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Marcos names Benjamin Acorda Jr as new PNP chief

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday named Police Major General Benjamin Acorda Jr. as the new chief of the Philippine National Police.

Acorda will replace outgoing PNP chief Police General Rodolfo Azurin Jr., who is set to retire on Monday.

Marcos will grace the change of command ceremony at Camp Crame on Monday morning. 

Prior to his appointment as next PNP chief, Acorda was the PNP director for intelligence.

A member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Sambisig" Class of 1991, Acorda hails from Ilocos Norte, the home province of Marcos. 

'Dark horse'

A press statement from Malacañang said Acorda was considered as the real "dark horse" in the race for the next overall head of the national police by his peers and subordinates.

Acorda finished elementary at the Gabaldon Elementary School’s Special Education Center in Laoag City before going to the Bacarra National Comprehensive High School where he met his wife Oliva Balasi Afaga, with whom he as four children.

Acorda earned his Master's Degree in Management from the Philippine Christian University.

"He is a recipient of the Bronze Cross Medal, a prestigious single grade military decoration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines which is awarded for 'heroism involving risk of life'," the Palace statement said. 

Specialized trainings

Among Acorda's specialized trainings as a police officer include a Police Intelligence Officer Advance Course, a Logistics Management Course, and Training Course on Drug Law Enforcement for the Philippines.

As a commander, he headed the Balungao, Sison, Bolinao and Sual Municipal Police Stations in Pangasinan and later, the Palawan Police Provincial Office from 2014 to 2016.

"As Palawan police chief, he turned the local police force to No. 1 in operational accomplishments from being No. 5 in the entire Mimaropa Region," Malacañang said. 

Acorda also served as the Regional Director of the Police Regional Office 10 in Northern Mindanao. During his stint as regional director, he earned a high public trust rating and kept crime at a minimal level.

As an Investigator, he was once chief of the Camanava Criminal Investigation and Detection Team of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group; was a former CIDG Region 4-B chief; and headed the CIDG Anti-Fraud and Commercial Crimes Division which solved a number of major crimes in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

Acorda also used to be Chief of the Operations and Plans' Branch, Intelligence Officer and Assistant Provincial Director for Operations of the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office in 2008 and CIDG Deputy Chief of Operations in 2010. He also was once Deputy Director for Operations and later Deputy Director for Administration of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).

The official was also former chief of staff of the PNP Civil Security Group and briefly commanded the PNP Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group created to go after rogues in police uniform. 

Warm welcome

In a statement, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said he "warmly welcome[s]" Acorda's appointment, noting the police official's accomplishments when he was regional director of Police Regional Office 10 in Northern Mindanao.

"Last year, under his tenure as PNP RD, Northern Mindanao saw a 9.40 percent decrease in crime rate from January to June," said Zubiri, who is from Bukidnon.

"Our streets and communities have been safer and more peaceful, and our trust in our law enforcement agencies much higher."

He added that he believes that what Acorda has done for Region 10, "he will be able to do for the whole country as well." 

Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa also lauded Acorda's appointment.

"He is a silent operator and a very professional officer who doesnt give in to pressures from selfish politicians," said Dela Rosa of Acorda.

Himself a former PNP chief, Dela Rosa noted Acorda's exposure in the field of intelligence, particularly counter-intelligence, which he said is "badly needed" in the internal cleansing program of the police force. 

For her part, Senator Risa Hontiveros said she is certain that Acorda "will rise to the challenge" of cleansing the PNP's ranks.

"The PNP is highly politicized and full of problems that stand in the way of law enforcement and justice," she said in a separate statement.

"Police Gen. Acorda's experience as former head of intelligence will be an important asset to deep cleanse the PNP's ranks." 

Meanwhile, House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro expressed hope Acorda's would not be "another regionalistic patronage appointment."

"Such an appointment creates more division and animosity among officers and often times result in squabblings in the ranks. This also leads to human rights violations to impress their commander-in-chief to get a better chance of being promoted," she said.KBK/AOL, GMA Integrated News