"You will hate me."
Terse but to the point, law enforcement analysts said of the message newly-installed Philippine National Police chief Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the 26th to be at the helm of the 220-strong organization, had for erring police officers as he vowed to focus on the internal cleansing of the group.
Eleazar said he would not think twice about removing police officers who tainted the image of the PNP, noting that cops were often branded as "pulis patola" or "kotong cops" because of the "few bad eggs" who compromised the integrity of the organization.
"For as long as I'm the chief PNP, every single centavo of your hard-earned money allocated to us will be in good hands," Eleazar said in his assumption speech.
He added: “To those remaining hoodlums in police uniforms, I promise you, you will hate me. I won't have second thoughts about firing corrupt police officers, especially given the significant salaries and benefits the government has given us.
“There are a lot of good cops out there ready to take your place.”
Eleazar said he expected every unit commander and team leader to exercise effective supervision of their men.
Eleazar also stressed that the "padrino" system had no place in the police organization, saying “It has become common practice that in joining the PNP you have to know someone, otherwise, you might end up being cut or ignored. As early as that point, there's corruption.”
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año disclosed that General Debold Sinas, Eleazar's predecessor, would be appointed to another government post.
In his remarks during the PNP change of command ceremony, Año thanked Sinas for leading the police force in the past six months. He said he had heard from President Rodrigo Duterte that Sinas would be given another post but stopped short of identifying the post.
In the Senate, Sen. Grace Poe urged Eleazar to include in his “first mission orders” the PNP’s compliance with the Supreme Court order for police officers to wear body cameras when serving arrest and search warrants.
“We are optimistic that the new PNP Chief will not be the fourth General to let this opportunity pass,” said Poe, adding that she's hopeful Eleazar will push for the use of body and dash cameras to help make our police force more professional in the field.
These cameras are an affordable technology embraced by police forces all over the world, she said.
She emphasized that body cameras help in police operations as they store footage of crimes being committed, which could then lead to the easier prosecution and conviction of offenders
Four years after the funds for their purchase were included in the national budget, the first batch of body cameras—numbering 2,600—was delivered early this year following procurement hurdles that hounded three previous PNP chiefs.
As the head of an agency with a strong social media presence and who livestreams their activities, Eleazar can direct the quick resolution of “privacy and operational” questions, which have blocked the use of body cams in police operations.
In March, the Supreme Court made back-to-back announcements requiring police body cameras to record the serving of court warrants.
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