MANILA (UPDATE) — Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar is the next chief of the Philippine National Police, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
Eleazar, currently the No. 2 official of the PNP as deputy chief for administration, will replace Gen. Debold Sinas, who is set to retire on Saturday. Both belong to the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1987.
Eleazar had served as commander of Joint Task Force COVID Shield, the government's enforcement arm for the COVID-19 crisis, and previously headed the National Capital Region Police Office.
"Gen. Eleazar's track record of professionalism, dedication and integrity speaks for itself," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
"We are therefore confident that he will continue the reform initiatives of his predecessors and lead the police organization to greater heights," he added.
The incoming police chief said he accepts the challenges "of good leadership and meeting the high expectations of the Filipino people" that go with the appointment.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said Eleazar was recommended to head the police force "based on seniority, merit, service reputation and competence."
Eleazar will reach the PNP's mandatory retirement age of 56 on Nov. 13, which means he will serve as head of the more than 220,000 strong police force for about 6 months.
Sinas assumed the top police post in November. He made headlines for a 2020 mañanita or predawn birthday serenade that allegedly violated COVID-19 protocols.
The National Police Commission submitted only one candidate to replace Sinas, its chairman Interior Sec. Año earlier said.
Duterte has the "prerogative and authority" to choose any officer with at least a police brigadier general rank for the top post, Año told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
– With reports from Raffy Santos and Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News