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CHR hopeful next PNP chief will dismiss erring cops, grant access to 'drug war' files
File photo shows Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the incoming chief of the Philippine National Police.
The STAR/File

CHR hopeful next PNP chief will dismiss erring cops, grant access to 'drug war' files

(Philstar.com) - May 7, 2021 - 12:15pm

MANILA, Philippines —The Commission on Human Rights on Friday said it is hopeful that the incoming chief of the Philippine National Police will file administrative cases against "bad elements" within the agency. 

Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar's appointment as the next top cop was confirmed on Wednesday by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año. The official turnover ceremony will take place on Friday.

Eleazar, who oversaw the police's aggressive enforcement of coronavirus protocols as commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, will serve as PNP chief for only six months and is set to retire in November. 

But CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz is optimistic that Eleazar, who he said often sincerely dialogues with the commission on matters of human rights, will allow access to files on the casualties of anti-illegal drug operations. 

"[W]e are also hoping that [Eleazar] will file cases. What is immediately doable is to file administrative cases and....to dismiss erring personnel," Cadiz told ANC's "Matters of Fact" in Filipino and English.  

While filing and resolving criminal cases would be hard to achieve within a six-month period, Cadiz said, it would be very doable to file administrative cases and dismiss erring cops because these actions would be limited "to the context of the PNP organization." 

Cadiz added that Eleazar can address the "gaps" in the PNP's recruitment policy which he said has resulted in "bad elements being able to enter the organization." 

Transparency mechanism 

Another thing CHR hopes Eleazar will do is "set a mechanism of engagement with the commission and civil society in terms of implementing a transparency mechanism." 

"If we can institute a panel of genuine human rights advocates who will be allowed to monitor and report the results of the investigation and the progress of these cases, this will go a long way," Cadiz said. 

Challenges 

However, Cadiz's optimism is also tempered by the challenges he says Eleazar is sure to face. 

For one, he noted that the top cop's relatively short term "sort of places him in a weak position" as erring cops can choose to briefly "weather the storm." 

"Also, there might be a natural tendency on the part of the new PNP chief to take it easy because why [would he] rock the boat [with just six months left]?"

Though Cadiz personally vouched for Eleazar's sincerity during dialogues, he said the commission also  takes into account the challenge presented by "the culture of impunity within the PNP" and the "statements of the president regarding [extrajudicial killings" in the context of the drug war." 

— Bella Perez-Rubio with a report from Franco Luna 

GUILLERMO ELEAZAR PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE PNP
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