Philippine National Police

From spox to PNP chief: Dionardo Carlos’ road to becoming top cop

Jairo Bolledo

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From spox to PNP chief: Dionardo Carlos’ road to becoming top cop

NEW PNP CHIEF. Police General Dionardo Carlos is the 27th PNP chief.

Philippine National Police

As the new top cop, Carlos will lead the PNP in carrying out Duterte's priority programs against illegal drugs and insurgency in the President's last few months in office, as well as ensure peaceful and orderly elections in 2022

President Rodrigo Duterte named Police General Dionardo Carlos as the new head of the Philippine National Police on November 10, making Carlos his 7th PNP chief and the 27th chief since PNP’s inception in 1991.

Carlos officially replaced Guillermo Eleazar in a ceremony on November 12, taking command of the 220,00-strong national police.

Here are some of the things to know about the new top cop.

Where he started
  • One of Carlos’ first assignments was with the elite force of the PNP Special Action Force in 1999, where he focused on counter-terrorism and special police operations.
  • He served as provincial director of Quezon police in 2013 and of Negros Oriental police in 2015.
  • Carlos was the spokesperson of Duterte’s first PNP chief, now-Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, from August 2016 to January 2018.
  • Carlos also served as the chief of the PNP Aviation Security Group in January 2018, shortly after his stint as Dela Rosa’s spokesperson.
  • He headed the Eastern Visayas regional police from August 2018 to October 2019. After that, he was appointed as the chief of the Highway Patrol Group in the same month.
  • He also headed at least three directorates of the PNP: Directorate for Information and Communication Technology Management (2019), Directorate for Police Community Relations (May 2020), and Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in the Visayas (October 2020).
  • The new PNP chief was Eleazar’s fourth in command or the Chief of Directorial Staff, before being picked by Duterte to lead the PNP.
From spox to PNP chief: Dionardo Carlos’ road to becoming top cop
His qualifications
  • He entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in 1984 and graduated in 1988, which makes him part of the now-ruling PMA Maringal Class of 1988. 
  • With Carlos’ appointment, his class now holds major positions in the police, military, and coast guard.
  • According to the PNP, Carlos is trained in crisis management and response, urban counter-revolutionary warfare, counter-hijacking, explosive ordnance disposal, and anti-terrorist operations. 
  • Carlos holds two graduate degrees in management from the Asian Institute of Management, and another one from the Philippine Christian University. 
Life outside of PNP
  • Carlos is a native of Lucena City in Quezon province. His predecessor, Eleazar, also hails from the same province, in Tagkawayan town. 
  • He has a 24-year-old son, Samuel, and an 18-year-old daughter, Eliana Nicole. 
  • His family is no stranger to military and uniformed personnel. Carlos’ younger brother, Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos, is the current AFP deputy chief of staff for logistics and a former commander of the Philippine Fleet, under the Philippine Navy.
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Why his appointment matters
  • As Duterte’s PNP chief, Carlos would carry out the anti-illegal drugs program of the administration in Duterte’s last months in office. 
  • It was originally headed by Dela Rosa, but, five years later, illegal drugs remain rampant in the country. 
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  • Carlos is also expected to push for the counter insurgency programs of the administration, along with the military. 
  • Latest data from the Department of National Defense revealed that Duterte’s war against communism is far from over because the Philippine government has so far quashed only 43 out of 70 alleged guerilla fronts. 
  • As the PNP chief, Carlos will lead the national police in ensuring peace and order during the 2022 election season. Aside from law enforcement duties, the PNP is mandated to provide personnel, transportation, and vehicles during the elections as the Commission on Elections may require.


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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.