On May 8, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, 55, will be the new chief of the 221-strong Philippine National Police.
His appointment has been approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced Wednesday, adding he would be given the rank of General and will succeed General Debold Sinas who retires on that day.
Año said through a resolution, the National Police Commission, which he chairs, recommended Eleazar as the next PNP chief to Duterte.
Año said the recommendation was "based on seniority, merit, service reputation, and competence to lead the police force."
"I expect Police Lieutenant General Eleazar to lead the PNP organization to greater heights amidst the pandemic during these challenging times," he said.
"I welcome the appointment of Police Lieutenant General Eleazar who is very qualified for the job," he added.
Eleazar, from Tagkawayan, Quezon, is the second most senior PNP official as deputy chief for administration, and will serve for six months – retiring on November 13 – like his predecessor Sinas.
"General Eleazar’s track record of professionalism, dedication and integrity speaks for itself. We are therefore confident that he will continue the reform initiatives of his predecessors and lead the police organization to greater heights," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
Eleazar will be the sixth PNP chief appointed by President Duterte, whose administration has been hounded by allegations of police abuse in carrying out his war on drugs, as well as alleged police planting of evidence to justify arrests of red-tagged activists.
Eleazar had also previously served as deputy chief for operations and commander of the Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield, the main law enforcement unit of the government against quarantine violators.
Eleazar belongs to the ruling Philippine Military Academy Hinirang Class of 1987, along with Sinas.
The new PNP chief was in the spotlight in March 2019, when he confronted a cop who allegedly extorted money from the family of a drug suspect.
The then-Metro Manila police chief apologized for the outburst, saying he could not control himself because of his anger over what the cop had done.
He said then that cops shouldn't be "treated as babies" anymore, especially since he has repeatedly warned them to stop engaging in illegal activities.
In March, Eleazar ordered the relief of Lt. Fernando Calabria Jr., the police intelligence chief of Calbayog, Samar, for asking a local court for a list of lawyers of alleged communists. Eleazar apologized to the legal community for the concerns sparked by the police officer's actions.
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