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A rare breed

A POLICE senior superintendent (in other words, colonel). A Marine colonel. A college professor. What did they have in common?

Apart from being members of a rare breed, they were joined by the elephant in the room, and the elephant was PNP Chief “Bato” de la Rosa. He was not in the room but the audience kept throwing questions about him and his “Tokhang” at the three men present.

PSSupt. Dionardo Carlos is Bato’s spokesperson, he is also a Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Police Officer. Prof. Dr. Arthur Casanova, Outstanding Teacher in 1999, was teaching in Mindanao State University in 1978-81 when Bato, enrolled in community development, was his student. Marine Col. Ariel Caculitan, Outstanding Soldier, was spared from the “Bulong Pulungan” audience’s curiosity about General Bato, but he had salutary news on International Women’s Day:

There are 300 ladies in the Marine corps and they’re tough as nails, they can do 30 pull-ups at a time without wincing.

Meeting those three exemplars from different years – the search is now on its 38th year – was a lark. They look like ordinary people, but they are people with extraordinary notions of duty and service. Nominees are vetted by at least three panels who must dig into a deep, capacious box of files, documents, commendations, etc. to authenticate their qualifications. Like a beauty contest, there are screening committees as there are semifinalists and finalists.

Speaking of which, Col. Carlos confirmed that the policewomen who protect President Duterte were handpicked for the job – a new generation of pretty cops that includes a half-Romanian “who used to be a model.”

The 2017 hunt for four teachers, three police officers (generals need not apply), and three soldiers will culminate in a cash reward of R1 million for each of them in September; fancy how when the search began in 1979 the prize was a mere R100,000. I guess that’s what the bank would call catching up with inflation. (Jullie Y. Daza)