[PHOTO AT LEFT - Cadette Roan  Marie  Dinlo Bascugin MANILA, Philippines]

MANILA,  MARCH 20, 2009 (STAR) By Cecille Suerte Felipe - In what has so far been a man’s world, a woman has outsmarted 303 cadets in the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) by graduating valedictorian of batch 2009.

Cadette Roan Marie Dinlo Bascugin, 22, of Cavite topped the 304 graduates, who will be officially appointed by President Arroyo to the PNP, Bureau of Jail Management (BJMP) and Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) during their graduation rites in Camp Castañeda in Silang, Cavite on March 26.

Bascugin is the first female cadet to graduate valedictorian since the PNPA schooling for future police officials became a four-year course in 2004.

PNP administrator Chief Superintendent Danilo Abarsoza told The STAR that Bascugin, of the PNPA Kaisang-Bisig Class of 2009, would be one of the 264 graduates to join the PNP.

Abarsoza said 25 PNPA graduates will join the BJMP and 15 will be assigned to BFP.

All the graduates will have ranks of inspector, equivalent to lieutenant in the military.

During interview, Bascugin said she hoped to help bring the police closer to the people and improve the image of the PNP organization, ranked second most corrupt agency in the government in a recent survey by Pulse Asia.

She admitted that four years ago, joining the police force had never crossed her mind, though public service runs in the family. Her father Superintendent Rustico Bascugin is head of a unit at the PNP-Police Community Relation Group (PCRG), while her elder brother is a police officer 1.

Her father also graduated from the PNPA, Class 1984.

“My (elder brother) will certainly salute me, but in our house, he will always be my kuya (big brother),” Bascugin said, adding that she is also expected to salute her father.

Before she entered the academy, Bascugin was a freshman psychology student at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, but she found herself filling up the form for the PNPA.

“My tatay (father) was the one who encouraged me, he served as my inspiration while in the academy,” said Bascugin, adding that she never actually expected that she would top the class because all she did was to do what was expected of her as a police cadet.

Just like other cadets, Bascugin pointed out that in the four years of study at the PNPA, she always made sure that she would give her best, not to impress her instructors, but as a matter of personal belief.

“You don’t settle for the middle. You should always aim high because if you fail to be on top, at least you will still be the second best,” said Bascugin.

Now that she succeeded in topping Class 2009, Bascugin simply smiled when asked if she is aiming to be the first female PNP chief.

Bascugin would be deployed at the Central Luzon Police Regional Office (Region 3) after graduation. Graduates will be given at least a month of rest before their actual deployment to their assignments.

Other cadets who made it to the top 10 are Mark Anthony Paraiso Omega of Ormoc City; Cecelio Quevedo Orcullo of Surigao del Sur; Freddie Comising Herry of Kapangan, Benguet; Manolo Andrew Maganda Caoile of Makilala, North Cotabato; John Gary Alcantara Erana of Zamboanga del Sur; Herminio Laminoza Olivares of Bugallion, Pangasinan; Ariel Badua Arellano of Albay; Stefanio Andrenicus Abaca Rabino of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, and; Don Richmon Taguba Conag of Piat, Cagayan.

Aside from being the valedictorian of the class, Bascugin will also receive the PNP Kampilan Award for being the top cadet who opted to join the police force.

Omega, on the other hand, will receive the BJMP Kampilan Award, while Jovito Bron Coderis of Tabaco, Albay will get the BFP Kampilan Award.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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