MANILA - A local official on Thursday criticized the transfer to battle-scarred Marawi of 2 policemen who were caught on video mistreating civilians with a nightstick in Mandaluyong.
In a Twitter post, Lanao del Sur assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong said it is insensitive and offensive to treat Marawi as a dumpsite for erring cops while the town grapples with an attack of Islamic State-linked terrorists.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Adiong said Marawi deserves "good and credible officers," instead of being dangled as punishment for policemen.
"Huwag sanang maggamit, ma-exploit ang scenario na naghihirap kami rito. Naghihirap ang mga tao tapos gagawin tayong panakot sa mga abusado at mga may tendency na they go beyond what is in the book," Adiong said.
"Because of what is happening right now, what we need are good and credible cops -- not bad cops."
Erring officers, he added, should face administrative charges rather than banishment.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa himself ordered last week the transfer to Marawi of police officers 1 Jose Tandog and Chito Enriquez of the Mandaluyong community precinct 2.
Tandog and Enriquez were patrolling with village watchmen when they caught 2 men drinking on the sidewalk in violation of a local ordinance.
When they were brought to barangay hall, one of the men allegedly slapped Tandog, prompting the officer to beat him with a yantok.
Unknown to the officers, the man's companion was able to take and upload a video of the incident. The clip, later shown in media reports, has gone viral.
The 2 policemen were later relieved from their posts. They arrived Tuesday in Marawi.
Dela Rosa, for his part, said he does not see anything wrong with the transfer of Tandog and Enriquez.
"Ayaw ba nila na madagdagan sila ng tao dito. Give them a chance to reform themselves. I dont think may masama doon" Dela Rosa said.
"While may kaso sila, matanggal sila sa comfort zone nila kaya nilagay natin dun. Gusto niya ba wala tayong gagawin?" he added.
The PNP chief also noted that other officers linked to alleged abuses were previously reassigned to other areas like the Cordillera region. -- With Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News