PNP chief clears 3 cops who carried out Tondo anti-drugs raid despite Duterte order
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on Friday absolved three policemen who conducted an anti-drug operation Tondo, Manila, last Wednesday, although President Duterte had already signed an executive order that henceforth all anti-drug operations are to be undertaken by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“Hindi pa nakarating sa kanila iyung executive order nung ginawa nila iyung operation. Wala pang klarong directive galing dito sa aming headquarters (The executive order had not reached them when the operation was conducted. There was still no clear directive from our headquarters),” Dela Rosa said.
But the PNP chief said, if there was any abuse in the conduct of the operation, the policemen will have to face the consequences. Three drug suspects were killed in the operation, identified as Rolando Campo, 60, Sherwin Bitas, 34, and a certain "Kalbo" who was in his 20s.
"As far as the pronouncement of the President, wala pa (there is none). Pero kung may ginawa sila doon na mali doon sa operation nila, then pananagutan nila iyun (But if they committed any mistake in the conduct of the operation, then they will have to answer for it)," Dela Rosa said.
The directive had not yet reached the station level, he said. “Kaya naghihintay pa sila (they were still waiing) …. They took it to mean na pwede pa, na okay pa silang mag trabaho (that they could still do it, that they could still work)," he added.
Dela Rosa also said that the public should give policemen the benefit of the doubt because not all of them are tuned in to television or listen to the radio to hear the President's statements and directives. “Nasa field din sila, nagtratrabaho (they are in the field, at work).”
But in the coming days, it’s very clear with the directive of the President, it will be a violation if they continue with it," he said.
He said that he has sent his own directive to all police commanders nationwide calling for a halt in their anti-drug operations. Those who will now violate the directive will be charged administratively for grave misconduct, he added.
Dela Rosa said now that the war on drugs is now the responsibility of PDEA. The PNP concentration will now shift to motorcycle riding criminals, the internal cleansing of the PNP, internal security operations, and anti-terrorism, he said.