CHR says Duterte’s ‘killing drug lords’ criteria for next PNP chief alarming
MANILA, Philippines – The ability to kill drug lords should not be part of the criteria used to pick the next Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Tuesday.
According to CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia, the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte are alarming as the police force’s mindset should be anchored on respecting the rule of law.
“For an institution that lives by the value of Service, Honour, and Justice, it is alarming to include the assurance to kill all drug lords as part of the criteria in choosing the next Chief of the PNP,” De Guia said in a statement.
“The spirit of the PNP motto ‘To Serve and Protect’ anchors on the faithful application of the rule of law and due process as important elements of justice. As such, we expect the next PNP Chief to embody these values and defend the rights, not of the few, but of all Filipinos,” she added.
On Monday, Duterte challenged the aspiring PNP chiefs to promise that they could kill drug lords — only then would he appoint a leader of the 190,000-strong police force.
“It’s not enough that you recommend to me. Kung sabihin, ‘Sir pag akong pinili mo patay lahat ang drug lords, patay lahat.’ Okay, ikaw,” the President said.
(It’s not enough that you recommend to me. If you say, ‘Sir, if you choose me, all drug lords will be killed. All dead. Okay, it’s you.)
Duterte initially said that he finds it hard to pick a new PNP chief — a post that was vacated by embattled former chief General Oscar Albayalde after a Senate blue ribbon committee exposed his alleged involvement in a drug recycling scheme when he was still Pampanga provincial police chief.
The President also hinted at the possibility that he himself would lead the police force, which was seen by some as an insult to the candidates.
Three candidates have been named by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, including current officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan, and Maj. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, although Duterte can appoint other officials within the one-star to the three-star ranks.
Amid all these, CHR clarified that they are in support of eradicating the drug trade, but stressed that the government should follow the procedures placed by law.
“While we support curbing illegal drug sale and use in the country, it cannot be done through shortcuts and sidestepping judicial processes. Making sure that the law works for the benefit of the people is what differentials (sic) our police and the government from bandits and rogue groups,” De Guia noted.
“The Commission on Human Rights hopes that merit, good character, and mastery of the PNP vision, mission, values, and pledges will define the next PNP Chief. It is a way to restore back the confidence in our police force and would send a strong signal here and abroad that the Philippines is committed to end impunity and the array of human rights violations that we continue to confront today,” she added.
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