Pongsapat 'not neutral enough' to rejoin police force
Failed Pheu Thai Party governor candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen should not return to the police force because he is no longer politically neutral, a former police chief and academic said yesterday.
Former police chief Pratin Santiprapop said that though the law allows Pongsapat to be reinstated in the police bureau, it is clear that he is attached to the ruling Pheu Thai party as he ran under the party's banner. Therefore, he said, Pongsapat should not return to a post that requires him to be politically neutral.
Pongsapat has yet to say if he will continue on his political journey or return to the police force. However, the Royal Thai Police has said it is ready to welcome him back.
At a press conference on Sunday, Pongsapat conceded defeat but did not reveal his next move, saying he wanted to wait till Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra returns from Europe on Thursday.
Political scientist Sukhum Nualsakul, meanwhile, said if Pongsapat did decide to return to his government post, he should be transferred to another field that is away from the justice system.
"I don't agree [if Pongsapat is to return as police officer], especially if he is to work in the ad-
ministration line. Running in the election means he has already taken sides. If he returns to the police force, which is meant to protect justice in society, there will be doubts about his integrity," Sukhum said.
Chulalongkorn University political scientist Chaiyan Chaiyaporn said if Pongsapat wanted to return to bureaucracy, he had to get rid of his political image first. Otherwise, he would have the same problems that Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Kamronwit Thoopkrajang is facing.
Kamronwit's neutrality has been under question since he put a photograph of him posing with former PM Thaksin Shinawatra on public display and has started voicing full support for the former leader.
A source said it was likely that Pongsapat would ask to be reinstated as deputy police chief and secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board. Since Pongsapat will not retire until 2016, he is expected to replace National Police Chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew when the latter retires in 2014.
Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said yesterday that he would consider reinstating Pongsapat at the Office of Narcotics Control Board. However, the minister said that Pongsapat must first file a request to be reinstated as police officer as he had to quit the force to run in the Bangkok governor election.
According to the law, Pongsapat who quit the police force to run in the election has the right to be reinstated to his earlier post or a post equal to his earlier post if he does not win the election.