PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday warned erring policemen and soldiers, including members of other law enforcement agencies such as the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), that he would not tolerate abuses, saying he would personally track their records during his term in office.
Speaking during turnover ceremonies for new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronaldo “Bato” de la Rosa, Duterte also declared that corrupt police generals and their minions “have no more future” in the force. He also warned them not to associate with known criminals.
“So beginning from now, I will not tolerate, zero tolerance, for abuses committed by the law enforcement agencies including the National Bureau of Investigation. Kindly, most kindly avoid the company [of criminals]… do that taint yourselves in the company of known criminals and criminal syndicates. You will be sorry,” the President said.
He noted that it was common practice for drug lords and other criminals to rub elbows with top officials in government to project an air of “invincibility.”
Duterte said he would be unable to perform his mandate effectively if law enforcers, especially policemen, were into various corrupt practices.
“Let me tell you now, I will not run this country with a corrupt police. Mag-aaway tayo diyan [We will quarrel] and I do not want to demean you or to take anything from you,” he said.
Duterte, however, said his job would be easier with an executive order issued by former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo that raised to the level of a threat to national security the drug menace.
“So, the Armed Forces must pitch in. You have to help,” he told the officers of the military present.
The President said he would track electronically the records of law enforcers, particularly those involved in crimes. “And I would know … the generals who are tainted with corruption and drugs … you better resign,” he added.
Before taking office, Duterte said at least three police generals were involved in the illegal drug trade, and warned them to leave the police service immediately.
According to the President, he had knowledge of prevalent corruption in the PNP, including the conversion of gasoline rations into cash. He also pointed to the practice of officials bringing along a few police officers as bagmen when sent to new assignments.
“There is a practice among you that if you are assigned to another station or assignment, you bring along two or three, four, and they are there with you, no assignments except to raise money. To give to the precinct commander, to give to the regional director and up. I know that,” he said.
No board of generals
Because of corruption in the PNP, Duterte noted, he would do away with the PNP Board of Generals until the organization has been fully reformed. The board selects and approves key assignments and promotions in the PNP.
In the case of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he said the practice would be allowed.
“I am ready for the Army but for the police I am very sorry, I do not want to return to that Board of Generals until is a reformation in the organization… After six years, [there should be]enforcement, law abiding, God-fearing and only doing what is good for the country, then you can have anything back including the Board of Generals. In the meantime, no such thing,” Duterte added.
For his parting words, the new President told de la Rosa: “Huwag tayong mapahiya sa Pilipino [Let’s not be an embarrassment to the Filipino] … I will protect you in all of your undertakings, adventures, as a law enforcement guy, I will be there to protect you. I will provide you the funds. I will provide the weapons needed to fight criminality, particularly drugs.”
He said he might not be able to stop crime on his sixth month in office, “[b]ut certainly after six months and one day, matapos na sana lahat [I [everything would be finished],” Duterte said.