internal and external threats to peace and order and national security.

I and my family are one with you General Acorda, all the way. We salute you and thank you for your continuing service and constant love for Pilipinas!