63 ARMM cops fired as chief says axe to fall on more

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COTABATO CITY—At least 63 police officers in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have been dismissed from the service since April this year due to abuses and other infractions.

The number is expected to rise in the coming months as testing on use of prohibited drugs continues among the rank and file, Chief Supt. Noel delos Reyes, ARMM police director, said.

Delos Reyes reminded the 7,000 policemen of Basilan,

Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao, including the cities of Marawi and Lamitan, to be always aware of their role as peacekeepers, saying “abusive and arrogant police officers have no place in the ARMM.”

He said the the “regional cleansing,” which started in April, resulted in the outright dismissal of 63 policemen, excluding seven who were dropped from the rolls due to prolonged absence without leave.

“Six others were either suspended or demoted,” Delos Reyes said.

He warned police scalawags and misfits that their days are numbered, “unless they change for the better.”

“The continuing drug examination in the regional police force is expected to unmask police officers engaged in the use of prohibited drugs,” the ARMM police chief said.

Out of the 562 officers who underwent drug testing this year, at least five were found to be positive through their blood or urine samples, said Supt. Ruby Diangson, regional crime laboratory officer.

Police are suffering from a negative perception because of abuses committed by some officers and the involvement of law enforcers in crimes, like illegal drug trading and illegal gambling.

The image of the Philippine National Police also suffered a beating in recent cases of summary executions of crime suspects. Charlie C. Señase, Inquirer Mindanao

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