By Julius B. Embile
LEGAZPI CITY --- In a turnover of command ceremony held last Monday at Camp General Simeon Ola here, members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol welcomed their new regional chief — Chief Supt. Antonio N. Gardiola Jr.
Gardiola, a member of Philippine Military Academy’s “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, took the helm of the police force in the region from his fellow Naga City native, Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon Buenafe, who was set to retire from the service after the transfer of command.
The ceremony was attended by PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who happened to be also a classmate of Gardiola in the PMA.
Dela Rosa inducted Gardiola to his new post and congratulated his ‘mistah’ on his new designation.
The PNP chief explained that Gardiola’s new job would be a challenge as he has a lot to live up to, an apparent reference to the accomplishments of his predecessor.
Gardiola vowed to sustain Buenafe’s success in the war on drugs, criminality, communist insurgency, and the weeding out of bad eggs in the police force.
In addition, Gardiola declared war on corruption and terrorism.
“I am here to serve the people of Region 5. I am here to devote my time and effort to serve you, fellow Bicolanos, and ensure that our region continues to remain clothed in safety and security that my predecessors, especially our mistah Chief Supt. Buenafe, your former RD, strived hard to achieve,” he said. “We will sustain your momentum and will continue to forge at full speed.”
“I will be facing the biggest challenge in my career, especially now that our nation is facing a battle against the menace of society --.illegal drugs coupled by this seemingly global spreading threat that is terrorism,” he added.
Before assuming the highest police post in Bicol, Gardiola held the position of director of PNP’s Highway Patrol Group.