Solon defends Duterte on crackdown vs scalawags

DAVAO CITY-- President Rodrigo Duterte has found another ally in his new war against police scalawags which indicates the government's resolve to win not just the fight versus illegal drugs but also corruption and criminality.

First District Representative Karlo Nograles lauded the decision of President Duterte to temporarily restrict the Philippine National Police (PNP) from conducting anti-drugs operations to make way for the cleansing of the police ranks.

"To me, it shows that the President understands the PNP's problem of corruption is deeply rooted and he wants the PNP (Philippine National Police) Chief to give his undivided attention to this problem," Nograles also said in reference to accusations that the Chief Executive has lost confidence on PNP Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

As he cited the accomplishment of the PNP in the government's campaign against illegal drugs the past several months, Nograles, however, said rogue police officers are taking advantage of the campaign to conduct shakedowns, extortion, kidnapping and other criminal activities.

"They are using the element of fear that comes along with the PNP's Oplan: Tokhang to extract money from civilians including those who are not really involved in drug trafficking. This decision of the President is a reassurance that he will not tolerate abuses in his war against drugs. This shows that the President is dead serious in his commitment to clean our country of drugs and corruption," Nograles said.

On a late Sunday press conference, Duterte admitted to reporters that he has turned down the resignation dela Rosa, who offered to quit his post to "protect the image of the PNP" following the abduction and slay of Korean executive Jee Ick Joo right inside the PNP's headquarters at Camp Crame.

Duterte said Dela Rosa was one of his trusted men behind his successful fight against criminality and illegal drugs in Davao City where he served as mayor for 23 years before his accession to the presidency.

"I was just facing the reality that nothing good will happen if I will remove him and more reason for us to do more. And the correct way to do it, if I may say so, is to go after the persons who have perpetrated the crime," the President said.

Following Jee Ick Joo's the Korean kidnap-slay case, President Duterte also ordered Dela Rosa to clean the PNP of corrupt and criminals.

The President is also set to create a PNP oversight committee with a task to look into the policemen who have been dismissed but fixed their way back to duty.

Nograles said the decision of the President should now prompt Dela Rosa to launch a massive crackdown against corrupt and abusive policemen regardless of their rank.

"It should be a top-to-bottom clean-up and it doesn't matter if the only ones left are the rookies. I think Gen. Dela Rosa knows that if he wants to move forward and with greater moral ascendancy, he has to cleanse the ranks of the PNP and remove all police scalawags," Nograles said in a press statement.

"The PNP campaign against corrupt and abusive cops will resonate well with our people because it will show everyone that government is sincere to serve. We must learn to trust our PNP officials again; otherwise, we will have no order in our streets. In the meantime, the PNP will continue its job of busting crime. I don't think that Gen. Dela Rosa's announcement will mean that the police will stop doing its job of protecting our people and keeping everyone safe," Nograles said.

Also, Nograles said the decision of the President does mean he is slowing down in the fight against drugs because the Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) is adequately equipped in effectively conducting anti-drug operations.

"Definitely, the PDEA is equipped to continue the war against drugs. We made sure that PDEA has the funding it needs this year to be able to combat illegal drugs across the nation. The police and our entire justice system will always be there to support the PDEA in its operations. And you can count on Congress, as well. After all, we all belong to the same team," Nograles said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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