MANILA, Philippines – There will be no politics for this retiring policeman.
In an interview on Monday at Camp Crame, Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina ruled out the possibility of going into politics or accepting a government post.
“I’m really a private person. It’s about time for me to go back to my family,” he said. “I only have 20 years to live. It’s about time to see my family and see them well.
Espina will officially retire when he reaches the mandatory age of 56 on July 16 after serving for more than two decades in the PNP.
He became the 150,000-strong PNP’s OIC in December last year after the Ombudsman slapped PNP chief Alan Purisima with a preventive suspension order in connection with his plunder case.
Espina also became the PNP’s human face after the botched police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 25.
44 members of the PNP Special Action Force died at the hands of fighters from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and private armed groups after they raided the hideout of Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan.
In the aftermath, Espina earned the public’s sympathy after he openly cried at an inquiry conducted by the House of Representatives, describing the act committed by the rebels as “overkill.”
He also blasted his higher-ups and questioned why he, as the PNP’s OIC, was left out of the dark regarding the operation.
Since then, many have called for him to assume the cudgels of PNP chief. However, President Benigno Aquino III said Espina’s age barred him from assuming the helm since the PNP Law prohibits those who are nearing their mandatory age of retirement to become the chief.
As to the offers of future government service, Espina answered: “I don’t know, I’m just an ordinary PNP officer.”