MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has issued two marching orders for the new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief: to clean up, and professionalize the police ranks.
Malacañang on Wednesday expressed confidence that new PNP chief Police Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan could weed out scalawags with only around two months in office.
"Hayaan natin siyang (Cascolan) bigyan ng pagkakataon na linisin ang hanay ng PNP, i-professionalize ang hanay ng PNP at isulong pa rin siyempe 'yung napakimportanteng war on drugs maski kakaunti lang po ang panahong mayroon siya bilang PNP chief," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
(Let's give him a chance to clean up the ranks of PNP, professionalize it, and continue with the war on drugs even if he has a short time to do it.)
Cascolan, who is set to retire from the police force in November, was named as the replacement of Police Gen. Archie Gamboa who bows out on Wednesday.
The new police chief said he intends to use his short stint at the helm to go after high-value drug suspects.
"Atin pa rin pong paiigtingin ang anti-drug campaign natin. Atin pong titingnan na ang high-value individuals ay sila ang dapat maaaresto. Ang case build up ay hindi lang dapat sa maliliit," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(We will intensify our anti-drug campaign. We will see to it that high-value individuals will be arrested. Our case build-up shouldn't be only for small-time drug suspects.)
A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, Cascolan’s “mistahs” or classmates include his predecessors, former police chiefs Gamboa, Oscar Albayalde and Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa.
Cascolan is no stranger to the drug war as he was among those who authored Oplan Double Barrel, which became the PNP’s flagship program in the war against illegal drugs.
Under this program is the controversial “Oplan Tokhang” which saw police officers knocking on homes to look for drug suspects. It is also linked to thousands of deaths, which the government said were justified as suspects allegedly resisted violently, prompting police to defend themselves.