New PNP spokesman is former UN officer, Harvard graduate

Rambo Talabong

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New PNP spokesman is former UN officer, Harvard graduate
Senior Superintendent Benigno Durana is appointed chief of the Philippine National Police Public Information Office, effectively becoming spokesperson of the 190,000-strong police force

MANILA, Philippines – A former United Nations (UN) officer and Harvard graduate is the new voice of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Senior Superintendent Benigno Durana has been appointed the new chief of the PNP Public Information Office, effectively becoming the unifying spokesperson of the 190,000-strong police force.

Durana replaced his Philippine Military Academy (PMA) classmate Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, who has been designated as head of the Western Visayas (Region 6) regional police.

Like Bulalacao, Durana is considered an achiever in his PMA batch, the Maringal Class of 1988. He is set to be among the first in the batch to “get stars” or become generals in police jargon.

The PNP expects no less of Durana, as the spokesperson will be fielded in the realm of public perception and be bombarded with questions ranging from developments in the highest offices of Camp Crame, to crimes committed in the streets.

‘Achiever’ Durana

Durana presents himself as a policeman bent on law enforcement reforms, public administration, and intelligence gathering.

According to his resume shared with reporters on Friday, June 1, he served as the chief of strategic information in the police headquarters of the United Nations mission in East Timor from 2001 to 2003.

From 2008 to 2009, Durana returned to the missionary life, joining the UN Observer Mission in Georgia, which watches over the ceasefire between forces of country Georgia and disputed territory Abhkazia.

There, Durana worked with the “police component,” and “secured funds for foreign governments.”

Five years after, he got accepted into the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, earning a masters degree in public administration and policy in 2013.

Prior to his new assignment as spokesperson, Durana was an official of the PNP Directorate for Police Community Relations, the civil relations policy-crafting arm of the PNP.

PNP experience

Durana first made it to the news back in 2015, as he was part of the PNP Board of Inquiry that probed the botched Mamasapano operation which left 44 elite cops dead.

Durana himself used to be assigned to the Special Action Force (SAF).

He led the Cubao police station from 2003 to 2005, and later became the provincial police chief of Aklan from 2007 to 2008.

Durana also served as senior executive assistant in the PNP chief’s office during the term of retired top cop Jesus Verzosa. From 2010 to 2012, he became the chief of the PNP’s Intelligence Research Center. 

As new PNP spokesperson, Durana is expected to face incessant questions regarding issues such as the government’s unrelenting anti-illegal drugs campaign, the SAF allowances mess, and crimes across the country. – 

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.