MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) must remain apolitical, especially with the election season fast approaching, police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar reiterated on Tuesday.
Eleazar said in a statement that they are issuing the reminder to police officers now as they expect the influx of campaign materials for early campaigning once the candidates have filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs).
“Inaasahan natin na pagkatapos ng prosesong ito ay magsusulputan na ang mga stickers at mga posters ng mga ilang kandidato para sa maagang pangangampanya,” Eleazar said.
(We expect that we would see an influx of stickers and posters of some candidates for their early campaign strategies after this process.)
“Kaya muli ay pinapaalalahanan natin ang aming kapulisan na wala dapat nakadikit na mga ganitong uri ng early campaign materials sa mga sasakyan ng pulis, mga police stations at maging sa mga kampo,” he added.
(That is why we remind the police force that they should not place such campaign materials on police cars, police stations, and even on police camps.)
Eleazar admitted that while there is an ongoing debate about whether police officers can express their personal opinion on a particular candidate, the PNP would do its best to isolate itself from partisan politics, as it is a professional and civilian organization.
“We understand that there has been an unresolved gray area on this issue, but we assure the public that we will continue to isolate your PNP from any form of partisan politics,” Eleazar said
“As a professional organization, the apolitical stand of the PNP is an absolute necessity. We intend to keep it that way,” he added.
In 2016, Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who was then the director of PNP’s Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF), holding the rank of chief superintendent (brigadier general), found himself sacked after allegedly being involved in partisan political activity.
Then PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez removed Dela Rosa from his post after he made a statement on Facebook that seemed to support President Rodrigo Duterte.
Dela Rosa had maintained close ties with Duterte, as he was once the city’s police chief. Both also hail from Davao City.
In his post, Dela Rosa — who later became Duterte’s first PNP chief — warned anyone trying to cheat in the 2016 national elections they would be crushed.
The Commission on Elections would accept COCs until Friday, October 8. According to Eleazar, the PNP will do its task of protecting the sanctity of the elections — from the filing of COCs to the election day itself, and even after the 2022 polls.
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