PNP chief: Bounty not invitation to kill
The President’s P5- to P10-million bounty on “ninja” cops—the moniker for police officers involved in the illegal drug trade, particularly in “recycling” seized drugs—was meant to be a deterrent, not a call to kill them.
Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde sought to assure the public of this at a press conference at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Monday, following the weekend after President Duterte announced in a speech the P5-million bounty for each ninja cop brought in alive and P10 million for each brought in dead.
After concerns were raised by human rights advocates, Albayalde said he didn’t believe such a bounty would encourage violence, especially toward rogue policemen.
“Rewards aren’t anything new. It’s just that this is big,” he said.
Albayalde said the bounty should go to the person who gave information leading to a “positive operation” and not to police “because they might end up as bounty hunters, and that would be dangerous.”
He said the PNP Counterintelligence Task Force (CITF) was in charge of running after rogue police officers.
Albayalde’s statement followed the killing of two suspected ninja cops in a police operation in Zamboanga City on Saturday, just a day after Mr. Duterte announced the bounty.
PO3 Ronald Bernardo and PO2 Maria Oliver Olaso of the Zamboanga City police had been killed in a buy-bust operation led by the PNP-CITF, allegedly after opening fire on operatives.
Albayalde said police intelligence determined that “both policemen were involved in recycling illegal drugs and known protectors of several drug pushers in Zamboanga City since 2010.”
Even before Mr. Duterte announced the bounty, on Aug. 9, another police officer, PO2 Ian Rey Abitona of the Infanta police station in Quezon province had also been killed in another buy-bust operation led by the CITF.
Albayalde said “there will be no mercy” for rogue policemen, but the campaign against scalawags should be conducted “in a manner that should be patently smart and legal.”
“All operations against erring cops must be in accordance with the law,” Albayalde said.
Civilians interested in the bounty are not allowed to engage ninja cops directly but only provide information leading to the rogue officers’ capture, he said.
At least 1,000 more scalawags were on the list of CITF, he added.
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