MANILA - Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan on Friday welcomed the move of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to relieve all policemen assigned in his city, saying drastic measures were necessary to cleanse the force.
"Suportado natin ang desisyon ng NCRPO na palitan lahat ang mga pulis ng Caloocan. Kailangan na ng drastikong pagkilos para maalis ang mga bugok na pulis sa lungsod" Malapitan said.
NCRPO chief Oscar Albayalde earlier said a total of 62 Caloocan City police officers have been relieved, while there are plans to reassign and retrain 1,000 more following recent incidents involving the city's police.
The city-wide police cleanse came as Caloocan's police force was in the middle of a controversy following the deaths of Kian Loyd Delos Santos, 17, and Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, in the hands of city cops in separate operations in August.
Delos Santos, who police tagged in illegal drugs, was slain in an anti-narcotics sweep in the City on Aug. 16, after allegedly shooting at pursuing officers. Arnaiz was meanwhile killed on Aug. 18 when he allegedly robbed a taxi driver, also in Caloocan.
But families of the two teens are calling for justice, asserting that the boys were not involved in crime. Witness statements and evidence also suggest the two were murdered.
Caloocan officers were also tagged in a robbery on Sept. 7.
Malapitan said that while there may be some negative perception about Caloocan at this time, his city remains peaceful.
"Ang Caloocan ay nananatiling matahimik na lungsod. Ang mga nangyayari, natitiyempuhan lang at hindi naman sa Caloocan nangyayari," Malapitan said.
He added that just last year, the Philippine National Police awarded the Caloocan City Police Station as one of the most outstanding. He said Caloocan was also recognized as one of the most peaceful cities in 2014 and 2015.
"Lahat ng ito'y gumuho dahil sa... sunod-sunod na mga pangyayari. Iniimbestigahan na ang mga ito. Hayaan po natin ang husgado na mag-desisyon," Malapitan said.
Various groups meanwhile staged a black Friday protest in front of the police headquarters in Caloocan City calling for an end to killings, especially of teens who they say have fallen victim to police impunity.
They called on authorities to be more humane in enforcing the government's drug war, and to be sure of the suspects they arrest and tag as drug personalities.
Senior Supt Jemar Modequillo, the newly appointed Caloocan City police chief, said the PNP leadership has taken steps to get rid of the undesirables in the force, and that appropriate charges have been filed against them.
Still, Modequillo appealed to the public not to quickly judge Caloocan police as scalawags, murderers, robbers or criminals.
While there may be some erring officers in the city, he said there are still many policemen who are doing the right thing, genuinely serving the public, and upholding the rights of citizens.
"Nagkakaroon tayo ng internal cleansing. Magkakaroon ng reshuffling. Baka mayroon nang too much familiarity," Modequillo said.
"Bigyan natin ng kaunting puwang, bigyan natin ng window 'yung mga gumagawa ng tama. Hindi lahat ng pulis loko. Mayroong ilan, hindi natin dine-deny 'yan, kailangan ito pagtulung-tulungan," he added.