President Rodrigo Duterte defended Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa as he vowed to overhaul the PNP in its anti-illegal drugs units after unscrupulous policemen used the Oplan Tokhang in committing crime.
In a press conference in Malacañan on Monday, January 30, the President said Dela Rosa tendered his resignation this weekend but he rejected it because it would not contribute to anything.
“But itong killing ng Koreano, the place was just incidental. Na-kidnap na nila, nakuha na nila, they could have killed, strangled him anywhere but (that it happened) inside the Camp Crame is really bad,” the President said.
What makes the offense morbid is the fact that after killing, the suspects cremated the victim and flushed his ashes down the toilet bowl, the President said.
The investigations tagged Supt. Rafael Dumlao as the mastermind of the crime although he is denying it, according to President Duterte, adding that it is actually a conspiracy and all the personalities involved had equal criminal liability.
Since Dumlao is already in police custody, Duterte called on the National Bureau of Investigation to surrender its assets involved in the crime within 48 hours or he would order Php 1 million reward for their capture.
Branding the PNP as corrupt, the President said he wants its anti-drug units to be abolished and replace them with an anti-narcotics body that will work hand in hand with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. PDEA, however, will remain the government’s anti-illegal drugs body.
The organizational shake-up will not affect the administration’s war on drugs, which the President said will continue until the last days of his government.
He also instructed Dela Rosa to look into the records of police officers with previous criminal offenses but reinstated in the service, stressing these policemen are usually the ones involved in crime.
Duterte said he wants them deployed to Sulu, Basilan, Zamboanga peninsula, and Lanao Del Sur, the government frontlines in its war against extremism.
The President also talked about the ongoing military campaign in Mindanao against the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Maute group, which he said have already recognized Isnilon Hapilon of Basilan to be the leader of ISIS-backed organization in the Philippines.
“And [Hapilon] was already given the blessing to be the leader ng ISIS. I don’t know if it covers Malaysia and Indonesia. But he is now the top honcho of the ISIS dito,” he said.
“He is billeted somewhere in Lanao and we have a full time military operation there,” he added.
What worries him, the President said, is their use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the past that makes communities vulnerable to devastating attacks.
The latest, he said, was the bombing of a flea market in Davao City last year.
These groups, he said, are too dangerous, prompting him to order full military operation especially in Lanao area to prevent them from carrying out bombing campaigns.
“That is why I said to the military and the police, you embargo the place, you contain them in that area alone, Lanao. Sana huwag nang lumabas sa ibang lugar. Diyan na lang tayo magbakbakan,” he said.
At the same time, he asked the Armed Forces of the Philippines to use all its available assets and weaponry at its disposal to destroy the extremists.
Duterte also sent a message to China asking for help particularly regarding precision-guided weapons that could be procured through loans.
The President also renewed his seriousness to tackle corruption in the country, warning those who are using his name to solicit favors from the government.
Government officials with directorial positions, he said, must regularly report to their offices for the benefit of the public.###PND