The next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) would rather have his men killed outright than charged in court if found to be involved in illegal drugs.
In a television interview, Chief Supt. Ronald dela Rosa said policemen with drug links have the money to defend themselves before the courts and eventually return to their illegal activities while keeping their jobs as law enforcers.
“Rogue policemen must die. If they get arrested and charged in court, many of them manage to return to the service, and just appeal their cases. So they have to be killed,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino.
But he stressed they would only be killed if they don’t reform after being warned.
He said a revamp would be implemented in the hierarchy of the PNP as soon as he assumes office.
Dela Rosa is the personal choice of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte to replace PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez. Like his patron, Dela Rosa didn’t mince words in voicing his desire to have drug lords and pushers executed.
He claimed one percent of the country’s 160,000 policemen are hooked on illegal drugs.
“We have 160,000 policemen nationwide. What is one percent? About 1,600 of them are addicts, more or less, in the entire Philippines. Even if 99 percent of the policemen perform well and one percent are bad, only the one percent will get media attention,” he said.
He advised drug-using policemen to surrender and admit their folly. He said they can turn themselves in to their unit commanders, admit their wrongdoing and seek to be given another chance. “I will place them in a reformatory unit so they can reform their lives,” he said alternately in English and Filipino.
But Dela Rosa doubted protectors and pushers would turn their back on illegal drugs.
“They have long enjoyed the drug trade and they have earned a lot. Man is greedy. I doubt if they won’t go back to their illegal ways. The temptation of drug money is powerful,” he said in Filipino.
While there were reports on the rising sale of ecstasy pills in parties, Dela Rosa said shabu or the poor man’s cocaine still remains the highest traded drug in Metro Manila, Central Luzon (Region 3), Southern Tagalog (Region 4A), Western Visayas (Region 6) and Central Visayas (Region 7).
He vowed to prioritize cleansing the PNP of personnel involved in illegal drugs, whether pushers or protectors.
He said he would not hesitate to dismiss police commanders who are unable to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs in their areas of jurisdiction.
“We’ll run out of policemen. If one can’t get the job done, he gets replaced. This will go on until the job gets done, “ he said.
Dela Rosa said he is willing to give drug-dealing policemen a chance to reform and live better lives.
“Knock-and-plea. House visit is no violation of domicile,” he said.
Dela Rosa said they would literally knock on doors to warn erring officers that their nefarious activities were known to the entire neighborhood.
“We will beg for him to stop or we will make him stop,” he said. He promised to support individuals who want to be reformed and rehabilitated.
He said he would ask barangay officials to provide authorities with a list of personalities involved in drugs in their localities.
“The police officials should dialogue with barangay officials more frequently,” he said.
Dela Rosa stressed the need for double-checking, as some barangay officials themselves might be involved and would use the tack to eliminate their enemies.
After “Oplan Katok,” Dela Rosa said the police would secure and implement search warrants.
He recalled that during his stint as Davao City police chief, a number of illegal drug personalities left Davao City and returned to Marawi and Cotabato to avoid getting killed or arrested.
When asked where he thinks drug personalities would go next as the anti-illegal drug campaign would be nationwide, Dela Rosa replied “they should go abroad.”
He said the local and territorial police would focus on supply and demand reduction in the barangay and street levels, while national agencies like PNP-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency would go after big-time drug lords and laboratories.
He expressed belief being a tough leader would also inspire his followers in the PNP.
“From city level to national level, it’s about leadership, if the leader is no-nonsense, tough and determined, he will gain respect from his followers,” he said.
“The policemen can come to me anytime. I will fight with them, I will die with them, I will operate with them as I do not intend to stay inside my office only,” he said.
Dela Rosa likewise said that he would make sure that human rights protocols are followed in every police operation.