The president of the Philippines has temporarily suspended his brutal war on drugs and set his sights on a new target — cops who kill in cold blood.
Following the recent discovery that rogue police officers kidnapped and killed a South Korean national, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to shut down anti-narcotics operations nationwide until the Philippines National Police can be “cleansed” of crooked and murderous cops.
“Rogue cops, beware! We no longer have a war on drugs; we now have a war on scalawags,” PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said at a press conference Monday.
“As directed by the President, we agree to dissolve all anti-drug units at all levels including the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group,” he added.
More than 7,000 people have been killed in Duterte’s war on drugs. Around 2,000 were killed in police operations; the remainder were murdered by rogue cops and vigilantes. These extrajudicial killings have drawn significant criticisms from the U.S., human rights organizations, and the United Nations.
Late last year, several police officers kidnapped Jee Ick-joo and strangled him at the police headquarters at Camp Crane. The kidnappers then demanded a ransom payment of $100,000 from his wife.
The murder embarrassed Duterte and further tarnished the image of the police force.
“Crime is happening within our ranks,” Gen. dela Rosa said Monday.
“We have to focus our efforts towards internal cleansing,” he explained, “Right now, no more drug operations.”
Duterte initially promised to wipe out the drug problem within the first six months of his administration, but he was forced to extend the deadline after he realized the size of the problem.
Another extension was announced following the suspension of anti-narcotics operations. Duterte now promises to eliminate the drug crisis in the Philippines before he leaves office.
The drug war shutdown is temporary. Duterte intends to first weed out crooked cops and then restructure the police force to more effectively execute his policies. At that point, he will reportedly restart the war on drugs.
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