By Argyll Cyrus Geducos and Aaron Recuenco
President Duterte is looking at totally revamping the Philippine National Police (PNP),saying that there are still a lot of rogue cops in the organization despite his promise to double their salary.
In a press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City Tuesday night following the closing ceremony of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits, the President said he would need to think about how he would deal with the scalawags whom he thinks may have been used to doing their misdeeds, particularly extortion.
“I’ll tell you the truth. The PNP, the national police, there are a lot of scalawags there,” Duterte said.
“Doblado na sweldo mo. Sana ‘wag naman akong makarinig ng kinokolektahan mo, kinikikilan mo. Sana naman ho (Your salaries have been doubled. I hope that I will not hear that you are still extorting money the Filipino. Please),” he added.
According to Duterte, it may come down to a total revamp as a last resort if pleading with the PNP will not work.
“Maybe, we’ll have to revise everything. I said I need time after the busy days to ponder on it, sleep on it, and maybe come up with something,” he said.
Duterte said that he would first address the recruitment process, saying some can produce fake documents so they can get into the PNP.
“There’s a serious problem about the recruitment. Kasi ‘yung iba, maskiwala (Because some, even if they don’t have a clean record), they can produce a diploma then they can produce something of a clean record,” he said.
Duterte said he will hold the agency or person responsible for producing the fake documents or requirements accountable.
“I will hold the agency responsible for the clearance. If it’s the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), then I’m sure he will be fired and will be prosecuted,” he said.
“I have zero tolerance about graft and corruption. Walaakongpinipili (I am not favoring anybody),” he added.
The President is hoping that the PNP will not hold his move against him, saying that he is only doing what needs to be done.
“Ayawko may maghinakitsa akin pero (I don’t want anybody holding a grudge against me but) somehow I have to do something,” he said.
“I have four years and some months left. Maybe just give me on the third year, I’d be able to change something there. Not only with the police but with everybody,” he added.
Duterte said that forgiving erring policemen does not work anymore as some of them only return to their extortion activities.
“Kung papatawarin mo nangpapatawarin, tapos loko-loko talaga (If you keep on forgiving but he’s really like that), an idiot would drag the entire PNP down to the drain,” he said.
However, Duterte acknowledged that not all apples inside the PNP basket are rotten.
“It’s not fair because most of our law enforcers, the police and even the National Bureau of Investigation, there are still a few good men left there,” he said.
“But I have to study it very carefully but also to come up with some major decisions maybe in the recruitment,” he added.
Return to anti-drugs war
Director General Ronald dela Rosa said the PNP is ready to return to the anti-drugs war, citing the gradual resurgence of “drug addicts” in the community as proven by the death of a bank employee who was raped and burned in Pasig City.
Dela Rosa said they have been monitoring incidents of crime around the country and they found out that most of them are illegal drugs-related.
He then cited the case of Mabel Cama who was raped and her body found burned inside the garage of a towing company in Barangay Rosario in Pasig City.
“The bank teller was raped and burned by two persons and those two persons are drug addicts. No person in his right mind would do that. It means that they are not in the right (frame of) mind because of illegal drugs,” said Dela Rosa.
Investigators of the Eastern Police District have yet to identify the suspects based on the testimony of a witness.
Dela Rosa also claimed that illegal drugs personalities have returned in some areas in Quezon City, adding that they are allegedly claiming that they are now untouchable.
“They left those areas during our anti-drugs war but now they have returned and they are bragging that they are untouchable that the police can no longer operate against them,” said dela Rosa.
The PNP was taken out of the anti-drugs war last month due to allegations of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings, including the death of minors who were allegedly executed by Caloocan City policemen.
President Duterte had earlier said that he would return the anti-drugs war to the PNP if the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) fails to curb illegal drugs.
Dela Rosa, for his part, said they are ready to accept the responsibility again if the anti-drugs war is returned to them.
“We have to help the President because that is his promise to the people. So we are willing to help and we are prepared anytime,” said Dela Rosa.
“If given the opportunity to return, we will deliver,” he added.
Almost 4,000 suspected drug pushers and users were killed since the anti-drugs war started in July last year.
More than 12,000 others were allegedly killed by vigilante groups, some of them are believed to be policemen. But the PNP disputes the figure and denied the involvement of some of its men in vigilante killings of illegal drugs personalities.