PNP chief clears 3 cops who car­ried out Tondo anti-drugs raid de­spite Duterte or­der

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By FRAN­CIS T. WAKE­FIELD

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.

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