MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday he would wait for the Senate to conclude its investigation into alleged 'ninja cops,' saying he would be fair to those tagged as he emphasized "due process."
Speaking to reporters before his departure for Russia, Duterte also gave a measured response when asked of his confidence in Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Police General Oscar Albayalde, who has been tagged in the racket of recycling seized illegal drugs.
"If it comes to a serious thing as dismissing a top official here and there, it must be for a good reason and there must be enough proof," said the President, with Albayalde in the audience.
He cited how Albayalde was linked to alleged ninja cops in Pampanga during his time as regional director, as alleged by former PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group chief and now Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong.
Albayalde has denied the allegations.
Duterte said Albayalde was linked "up to that point" because the tagged officers "were under his command."
The President, who met Magalong and Albayalde separately last week, said he would let the Senate finish its proceedings.
"...[I]n obedience to the separation of powers and respect for each other’s departments, I should allow the senate to complete its investigation," he said.
Once sent to him, he would forward the report to the Department of Interior and Local Government, the agency that oversees the PNP.
He said he would give Interior Secretary Eduardo Año enough time- "not so short, not too long"- to review and investigate.
"So the most proper thing to do which is in line with procedural due process is to await for the closure of the investigation by the Senate and when it is forwarded to me, since it is... the police is under DILG, the bureau under Secretary Año," the President said.
He said he could not just adopt the Senate report as his own. And in deciding the fate of those implicated, the President vowed to be fair.
"But when I decide on the basis of the report of Secretary Año, I can dismiss, discharge, terminate any and all of them. So hintayin ko 'yan. But we will be fair," Duterte said.