Nationwide ‘data gathering’ by PNP worries Lacson


SEN. Panfilo Lacson admitted Tuesday he was alarmed on learning that Philippine National Police Chief Guillermo Eleazar virtually admitted that there are ongoing nationwide “data-gathering” activities in several barangays.

Lacson, citing information reaching him, affirmed that “such activities are still going on, despite the PNP’s initial denial.

Lacson was a PNP chief from 1999 to 2001 before his election to the Senate.               

“The Chief PNP’s admission that such data-gathering activities are going on [and still going on, as per latest information received] is alarming. Being their former chief, I cannot allow the PNP to engage in partisan politics and be ‘bastardized,’ worse—using public funds,” Lacson said on his Twitter account.

The senator had earlier cited reports indicating the PNP was involved in “census” activities using the funds of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The PNP denied authorizing such activities.

In a statement Tuesday, Lacson likewise maintained that Police Maj. Gen. Rodel Sermonia, the director for the PNP’s Police Community Relations unit, “has some explaining to do on the matter.”

In an earlier radio interview, Lacson cited information reaching him indicating Sermonia was involved in the gathering of data, including email addresses and phone numbers.

The senator noted that  Sermonia had already been “lambasted” by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. for campaigning in the 2019 midterm elections using Philippine embassies’ resources.

“The same misguided PNP officer that SFA Locsin ‘lambasted’ for raising funds and campaigning in the 2019 midterm elections while using the resources of several of  our country’s embassies around the globe. He has since been promoted to his present rank,” Lacson tweeted.

Eleazar indicated in an interview on ANC that data-gathering activities were being done supposedly by certain groups, adding that if the PNP is indeed involved, “it has to be stopped.”

For his part, Eleazar also noted the Police Community Relations (PCR) unit which Sermonia heads is “encouraging” force multipliers for advocacy groups, adding that he had cautioned Sermonia about this activity—that forcing people to join is not allowed.    

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