P2-M bounty for each cop coddling drug gangs
VOWING an intensified campaign against illegal drugs, President Duterte on Monday said he was considering putting up a P2-million bounty on every policeman coddling drug syndicates, urging other police officials to reveal the activities of the so-called “ninja cops.”
Mr. Duterte railed against critics who had complained that the poor who trade drugs to make a living were being targeted by the police, but added that military generals, city mayors, governors and police officials involved in the drug trade must also be stopped.
“I consider the fight against drugs a war, there is a crisis in this country, it is drugs … it has infected every nook and corner,” Mr. Duterte said in a National Heroes’ Day speech at Libingan ng mga Bayani before retired and active soldiers, government officials and foreign diplomats.
Singling out corrupt policemen known as “ninjas,” who take payoffs from drug lords, Duterte said he was placing a P2-million bounty on each rogue official, telling their colleagues to “squeal on your friends.”
Mr. Duterte last month named about 160 government officials, judges, policemen and soldiers who he said were protecting drug traffickers or selling drugs in their communities.
Police figures show that more than 1,900 people have been killed since Mr. Duterte came to power two months ago, promising to eliminate the narcotics scourge that he said had affected 3.7 million Filipinos.
Police say the death toll of about 36 people a day is a result of drug dealers resisting arrest or gang feuds.
The United States said last week it was “deeply concerned” about the reports of extrajudicial drug killings and it urged the Duterte administration to ensure that law enforcement efforts “comply with its human rights obligation.”
This month, two UN human rights experts urged Manila to stop the extrajudicial executions and killings. Mr. Duterte responded by threatening to leave the United Nations.
In his nationally televised speech on Monday, the President scoffed at accusations that he was trampling on human rights and said law enforcers should not worry about criminal liability while acting on his campaign.
“I will not relent. The campaign will be continuous and I will be … harsh as I can ever be,” he said in his 40-minute speech. “I am declaring war. I am not ordering the police to just (do) a few punitive action.”
Unless the problem is eliminated, he said, the Philippines might “end up like the South American countries and their fractured governments.”
Mr. Duterte lamented that many Filipinos still failed to recognize the enormity of the drug problem.
He said the proliferation of narcotics was just one of “many things that place us at a disadvantage now” and caused “disorder and disturb the peace.”
Said the President: “We have a drug crisis that some of our fellow citizens consider just a police problem. It even went to the extent that it is an ailment and that because it’s an ailment, the punitive action of the police should not take place.”
“I am sorry for my country for there are citizens (who) really fall short of grasping a situation here,” he added.
The President called on soldiers and policemen to “destroy the apparatus” of the illegal drug trade.
“You will have my support. You will have all the things that you need to fight criminals. Do not worry. In the pursuit of law and order pursuant to my directions, you do not have to worry about criminal liability,” he said. “I take full legal responsibility.”
As for the crooked government officials, he said: “There will be a day of comeuppance. There will always be a day of reckoning.”
The Philippine National Police welcomed Mr. Duterte’s proposed bounty.
“We see this as a bold initiative to once and for all rid the organization of errant personnel who are in cahoots with drug syndicates,” said Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos, the PNP spokesperson.
“We are fully aware of the alarming drug situation in the country such that we are giving this national campaign against drugs our complete and unqualified support,” he said.
Carlos said any information to be provided would be treated as confidential and would undergo rigid validation. He said the information can be sent through the PNP Text Hotline 09178475757 which is available 24/7 to receive and process confidential information. With reports from Cynthia D. Balana and the wires
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