A change of command ceremony marks the transition of leadership from one to another. The ceremony is an opportunity to honor the outgoing officer for his service and to accord the appropriate to welcome the incoming officer.
On the 24th day of April 2023, there occurred a change of command in Camp BGen Rafael T. Crame, Quezon City. The sun was cooperative that day, shining, filling the air with a sense of anticipation and excitement. The officers of PNP ceremoniously gathered on the parade ground, standing in full attention, waiting for the ceremony to begin.
President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr., the Commander-in-Chief, handed over the Command Saber to Police General Benjamin Casuga Acorda Jr., signifying the latter’s appointment as the 29th Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), the second PNP Chief appointed by President Marcos. With his appointment, PGen Acorda received the four-star rank of a Police General.
The President acknowledged the significant accomplishments of PNP in the past eight months under the leadership of PGen Acorda’s predecessor Police General Azurin, emphasizing substantial achievements in peace and order, particularly, in the government campaigns against terrorism, carnapping, loose firearms, child abuse, gambling, smuggling, and other illegal activities.
President Marcos also outlined his directives to the new Chief PNP in support to the administration’s development goals, especially on law, order, and peace. He urged the 228,000-strong officers and rank-and-file of PNP to support the reform initiatives of the past leadership, particularly, the internal cleansing program, stepping it up, and buttressed by the strict adherence to the rule of law in every police operation.
Police General Acorda Jr. replaced Police General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. who compulsory retired from the police service on his 56th birthday. The 29th PNP Chief is a member of the Philippine Military Academy’s “Sambisig” Class of 1991. He previously served as the PNP Director for Intelligence. His career in the police service is based on his many years of operational experience as a junior and field grade officer in the PNP operational support and line units in Northern Luzon, particularly in Ilocos Norte and Bugallon, Pangasinan. PGen Acorda also served as Chief of the Counter Intelligence and Security Division of the Directorate for Intelligence in April 2017; Chief, Regional Intelligence Division of NCRPO in May 2018; Chief of the Explosive Management Division of the Civil Security Group and Regional Director of PRO 10 in 2021 before he became the Director of the Directorate for Intelligence in August 2022.
In his message, PGen Acorda called for a “Serbisyong Nagkakaisa”, anchored on the administration’s call for unity and nation-building, moving towards a unified PNP. He stated that critics from the media are welcome as he views them as our independent checks and balances, and our allies in bringing out the truth. He appealed to everyone, for their support, cooperation, and commitment to overcome the challenges the organization is facing.
“I am soliciting the support of everyone for I cannot do it alone. I ask for your cooperation, your support, and your commitment. Together, we will overcome the challenges the organization is facing. Together, we will prove that PNP serves with dignity and professionalism. As your humble servant, I will do my best and lead by example. Let us work together for the betterment of our country.”
“My stand on anti-illegal drugs is clear: No police should be involved in pushing, using or whatever means of illegal drug trade. You will be charged and removed from the service. This is my warning to each and every one of you. Our fight will be holistic in prevention and aggressive in operations. Under my leadership, rewards and punishments will be quick and decisive. It shall be fair and impartial, and due process shall be observed. We will establish unity, promote patriotism, uplift morale, strengthen cooperation, and instill discipline in the organization.”
The PNP Chief introduced his strategical Framework known as “A.C.O.R.D.A.” which stands for: Administratively call for unity and Nation building toward a modified PNP; Commitment more than over to the Anti-illegal Drug Campaign; Organizational assignments and positionings will be based on merit, ability and moral ascendancy; Relentless on Anti-criminality campaigns through intensive police visibility and sincere police presence; Development and upliftment /Morale and welfare of personnel in the organization; and “Always do the right thing and let us hate crimes and fight criminals.”
The officers of PNP felt a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to serve their country. The change of command ceremony stands as a clear sign of hope under a fresh start, a new leadership and responsibility that spell what are to be expected. PNP is in good hands, and the officers, and men and women are ready to face any challenge that lies ahead.