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PNP needs a reformer

"Seniority, competence, professionalism, leadership"

 

 

We first met Police Lt. General Guillermo Eleazar a few years back when he guested at the Saturday [email protected]’s which we moderated. He was then the Director of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) and held the rank of a Police Brigadier General. On the few occasions that we invited him, he readily accepted and gave media a comprehensive view of the current peace and order situation in his area of jurisdiction.

Since then, Eleazar has steadily climbed up the PNP hierarchy to take the post of Director of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), Deputy Chief of Directorial Affairs, Deputy Chief for Operations and now the Deputy Chief for Administration, the second highest position in the organization. He is also the head of Task Force SHIELD implementing on the ground level the policies and quarantine restrictions of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Covid-19.

Eleazar reports directly to newly designated PNP Chief, PGen Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, who has taken over the helm of the 190,000-member organization. Together, they have assumed the huge responsibility of running after both organized and street criminals and helping the national government in implementing quarantine regulations. At the same time, they must keep close watch over the men and women under him to ensure that they do their jobs within the bounds of the law as well as internal rules and regulations.

Gen. Cascolan, however, will retire by November this year after only a little over three months as PNP Chief. This is unless his term is extended by the President.

With just two months to go, it’s a guessing game as to who would take over the institution once Cascolan retires.

If seniority is the main consideration, Eleazar would be a shoo-in for the highest post once Cascolan retires from the service.

Eleazar is a member of PMA Class 1987, and will retire in November 2021. If he is appointed as PNP Chief, he will serve for a year in the highest position. This would give him enough time not only to lead the PNP’s anti-crime drive, but also to assist the national government in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

There’s one other responsibility, however, that Eleazar would have to assume if he becomes the PNP Chief: To lay the groundwork for clean and peaceful national elections in 2022. As we know, by middle of next year, those aspiring for election or re-election will already be girding for battle in May 2022. Part of Eleazar’s task would therefore be to ensure that political adversaries keep their rivalries within legal bounds, and avoid any moves that could lead to violence. Filipinos, as we also know, take their politics seriously—perhaps too seriously in some cases—that election-related intimidation and violence can flare up in hotly contested areas.

Eleazar has been in the frontlines of the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs since 2016. As Director of QCPD—the biggest not only in Metro Manila but also in the entire country—he chalked up an impressive record in terms of the number of drug suspects neutralized or arrested, and in the confiscation of millions of pesos worth of illegal drugs. The National Police Commission (Napolcom) commended the QCPD under Eleazar’s watch as the “Most Trusted District” among the four police offices in the National Capital Region.

Another accomplishment of the police official during his stint as Director of QCPD and later the is his competent management of four State-of-the-Nation Addresses of President Duterte before Congress since 2016. The SONA has traditionally been an occasion for various opposition forces to gather along Commonwealth Avenue leading to Congress to ventilate their grievances and present political and economic demands to the administration. Eleazar initiated dialogues with the organizers of various SONA rallies to keep their protest rallies peaceful and without any untoward incidents taking place despite the heated atmosphere of such gatherings.

Eleazar took over the NCRPO in 2018. Here he was able to garner various awards for outstanding performance. In 2019, the NCRPO emerged as an awardee for “Best Police Region” during the PNP founding anniversary.

In last year’s midterm elections, the NCRPO proved its mettle in peacekeeping by posting zero incidence of election-related casualties.

Recognition of Eleazar’s professionalism and impressive track record as a police officer has come from other directions. He was named “Man of the Year” in 2018 by the Manila Broadcasting Company, the largest radio network in the country. The Civil Service Commission also gave him an award for exemplary public service. 

The only thing that could work against Eleazar in being appointed to the top PNP post is that he does not belong to the so-called Davao group of police officials who hail from the region or have been assigned there in the past. This puts him outside of Duterte’s inner circle.

But if the main criteria for choosing the next PNP chief, aside from seniority, are competence, professionalism and leadership, including the capability to implement meaningful reforms within the institution, then Eleazar may be the best man for the job.

[email protected]

Topics: Ernesto Hilario , Philippine National Police , PNP , Police Lt. General Guillermo Eleazar , National Capital Region Police Office , NCRPO
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