Duterte statements 'embolden' cops: PNP spokesperson

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 07 2018 04:45 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2018 09:35 PM

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Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Chief Supt. John Bulalacao on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte's previous statements expressing support for police officers even when they err emboldens them.

"Somehow, nakatulong 'yun because whenever the President says something to that effect. Human as we are, the members of the Philippine National Police are getting emboldened, nagiging mas malakas ang loob nila to the point na minsan, nagiging hindi na sila responsible in what they are doing, just like what happened in Caloocan when Kian Delos Santos became victim of this police shooting incident," he told ANC's Headstart.

The police force was initially tapped to lead Duterte's war against drugs, but the campaign had been put on hold twice over reports of abuse and wrongdoing. 

These include the suspension of the campaign last year, after it was exposed that cops abducted South Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo and that he was killed at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, and after the spate of teen killings in Caloocan City involving police officers. 

Duterte has repeatedly promised to help cops involved in the bloody war on drugs. 

For instance, at the 120th founding anniversary of the Presidential Security Group last year, Duterte reiterated his vow that no police officer will be put behind bars for pursuing his anti-narcotics drive.

"I will not allow, even at the risk of losing the presidency, any policeman or soldier to go to prison for destroying the drug industry," Duterte said.

"For those who are facing charges, they can be very sure they can walk out free men," he added.

The President, however, appeared to have backtracked after the campaign went afoul over alleged police abuses. 

After the outcry over the killing of teenager Kian delos Santos in August 2017, Duterte reminded the police to follow rules of engagement in their operations. 

"If you do the country a favor, I will support you… Just follow the rules of engagement, the requirements of the performance of duty, which you have learned in your PNP,” Duterte said. 

"Murder and homicide or whatever -- unlawful killing -- is not allowed."