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IN WAR AGAINST DRUGS: PNP in Bicol to use body cams

By Rhaydz B. Barcia

Starting this June, the anti-drug campaign of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be recorded in real-time without cuts as body cameras will be used by policemen in their operations across the country to erase public mistrust, the new PNP chief, Lt. Gen. Guillermo T. Eleazar said.

The country’s top cop said that under his watch, he wants to erase the public mistrust against the policemen involved in the government’s anti-drug campaign.

“Under my watch, we want the anti-drug campaign recorded to erase mistrust against our men and to bring back the trust and confidence of the people. Starting next week, our police stations will be using body cameras in their anti-drug operations,” Eleazar told Bicol Mail.

But Eleazar said that he could not guarantee that the anti-drug campaign would not be bloody especially if the safety of his men is at stake or compromised as they need to fight back to protect their lives against the drug personalities or syndicates.

Eleazar, who will be serving as PNP chief only for six months until his mandatory retirement, said that they will go after the high value target, specifically the bigtime drug syndicates at the same time help out drug dependents as they’re also victims of illegal drugs.

TOP COP PNP chief, Lt. Gen. Guillermo T. Eleazar (right) receives a token from Bicol police director, Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo. -Rhaydz B. Barcia

He admitted that he was hurt about the public mistrust against the PNP’s anti-drug campaign as according to him, only the bloody and extra-judicial killings were highlighted but not the accomplishments.

Eleazar visited Camp Ola on May 30-31 where he reiterated to the PNP personnel in the region his internal cleansing program aimed at reforming the 220,000-strong police force, which is tainted with controversy.

He also told the officers and non-commissioned officers of PNP Bicol that he wanted to get rid of the “padrino system” for new police recruits— or gaining favor through family affiliation and friendship instead of merit in the recruitment and selection of PNP personnel.

Eleazar said that under his leadership only the best should make it to the police force as he will correct the culture of patronage and backer system in police recruitment, which for a long time prevented the PNP to get the most qualified applicants to enter and join the police force.

According to Eleazar, the National Police Commission approved 17,000 new slots for patrolmen to replace personnel who were dismissed from service due to wrong doings and to increase the police-to-population ratio requirement.

“If we want the best cops, it should start from recruitment to correct the past patronage and stop corruption. Under my watch only the best patrolmen will be hired and no generals can serve as backer because we will get rid of the “padrino system,” Eleazar said during the flag raising ceremony on Monday, May 31, which was attended by police officials and personnel.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Jonnel C. Estomo, Bicol police chief, presented to Eleazar the 25 rebel surrenderees who received P10,000 cash assistance, one sack of rice and groceries.

Estomo also presented to Eleazar some 130 loose firearms recovered across the region. Among the six provinces of Bicol, Albay has the highest number of loose firearms recovered (37), followed by Camarines Sur (36), Camarines Norte (23), Catanduanes (11), Sorsogon (10), and Masbate (8).


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