President Rodrigo Duterte only had harsh words for hundreds of rogue policemen presented to him on Tuesday in Malacañang.
The President gave the policemen only two options: serve in Mindanao or quit the police force.
Over 200 policemen, mostly accused of minor offenses, were escorted to Malacañang by Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa.
“Prepare to move out. I’ll give you two weeks from now, 15 days. Start to move out. If you do not want to go there, go to your superior officer and tell them that you’re going to resign,” Duterte told the policemen lined up before him.
The President said those who will be sent to Basilan will stay there for two years.
“Kailangan ko ng pulis sa South. Kulang ang pulis sa Basilan kasi maya’t-maya pinagpaputok-putok ‘yung mga istasyon doon. Nauubos. Kayo lahat ngayon nandito, kasali kayo sa Task Force South. Padala ko kayo sa Basilan [I need policemen in the South. There’s a shortage of policemen in Basilan because their stations are always being bombed. All of you here, you are part of Task Force South. I will bring you to Basilan],” Duterte said.
“Tumira kayo doon ng mga dalawang taon. Kung lumusot kayo buhay, balik kayo dito. Kung doon kayo mamatay, sabihin ko sa pulis, huwag na magasto na para dalhin pa kayo dito, doon na kayo ilibing [Stay there for two years. If you are able to live, come back here. If you die, I will tell the police not to spend and just bury you there],” he added.
Duterte slammed the policemen for resorting to illegal activities to sustain their extravagant lifestyles and support their many wives.
“Your ambition is to get higher pay but you get it from vendors and drivers. Sometimes, you resort to holdup, sometimes innocent people. You look for wrongdoing just to make money,” he added.
Duterte said he would have wanted to throw the erring policemen into the Pasig River but he instructed them to clean the river instead.
“I want you to clean [the Pasig River]. Come back here, wear swimming trunks and clean the Pasig River. Drink [the water]because it’s filthy,” he added.
Before exiting the Palace grounds, Duterte ordered the policemen to stand still and wait for him until his Cabinet meeting has ended.
In a chance interview, Dela Rosa said the 236 policemen presented to the President are facing criminal and administrative complaints, while some tested positive for illegal drugs.
More than 300 policemen were initially scheduled to meet Duterte but some were inactive, while others had to attend to their cases.
Dela Rosa said the rogue policemen who were summoned to the Office of the President have ranks of Police Officer 1 and Chief Inspector.
The PNP chief said the shame campaign will continue if that is the only way to get rid of bad eggs in the police force.
“As I have said, I would do everything to cleanse the PNP. I don’t care if they would get embarrassed. If they are put to shame, the more I am put to shame because I am the [police]chief. Meaning, if my constituents are bad eggs, I am also a bad egg,” Dela Rosa said.
Duterte’s war on drugs was recently halted after the kidnapping and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo by members of the police force.
Despite the setback, Duterte is forging ahead with the campaign against illegal drugs that had so far claimed the lives of 7,600 people who were killed either in legitimate police operations or by unidentified gunmen.
The number of drug-related killings dramatically shrank since the police’s Oplan Tokhang was halted.
The President said the anti-drug drive will be pursued by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency with the help of members of the military.