Lawmakers laud PNP move to cleanse ranks

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2017 06:29 PM

Police officers distribute anti-drug campaign leaflets. ABS-CBN News file photo

Several lawmakers on Monday welcomed the Philippine National Police's (PNP) decision to rid itself of rogue cops before pursuing the war on drugs.

Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said there is a need to reorient the police.

"What should be tabled should be the cleansing of the ranks ng mga kapulisan," Castelo said in an interview.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, meanwhile, said in a text message that the PNP should have cleansed its ranks first before implementing the war on drugs.

Alejano also called for a review of the controversial Oplan Tokhang, saying it violates the constitutional and human rights of suspects. He said Oplan Tokhang is prone to abuse. Alejano added that the police should continue to pursue big-time drug lords.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said that while he favors the PNP's move to cleanse its ranks, this should not mean stopping the campaign against illegal drugs. 

Atienza instead called for a stop to extra-judicial killings.

"This is where scoundrels are able to insert their criminal and abusive operations on helpless citizens. Let's stick to the right path respecting rights and the rule of law," Atienza said. 

Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque, in a statement, said cleansing the PNP's ranks is necessary.

"The sheer volume of abuses committed by the police, particularly the extralegal killings, during the implementation of Oplan Tokhang cannot be simply ignored," Roque said.

"The murder of Jee Ick Joo is proof that one of the pillars of our criminal justice system the police are the ones involved in crimes instead of being the ones implementing the law," he added.

He also said that unless the police and other pillars of the criminal justice system are reformed, he will continue to oppose the reimposition of the death penalty.

"Reforming the police force and the judicial system, not the imposition of the death penalty, is the most efficient way to deter crimes," he said.

The House of Representatives is set to tackle in plenary the reinstatement of capital punishment in the country.

The lower house has made the revival of capital punishment as one of its priorities. The Senate, however, said it does not consider this a priority.