Is General Acorda a weak leader?

By Alex P. Vidal

“Of all losses, time is the most irrecuperable for it can never be redeemed.”—King Henry VIII.

THE perception that newly appointed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Police Major General Benjamin Acorda Jr. “is not a tough leader” has started to reverberate.

“Not tough” means either he has no backbone to run after police scalawags and eradicate major crimes that have bedeviled our society, or he became a PNP chief only because he was an Ilocano like President Bongbong Marcos Jr. and his appointment was a “favor” before his retirement in December.

When Acorda announced that cops involved in major crimes like illegal drug trafficking shouldn’t be identified or named in public, some people lamented that he should have been appointed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and not the PNP.

“Look, even in his speech, he sounds like a pastor in a fundamentalist sect,” remarked a civilian volunteer crime buster. “How can he curb the crimes and discipline the bad eggs in the police organization?”

Acorda, who became the second to lead the national police force under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., traces his roots to La Union in the Ilocos region.

He took over from erstwhile PNP chief General Rodolfo Azurin Jr. on April 24, and is expected to serve as the 29th head of the PNP until his retirement on December 3.

Acorda, who belongs to the Philippine Military Academy “Sambisig” Class of 1991, led the intelligence and counterintelligence efforts of the PNP prior to his recent appointment.

Among the other positions he held were chief of staff of the Civil Security Group, deputy director for operations of the National Capital Region Police Office, and chief of the Northern Mindanao police.


Before the radiance and luster of the recent Coronation of King Charles III escapes our memory, let me share some of the most scandalous and infamous episodes during the reign of Henry VIII, the King of England from April 22, 1509 until his death in 1547.

As Sir Thomas More refuses to recognize Henry VIII’s divorce and ascendancy as Supreme Head of the new Church of England, A Man for All Seasons, a play by Robert Bolt written in a book, reveals the risk of speaking truth to power and the clash that follows when fierce political will collides with deep moral conviction.

This royal adviser is already refusing to help Cardinal Wolsey pressure the Catholic Church into granting King Henry VIII a divorce.

When Wolsey dies, More becomes Henry’s new Chancellor–even though he’s even less willing to help the king secure a divorce than Wolsey was.

The king visits More and isn’t psyched when More demonstrates his unwillingness to break with the Church.

Meanwhile, a sniveling upstart named Richard Rich (not to be confused with Richie Rich) is considering trying to help the shrewd adviser, Thomas Cromwell, in bringing More down.

When Henry decides to leave the Catholic Church in order to get his divorce, remarry, and form his own church, More won’t go with him.

He resigns his post as Chancellor, which passes to his devious rival, Cromwell.


When More refuses to sign an oath swearing that the king is now the head of the Church–while otherwise remaining silent–Cromwell goes after him.

More is imprisoned for high treason and interrogated by Cromwell and More’s old friend, the Duke of Norfolk. But neither Norfolk nor More’s own loving family members can convince him to sign the oath.

Finally, More is charged with treason in court, where he has to defend himself against Cromwell’s arguments. He seems to be doing pretty well in his own defense.

Richard Rich lies, claiming that More openly contested the king’s supremacy over the Church in conversation. More’s fate is sealed: he’ll be put to death.

Now free to speak, he eloquently denounces the act of Parliament that authorized the split with the Catholic Church.

Finally, More is executed by beheading, and he submits to his death peacefully and bravely, confident God will accept him. A voiceover at the end explains that More’s rival Cromwell was later executed for treason, too–although his greatest betrayer, Richard Rich, died in bed of natural causes.

So that’s anticlimactic.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)