By GENALYN D. KABILING
THE Philippine National Police has pledged to stay loyal to the Constitution and support President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs despite his openness to have a junta government replace him.
PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. said they remain committed to pursuing a “relentless and chilling” campaign against illegal drugs and weeding out scalawags among their ranks.
“As far as the Philippine National Police is concerned, I think that was also made clear by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, we will follow what’s written in the Constitution,” Durana said in a Palace press briefing when asked if they see any reason to establish a junta in case Duterte resigns from office.
Amid the President’s exasperation in dealing with corruption and illegal drugs, Durana said Filipinos should instead encourage the “father” of the nation to carry on his mandate and not contribute to his “monumental problems.”
“I think not only the Philippine National Police but rest of the Filipino people should encourage our father. Kung minsan sa pamilya natin, napapagod din magulang dahil siguro pasaway tayo masyado,” he said.
“As much as possible we don’t want to give him a lot of headaches. That’s why his priority, war on drugs, internal cleaning of the Philippine National Police, tinutulungan natin,” he added.
The President recently admitted that he was considering stepping down from office amid difficulties in fighting corruption and illegal drugs.
Duterte, who has a six-year mandate until 2022, said he was prepared to relinquish his post to a military junta or a competent successor like Sen. Francis Joseph “Chiz” G. Escudero or former Sen. Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
The former Davao City Mayor has refused to follow the constitutional succession, believing Vice President Leni Robredo was not competent enough for the presidency.
In the Palace briefing, Durana said they would continue to be “tough on crimes” but will carry out operations within the bounds of law. “We can be tough on crimes but sometimes you can be humane as well and making sure that human rights and the constitutional rights of those drug dealers or drug pusher are observed,” he said.
Durana said they would also continue the internal cleansing in the PNP. As of July 2018, he said 267 policemen have been dismissed from service due to drug use while 95 others were dismissed for other drug-related offenses.
He said the latest figures indicated that the police force does not tolerate “misfits and scalawags” in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“Our war on drugs has its good intentions, we don’t want to it to be marred by irregularities attendant to the police operations of some of our personnel. So we’ll be hard on them, weeding out misfits and scalawags,” he said.
Durana said they also appreciate the President’s support to the police force by allocating bigger funds for the PNP capability enhancement program. “In my 30 years in service, we were given lip service by previous administration, not this time. This government has taken good care of uniformed services,” he said.