Malacañang on Monday said the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) was already decided upon by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a virtual presser, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte had made a decision but he could only announce it once official appointment papers were released.

“I’m not at liberty to announce anything unless I have the appointment paper and this is a well-established practice of my office,” he said.

The new PNP chief will replace controversial top cop Gen. Debold Sinas, who will retire on May 8.

Sinas was promoted to PNP chief in November last year, becoming the third police officer to head the PNP in 2020, following Gen. Archie Gamboa and Gen. Camilo Cascolan.

Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said his boss, Interior and National Police Commission chief Eduardo Año, had made a recommendation for the position.

“We expect…na within the next few days bago matapos ang linggong ito ay magkakaroon ng anunsiyo ang ating pangulo kung sino ang kaniyang pipiliin dahil may karapatan po ang ating pangulo na pumili from any of the star rank of the (PNP),” he said in a Laging Handa briefing,

“I would expect…that the president would choose the next Philippine National Police on the basis of seniority, on the basis of merit and on the basis of experience as a police officer, as a police general dahil doon lang po manggagaling sa rank of police general or police brigadier general up, ang susunod na magiging pinuno ng ating (PNP),” he added. John Ezekiel J. Hirro###