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Opinion

Eleazar for senator?

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo “Guilor” Eleazar, who retires in two months, is probably the only Philippine National Police (PNP) chief who has visited far-flung police outposts in the country in such a short time.

Since his appointment as PNP’s top honcho on May 5, 2021, Eleazar has gone to Tuguegarao, Cagayan in Luzon to Jolo, Sulu in Mindanao.

He rode on commercial airlines, police helicopters, speedboats and cars to reach remote police headquarters in the archipelago.

By doing so, Eleazar has made his presence felt in areas not visited by his predecessors.

Aside from talking with his field commanders, the PNP chief has also interacted with local officials in provinces and towns he has visited.

Eleazar’s aide-de-camp, Lt. Col. Titoy Jay Cuden, told me in one of my lunch meetings with his boss at the “White House” (the PNP chief’s official residence) in Camp Crame that barrio folks would elbow one another to get a glimpse of the person who is probably the most loved and popular PNP head.

In my lunch date with Eleazar that happened on Monday, Sept. 13, I broached the idea of him running for the Senate in the 2022 elections.

Anyway, I said, since he would be mandatorily retiring on his birthday on Nov. 13, 2021, he might as well retire early, so he can file his certificate of candidacy between Oct. 1 and 8.

Eleazar told me he would rather finish his term as PNP chief and then enjoy his retirement.

Methinks he might change his mind as another friend did years ago.

The only other person that I persuaded to run for a higher office was then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte. The rest is history.

I told Eleazar that if Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a bumpkin and very incompetent PNP chief, could be elected to the Senate, why not him, since he is way more intelligent than Bato.

I said that if he became senator, he could introduce legislation that might contribute to making the national police a highly disciplined and world-class organization.

Eleazar graduated valedictorian at the Judge Guillermo Eleazar Memorial School of Fisheries in Tagkawayan, Quezon and took up engineering at the University of Sto. Tomas before he entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

For those who are wondering, Judge Guillermo Eleazar was his grandfather.

Another journalist, Den Macaranas of Bandera, a daily tabloid (I formerly worked in), has the same idea as mine.

Macaranas, in his Bandera column, suggested that a senatorial slot be reserved for a “good cop” who is “a known disciplinarian who has earned the admiration of the citizenry in stark contrast to his predecessors.”

Macaranas was referring to none other than Guilor Eleazar.

*      *      *

The Eleazar family has an unlikely mix of politics and religion. His brother Carlo is the mayor of Tagkawayan, while his other sibling, Richard, is the town’s parish priest.

Eleazar was a much-loved chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) because he imposed his brand of discipline among Metro Manila cops.

Years before his NCRPO stint, Eleazar solved several kidnap-for-ransom cases in the metropolis as intelligence chief of the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG).

One of Guilor’s best accomplishments in the AKG was the arrest of former actor and congressman Dennis Roldan for the kidnapping of a three-year-old Filipino-Chinese boy.

The families of rescued kidnap victims praise Eleazar to high heavens because he turned down reward money from them.

He is like Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who refused a huge amount of money as a reward for the rescue of a tycoon’s daughter in the late 1970s by him and his men at the Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group (MISG). Lacson was then a captain in the defunct Philippine Constabulary (PC), the forerunner of the PNP.

Because of Lacson’s many accomplishments at the MISG and other assignments, he became PNP chief during the time of President Joseph “Erap” Estrada.

Both Lacson and Eleazar have several things in common: they’re both disciplinarians and honest cops.

Since Lacson is leaving the Senate to run for president, Eleazar should take his place in the august body.

Like Lacson, Eleazar is articulate in both English and Pilipino.

*      *      *

I tested the waters on my Facebook wall Monday after my visit to Eleazar.

I asked my Facebook followers that since he would be retiring in two months, do they want Eleazar to file for early retirement so he could run for the Senate?

I got very encouraging responses from my followers.

“Definitely! He should accept the challenge and the call of the people to run in the Senate as he is very qualified. This is also the perfect time for him. ‘Strike while the iron is hot,’” said Koi Hipolito Laura.

“Aba, pwede ngang mag-presidente ng Pinas (Hey, he could become president of the country),” said Ed Tan Flores.

“Yes,” said Cez Sta. Rosa Moraga with a thumbs-up sign.

“Yes, the next senator for 2022,” said Dave Darwin Bayani.

“Just stay in your position, sir, since many people believe in your sincerity. Stay firm in your job. I salute you in what you’ve been doing. But if you want to be like (Bato) Dela Rosa, it’s up to you,” Mila Luna Estallo.

Raz Jaalani: “Yes. He should be preferred over politicians who are dishonest.”

Pabelonia Nid: “Extend his term as PNP chief.”

Edwin Saquido Sario: “Yes, he should file for an early retirement. We need his services in the Senate.”

Roger Ang: “It’s up to him if he wants to get embroiled in dirty politics.”

“It’s only now that we have a leader (in the PNP) who’s honest and sincere, and then we lose him in a short time. How sad,” said Elimar John Enguito Sanido.

“Yes, he’ll win by a landslide,” said Sam Nalos Santiago.

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