MANILA (UPDATE) — Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar, who served the bureaucracy for almost 4 decades until his retirement last week, on Tuesday vowed to address the social dimension of crime if elected senator in 2022.
This, as he acknowledged that this aspect of criminality has been largely ignored by law enforcers.
"Sa aking maraming dekadang paglilingkod bilang pulis, nakita natin itong relationship ngayon ng mga nangyayaring mga krimen doon sa mga suliranin ng ating lipunan," Eleazar told reporters in an ambush interview Monday after he filed his candidacy for senator as a substitute.
(In my decades long service in the police, I have seen how crimes are related to the ills of society.)
Eleazar, who helmed the PNP for 6 months and was also Metro Manila police chief, cited examples of how some crimes are driven, not by evil, but by poverty.
"For example 'pag meron kang pinuntahan na nagtagaan na mga magsasaka, makikita 'yun pala pinag-aagawan o pinagtatalunan ay 'yung patubig sa palayan... Merong iba mahuhuli mo nag-snatch o nagnakaw only to find out na ito pala ay walang trabaho, walang security," Eleazar said.
(Like responding to hacking incidents between farmers, you would find out that they were feuding about the irrigation system. Or a snatcher who was forced to commit theft because of joblessness and lack of financial security.)
Eleazar said the police are duty-bound to punish these "crimes" even if the motivation behind them is reasonable from a human lens.
"Ito'y mga bagay na walang magawa ang mga kapulisan. Sa aking serbisyo, nakita natin ang complexity na ito... Kaya nga patuloy na pinag-aaralan paano mai-improve ang ating sistema at nakita ko rin ang big picture na mga ito, na we can only do so much," Eleazar lamented.
(In these cases, police cannot do anything. It's really complex. That's why we need to study more on how we can improve the system.)
The former PNP chief's reflection on the concept of crimes came amid criticism of the institution, particularly on his predecessors' programs such as the house-to-house anti-drug campaign "tokhang" and other alleged human rights violations.
At the height of tokhang, Eleazar did not publicly object to such operations, which human rights groups said were anti-poor. As PNP chief, Eleazar expressed willingness to give the Department of Justice access to records of all its investigations against police officers in the drug war campaign since 2016.
Eleazar said among his achievements as PNP chief was spearheading internal cleansing within their ranks.
"Madaling sabihin na tatakbo ka para ituloy ang paglilingkod, pero (it's easy to say you're running but) it boils down kasi sa (to) deep connection, 'yung real motivation and capability to deliver... I'm committed to replicate itong aking mga ginawa sa (what I did at the) PNP," he said.
Eleazar said among his first bills would be about peace and development.
"Kung meron man akong bills it's all about peace and order. Hindi nating pwedeng i-separate ang peace and development... Pagdating sa peace and order and security tingin ko ito ang linya natin at makakaambag naman tayo don," he said.
(My bills will be all about peace and order. We can't separate peace and development. When it comes to peace and order, security, I think this is our line of work and we have contributed in that area.)
Eleazar is running under the slate of Partido Reporma of presidential aspirant Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, who was also a former PNP chief.