PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Harry Roque on Saturday challenged all policemen to be more effective in their work and to avoid engaging in any illegal activity especially after President Rodrigo Duterte increased their salaries.
“Sinabi na ng Presidente na kaya niya itinaas ang sweldo ng mga sundalo at pulis kasi kinikilala niya ang importansya at papel na kanilang ginagampanan, at the same time alam din niya na may nage-extort na mga pulis,” he said in a press briefing at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) office in Cebu City.
(The President already said that he decided to increase the salaries of soldiers and policemen because he recognized their importance and roles. At the same time, he knew that there are policemen who are involved in extortion).
“Siguro naman, ngayon na desente na ang kanilang mga sweldo, ay magiging mas professional din ang ating mga men and women in uniform, although they are already very professional. Sa mga tiwali, ayan ang mensahe: Mag-ayos na kayo.”
(Now that they have decent salaries, perhaps our men and women in uniform will be more professional although they are already very professional.
To erring policemen, they better straighten up.)
Roque clarified that the number of police scalawags were few compared to those who were faithful to the government and the people.
President Duterte on Thursday (January 11) said he would fire at least 70 police officials and three generals in the coming days as his “purging regime” continues to get rid of scalawags.
In a speech during an event of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation at the Manila Hotel, Duterte said he has been “spending a lot of time just to clean up government.”
President Duterte said he would expand his “cleansing of the bureaucracy” to local government officials and would fire those even with just a “whiff” of corruption.
“He is serious in his resolve to deal with the problem of corruption in government. To those who want to become rich at the expense of the government, I advise you to just go to the private sector because the President’s campaign against corruption won’t die down,” Roque said.
In January 2017, President Duterte stopped all police units and stations in the country from conducting anti-illegal drug operations after narcotics officers were linked to the kidnapping and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
But barely after a month, the President ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to rejoin the campaign against illegal drugs because the drug menace reportedly became resurgent.
In October 2017, President Duterte again stripped the PNP of its role in the drug war following the August killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd Delos Santos by the police that sparked public outrage.
After two months, he called the police back to his war on drugs, saying there was a “notable resurgence in illegal drugs” when policemen took a step back on the campaign.
Policemen, however, must coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) who takes the lead in the war against illegal drugs.
PNP records showed that there were at least 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017 or before the organization was disallowed from conducting anti-drug operations.
Of the number of casualties, the police said 3,850 were killed after they allegedly engaged law enforcers in a shootout, while 2,290 persons were killed by still unidentified assailants.
The numbers presented by the PNP, however, were way lower than the figures gathered by human rights groups which estimated the death toll in the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign at 13,000.