Versoza vows to more effective policing

28/09/2008 10:01

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Director General Jesus Versoza on Saturday was sworn in as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon Jr bowed out of the service after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.

Versoza took his oath of office before President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who returned last night from a visit to the United Nations in New York.

Saying he will hit the ground running, Versoza said he will make effective leadership a way of life in the police force.

In his speech at the turnover ceremonies at the PNP headquarters, Camp Crame in Quezon City, Versoza said he feels the "enormous weight" of command but also the "golden opportunity" to start something new in the PNP.

"We will make effective leadership a way of life in the PNP. I will carry on from where my predecessors left off," he said, adding he will "focus on the essential work" in the PNP, down to the precinct level.

On the other hand, he asked the public for their continued support, and faith-based organizations to include the police in their prayers so they can be "transformed into men and women of integrity and self-sacrifice."

He also promised to be a hands-on leader, saying that in developing police leaders at all levels, "I shall lead these leaders."

Versoza added he will continue the police's reform programs and bring them to the local levels.

"We shall hit the ground running by enhancing police services where they matter most," he said.

‘Mamang pulis is back’

In his farewell speech, Razon thanked the more than 120,000 personnel under him for their dedication to their work for helping win back the community’s trust.

"Mamang Pulis is indeed back," he said, adding that police have been serving the community while striking fear in the hearts of criminals.

To President Arroyo, who attended the turnover ceremonies, he said, "This is your Mamang Pulis Sonny Razon reporting that I have done my best."

He also said that during his stint from Oct. 1 last year, there had been several incidents that "took us by surprise, tested our resilience and challenged our capabilities."

These included the Glorietta blast, the Batasan Complex bombing, and the Manila Peninsula standoff in November last year.

All these incidents, he said, "reinforced (our) dedication to uphold the rule of law."

On the other hand, Razon said his leadership kept on despite allegations of kidnapping by ZTE star witness Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr.
and a Feb. 29 grand rally by the opposition in Makati City.

He also said he had beefed up the PNP's human rights capability by working in close partnership with the military and with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

At present, he said the PNP has 1,636 human rights desks nationwide.