MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday issued a new warning to so-called scalawags in the Philippine National Police (PNP), as the 195,000-strong force welcomed a new chief who vowed to impose a “low-key but stern kind of leadership.”
“I’d like to just issue a warning, that kayong mga pulis na nasa droga, nasa kidnap for ransom, kung ano-anong krimen na pinapasok niyo, pagdating niyo sa Bilibid [national prison], ang sasalubong sa inyo ay si Dela Rosa,” Duterte said in his speech during the retirement ceremony of police chief Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa will soon take the helm at the Bureau of Corrections, following a 21-month stint as the country’s top cop who oversaw the controversial phase of the war on drugs of the President.
Under Dela Rosa's leadership, the PNP faced several crises related to police abuse and human rights arising from the administration's anti-narcotics campaign.
Among the major crises Dela Rosa faced as PNP chief were the killings of Korean national Jee Ick-joo inside the police’s headquarters and teenager Kian Loyd delos Santos in what was supposed to be a legitimate police operation.
Dela Rosa described Jee’s killing in his speech as a “very low point” in the PNP’s history.
Dela Rosa’s successor, former National Capital Region Police Office chief Oscar Albayalde, nonetheless vowed to continue the war on drugs.
He also said he will impose strictness at the PNP, adding that no policeman should be caught sleeping on duty.
“I shall commit to continue my low-key but stern kind of leadership. We will focus on imposing strict discipline, reform and internal cleansing, and intensify the campaign against criminality and illegal drugs,” he said.
“We shall impose and breed discipline 24/7 and implement reforms at all levels of the Philippine National Police."