FORMER Philippine National Police (PNP) chief-turned-senatorial candidate Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday urged members of the 225-strong police force to refrain from removing campaign materials to avoid legal troubles and most importantly, bashing from netizens amid their apolitical stand.
The retired 4-star general said he is concerned that policemen on the ground would suffer the brunt of legal implications and hate posts in the social media if they will be caught on video or photographed helping remove tarpaulins and other campaign materials of candidates regardless of their political parties.
He said even a single photo or a video clip of a policeman in uniform removing any tarpaulin that would circulate in the social media is enough to put the entire police organization in bad light.
Instead, Eleazar said that policemen should limit its involvement in providing security to Commission on Elections personnel as they implement their Oplan: Baklas to also ensure that the police force will continuously be isolated from partisan politics.
Eleazar issued the statement after the PNP was bashed in the social media anew after some local policemen were seen actively removing the tarpaulins and other campaign materials during the Comeleced Oplan Baklas in Metro Manila and some parts of the country.
“Sa usaping eleksyon at pulitika, ibayong pag-iingat ang dapat gawin ng PNP dahil laging kumplikadong isyu ito at ang mga pulis sa baba ang laging naiipit bukod pa sa epekto nito sa buong organisasyon,” he said.
“Kaya pinapaalalahanan ko ang kapulisan, lalo na yung mga immediate commanders, na tiyakin na ang partisipasyon ng pulis ay naaayon sa mga regulasyon ng Comelec at ng PNP mismo upang maiwasan ang pagdududa at manatiling isolated ang buong organisasyon sa partisan politics,” he added.
PNP spokesperson, Colonel Jean Fajardo earlier said they will look into the concerns raised in connection with the participation of the PNP in the Oplan Baklas. She also reminded policemen to ensure that their participation will only focus on providing security to Comelec personnel.
Eleazar advised police commanders to make sure that any request for assistance and deployment of personnel for Oplan Baklas should be documented to ensure transparency.
“And most importantly, policemen should be reminded by their commanders before any deployment to refrain from actively participating in the removal of the tarpaulins and other campaign materials. The participation of the PNP on this matter should be strictly limited to providing security,” he emphasized.
Some individuals and personalities were already quoted saying that they will file a case over the supposed violations in the removal of tarpaulins in private properties and what concerns Eleazar is that some policemen might be entangled into the legal problems.
As s oon as he assumed the top PNP post in May last year, Eleazar already ordered early security preparations for the May 9 national and local elections , focusing on the crackdown on loose firearms and partisan armed groups.
He said the PNP now headed by General Dionardo B. Carlos will play a very big role in ensuring the peaceful and credible conduct of the national and local polls.
“Masilbing aral sana ang isyung ito sa ating mga kapulisan na ang kanilang role ay ang pagbibigay ng seguridad sa mga mambabaklas ng posters. Huwag na huwag kayong sasali sa pagbaklas at tiyak na makakaladkad at makakaladkad kayo sa pulitika niyan,” said Eleazar.