MANILA, Philippines — Rodrigo Duterte praised the military for helping with relief efforts for residents affected by Typhoon Odette, but indicated that the police lack discipline and are “corrupt to the core.”
During part two of his pre-recorded Talk to the People aired on Tuesday, Duterte described the military as “utility workers” capable of helping the government in both armed conflicts and natural disasters.
“Utility worker itong mga sundalo, bagyo, baha, sunog, landslide, away, kanila ‘yan. Kung wala kang mamobilize, ganitong mga biglaan, there’s a lot of people to be assisted, sundalo lang talaga ‘yan, matawag mo para tumulong, na hindi magsabi ‘hindi.’ ‘Yung ibang, ano, sapaw yan, hindi namin trabaho ‘yan. Sundalo. But pulis, there are certain exempt,” he said.
(Soldiers are utility workers during storms, floods, fires, landslides, and armed conflicts. If you can’t mobilize anyone, you can call the soldiers. Others would say it’s not their job. For the police officers, there are certain exemptions.)
“Itong pulis medyo kailangan ng ano, depende sa CO (commanding officer) nila, ‘yung kanilang superior. Kapag istrikto ‘yung superior or commanding general or station commander, lalo na sa taas, kapag ‘yung nasa taas sa pulis ay malinis, sigurado mo, pababa ‘yan malinis. But if the head happens to be a corrupt officer, down below corruption malakas,” he added.
(These police officers depend on their superior. If their superior or commanding general or station commander is not corrupt, they will not be corrupt. But if the head happens to be a corrupt officer, corruption is also prevalent down the organization.)
“Hindi ko inaano ang pulis, hindi kasi kasing, well, I don’t want to… Baka kasi sabihin nila nagpapabor ako, but kulang talaga ng discipline itong pulis,” he also said.
(I am not belittling the police. They are not just that… Well, I don’t want to compare. They may say I favor others, but the police really lack discipline.)
Duterte believes that corruption can occasionally occur in some police work.
“Mga gambling, basta may illegal, malapit ang pulis dyan pero kapag head ng PNP (Philippine National Police) ay hindi corrupt, down the line, hindi ‘yan, mag-iwas ‘yan,” he noted.
(Police officers are near gambling and anything illegal, but if the head of the PNP is not corrupt, policemen down the line will also avoid illegal activities.)
The President, however, said he is satisfied with the performance of the PNP as he nears the end of his term.
“But overall, actually ang pulis I am satisfied. Magtatapos na ako ng term ko for the so many years that I have been their commander in chief. Okay ang performance except for a few. There will always be bad eggs, basta an organization na ganoon kalawak. Meron talagang scalawags,” he said.
(But overall, I am satisfied with the police. I am nearing the end of my term of being their commander in chief. There will always be bad eggs in an organization that is that big. There will always be scalawags.)
“Sabi ko nga eh itong droga, sabi ko in six months time kasi sa Davao nilinis ko six months time, pagdating ko sa Maynila ang kalaban ko anim na generals. Nasa droga eh, susmaryosep. Ang akala ko ang kalaban ko mga durugista, mga kriminal. Hindi ko alam na ang kalaban ko mismo, gobyerno ko, Customs, lahat,” the President added.
(I said I would finish the drug trade in six months because I did it in Davao. But when I arrived in Manila, my enemies were six generals who were in the drug trade. I thought I was fighting against drug lords. I did not know that my enemies were from the government.)
Duterte then praised retired military generals in his Cabinet, including Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr., and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
“I am praising the military because they deserve it. I am praising the police with a few exceptions. Sana naman ‘yung exceptions hindi matabla doon sa karaming maiwan (I hope the exceptions will not overpower the good),” he said.
According to Duterte, scalawag police officers want the pandemic to prolong because they can wear face masks and cover their faces in gambling and cockfighting sites.
“Ito namang maskara, sabi ko sa pulis, ayaw kitang makita na magsugal, so hirap sila, ‘yung mga sugarol talaga. Kaya if there is somebody na ayaw nilang matapos itong COVID, gusto nila, patagalan for the longest time, ay ang mga buang maskara. Magcap lang, tapos magmaskara tapos magbili nung binibili sa sidewalk na murang shades,” said Duterte.
(I told the police I don’t want them to gamble. That’s why if there are people who do not want COVID to stop, it’s the scalawag police officers who want to wear masks. They will wear caps and masks and buy cheap shades.)
“Mag-shades lang, mag-cap pati maskara pasok sa sabungan ‘yan, hindi mo makita. Ang pulis happy sa COVID. May cover sila, ‘yung mga scalawags. Pero at least medyo ngayon medyo disiplinado sila,” he noted.
(They will wear shades and masks and enter cockfighting sites, making themselves virtually unidentifiable. The police are happy with COVID. The scalawags have a cover. But at least now, they are more disciplined.)
This was not the first time Duterte has expressed his dismay over the police. In 2017, he also called the PNP “corrupt to the core” following the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo at the hands of police officers.