MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Nicanor Bartolome has admitted that President Aquino informed him he may replace resigned Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno, but he said this is not yet final.
“We talked in the past but there is still nothing final in our discussions,” the PNP chief said at a gathering in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday.
Bartolome also declined to comment on whether he will accept the position of DILG undersecretary if and when it is formally offered to him.
"I have no comment. We have yet to talk (again) to that effect, so no comment there…I would rather wait for the final decision,” he said. “We have to discuss this thoroughly because this is not an easy decision.”
Bartolome also said he has yet to discuss his retirement plans with the President. He is set to retire in March 2013 when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.
He said he is still PNP chief, but noted that he is serving at the pleasure of the President.
Bartolome attended the Bakas Parangaral Awards on Wednesday, wherein nearly 300 individuals and organizations were given the Bayaning Likas (Bakas) Parangal plaques and medals for their efforts in the search and retrieval operations in the plane crash involving the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
He attended the event in civilian attire--a barong--raising speculation that he is no longer chief of the PNP.
When asked by reporters why he was in barong, he said: "I'm wearing the same attire as that of General [Arturo] Cacdac.”
"General Cacdac is already on non-duty status so he is now wearing barong so we both wore barong…I was the one who read his citation, thus I wore (a barong). Do not put any meaning to it. It’s just that we need to wear the (barong) attire this afternoon," Bartolome added.