Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), met with ranking police commanders on Thursday, August 10, to discuss and address the concerns raised by Sen. Panfilo Lacson on the alleged data-gathering being done by policemen that could be allegedly used for the 2022 elections.
The virtual meeting with the regional directors, provincial directors and city police chiefs started at around 4 p.m. on Thursday with Eleazar presiding.
“We explained the guidance and step-by-step procedures in this organizing, mobilizing our advocacy support groups and force multipliers,” said Eleazar when asked to reveal the details of the meeting.
Last week, Lacson disclosed that the PNP, through the Directorate for Police Community Relations, has been conducting ‘census’ on some residents in various parts of the country. He raised concern that the details that would be obtained by the police would be used for the 2022 elections in favor of the administration candidates.
But in a statement released on Thursday night, Eleazar assured Lacson that the information that would be obtained will be used solely in encouraging and strengthening police-community relations in the fight against criminality and other threat groups.
“We take note of the statements of Sen. Panfilo Lacson and we assure our former PNP chief that the information that we obtain from our civilian partners are products of volunteerism and purely intended to strengthen the partnership between the police and the community in the fight against criminality and terrorism,” said Eleazar in a statement.
In a separate interview, he disclosed that this was also discussed during the Thursday meetings with PNP areas commanders.
“I made sure to them that the information that would be obtained must have consent of the persons and must only be used for the intended purpose which is for the furtherance of our activities on peace and order,” said Eleazar.
He also disclosed that based on the discussion, the information are only obtained by the police and heads of advocacy groups and force multipliers after a meeting or seminar is held for the potential members.
He added that the personal information is only given by those who are willing to join the advocacy groups. Those who are not interested are not encouraged to give their personal details.
Eleazar explained that the mobilization of community for peace and order is a common practice in law enforcement, the reason why it was institutionalized in the PNP through the Directorate for Police Community Relations.
“This was done before and is actively being pushed now, especially that the President has set a goal of totally defeating communist insurgency problems and especially that we are now reaping the fruits of this strong partnership with the more than 64 percent reduction in crime in the last five years,” said Eleazar.
“Nevertheless, we will look into the concerns raised by Sen. Lacson and likewise assure him and our kababayan of our continuous commitment to isolate the Philippine National Police from partisan politics,” he added.