Controversial officers among 10 promoted PNP generals

Bea Cupin
Among them are Marcelo Garbo Jr, who led the administration's 'chess game' against the Garcias of Cebu, and Benjamin Magalong, who affirmed the delisting of wanted man Delfin Lee
NEW GENERALS ANNOUNCED. In this photo, President Benigno Aquino III (center) is flanked by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas (L) and PNP Chief Dir Gen Alan Purisima during a Command Conference at Camp Crame. Photo by Rey Baniquet/Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – Two controversial officers lead the roster of 10 who have been promoted to general rank, as announced by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday, April 14.

Chief of Directorial Staff Marcelo Garbo Jr – the lead cop in the Aquino administration’s “chess game” against former Cebu Governor Gwendolyn “Gwen” Garcia in the last elections – is now a 3-star police general, having been promoted to Deputy Director General (Lieutenant General).

Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Director Benjamin Magalong – who was taken to task for affirming the removal of businessman Delfin Lee from the most wanted list – now holds the Police Director rank (Major General).

They lead 8 others who were promoted to general rank, upon the approval of President Benigno Aquino III, based on recommendations by PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima and the endorsement of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II. The PNP is under the DILG. 

Also promoted to Police Director (Major General) rank was PNP Director for Operations Police Director Ricardo Marquez.

Seven police officers were also  promoted to Chief Superintendent rank (Brigadier General):

  • Chief Superintendent Allen Bantolo, NCRPO
  • Chief Superintendent Alberto Supapo, Police Regional Office 6
  • Chief Superintendent Keith Ernald Singian, Police Regional Office 13
  • Chief Superintendent Moro Virgilio Lazo, Police Regional Office 1 
  • Chief Superintendent Napoleon Taas, Information Technology Management Service 
  • Chief Superintendent Danilo Pelisco, Directorate for Integrated Police Operations-Visayas 
  • Chief Superintendent Rey Tang, Internal Affairs Service

Garbo and the capitol stand-off

Garbo, as regional police chief of Central Visayas during the 2013 election season, aggressively implemented the order of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to suspend Garcia, an opposition member. Garcia’s refusal to leave the capitol while her case was under appeal in court, resulted in a standoff at the provincial capitol.

“It’s like playing a chess game,” said Garbo of the situation in December 2012. 

Garcia said Garbo threatened to “physically remove” her from the capitol. She also said the would hold the then-regional police chief liable for anything that would happen to her children. Garbo, meanwhile, denied Garcia’s allegations.  

Shortly after the elections, Garbo was promoted to become head of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), before taking on his current role as the PNP’s 4th in command.

Delfin Lee’s delisting 

Magalong, for his part, was criticized as CIDG head for almost letting off the hook Globe Asiatique’s Lee, who was arested for a P6-billion syndicated estafa case.

Lee’s camp alleged his arrest was illegal since the CIDG earlier certified in a letter that Lee had no standing warrants of arrest. (READ: PNP, Delfin Lee, and 2 conflicting letters). 

Magalong also issued a letter affirming the “delisting” of Lee from the PNP’s most wanted list. Another letter issued by Purisima himself said the PNP was “in the process of de-listing Mr. Delfin Lee from the list of wanted person following procedure,” and that the final say would come from Roxas. 

Purisima later defended Lee’s alleged “delisting.” The CIDG at that time, Purisima said, was made to believe that a Court of Appeals (CA) decision that “quashed, recalled, and lifted” a warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 42 in Pampanga was already in effect. 

The PNP chief also added that “delisting” does not affect any standing warrants for wanted persons. Magalong was assigned to the CIDG in December 2013. – 

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.