Wanted: PNP chief who will kill all drug lords

The Philippine Star - - FRONT PAGE - By ALEXIS ROMERO

Pres­i­dent Duterte wants a “bet­ter deal” in choos­ing the next Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) chief, say­ing the next top cop should be brave enough to kill all drug lords.

While he thinks all the can­di­dates for the next head of the 190,000-strong PNP are good, Duterte ad­mit­ted that he is hav­ing dif­fi­culty mak­ing a choice.

“I have dif­fi­cul­ties with the po­lice. I love the po­lice but I am hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ties with the of­fi­cials,” Duterte told GMA News in an in­ter­view aired yes­ter­day.

“I mean they’re all good, but I want a bet­ter deal. It’s not enough that you rec­om­mend to me. If you tell me, ‘Sir, if you choose me, all drug lords will be killed,’ then it would be you. If you can­not give me that

guar­an­tee, for­get about it,” he added.

Former PNP chief Os­car Al­bay­alde stepped down last Oct. 14 as he was grap­pling with al­le­ga­tions that he in­ter­vened in the case of former sub­or­di­nates called “ninja cops” who were in­volved in the re­sale of nar­cotics con­fis­cated in a raid in Pam­panga in 2013.

Duterte pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted that he was hav­ing a hard time choos­ing Al­bay­alde’s suc­ces­sor be­cause he was care­ful about the of­fi­cials who would be as­signed to fi­nance and pro­cure­ment of­fices.

The of­fi­cials in the short­list of can­di­dates for the next PNP chief are Lt. Gen. and PNP of­fi­cer-in­charge Archie Gam­boa, Lt. Gen. Camilo Cas­colan and Ma­jor Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.

Asked to elab­o­rate on Duterte’s re­mark that he is seek­ing a bet­ter deal, pres­i­den­tial spokesman Sal­vador Panelo said the Pres­i­dent wants some­one who is not fac­ing charges.

“What he’s say­ing is that he wants an hon­est cop, he doesn’t want any cop that has been charged with any ir­reg­u­lar­ity, any in­frac­tion, whether ad­min­is­tra­tive or crim­i­nal,” Panelo said at a press brief­ing yes­ter­day.

Pressed on what is keep­ing the Pres­i­dent from choos­ing the next PNP chief, Panelo replied: “Sig­uro hindi pa siya kun­tento eh (Per­haps he is not yet con­tented).”

“He didn’t ex­plain. We’ll have to wait, we’ll have to wait for him. He said, if he can­not choose then he will just take over tem­po­rar­ily as the head,” he added.

Panelo clar­i­fied that Duterte’s thor­ough se­lec­tion process does not mean that the PNP has a shal­low bench.

“It’s not shal­low, per­haps he has not learned about the good ones. Many of them are good... Maybe the names of the good ones have not reached him. Let’s just wait for him,” the Palace spokesman said.

“It’s not that he is not im­pressed (by the can­di­dates). It’s just that he has not cho­sen yet. Why are we pres­sur­ing him? You must re­mem­ber that there is an OIC. The OIC is good. Per­haps he is con­tented with the OIC,” he added.

Panelo said Duterte has the prerog­a­tive to de­cide when he would ap­point the next po­lice chief.

Duterte also lam­basted the cor­rup­tion in the PNP, say­ing he wanted to kick po­lice­men who are into ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties.

He cited the body cam­era con­tro­versy, which re­sulted in the dis­missal of three po­lice ma­jors.

“The PNP is re­ally cor­rupt,” Duterte said.

With re­gard to Vice Pres­i­dent Leni Ro­bredo’s re­moval as co-chair of the In­ter­a­gency Com­mit­tee on Anti-il­le­gal Drugs (ICAD), Duterte said he was afraid that she would mess up.

Duterte re­it­er­ated that Ro­bredo was weighed but found lack­ing in her 18-day stint as ICAD co-chair.

“They were com­plain­ing all the time, that it’s (anti-drug cam­paign) not work­ing, that the drug cam­paign is not suc­cess­ful. You know, this drug story is not one story that you can fin­ish,” the Pres­i­dent said.

Asked to re­act to Ro­bredo’s ques­tion on whether the ad­min­is­tra­tion is afraid of some­thing, Duterte replied: “Ang ki­nataku­tan ko magkalat siya (I’m afraid she’ll mess up).”

Duterte of­fered the ICAD cochair post to Ro­bredo af­ter the Vice Pres­i­dent said the drug war should be tweaked. Ro­bredo ac­cepted the of­fer and vowed to put an end to what she de­scribed as “sense­less killings.”

Af­ter 18 days, Duterte dis­missed Ro­bredo from her post due to her sup­posed “mis­steps,” in­clud­ing meet­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the United States and the United Na­tions, in­sti­tu­tions that have been crit­i­cal of the anti­nar­cotics cam­paign.

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