PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte "dressed down and castigated" relieved police officers in Bacolod City for allowing the illegal drugs trade to proliferate in the area, Malacañang said Wednesday, January 16.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that Duterte met with the relieved officers at the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday, January 15, to talk about their alleged involvement in the rampant narcotics trade.
Panelo said the Chief Executive vented his frustrations over the sacked police officers' failure to address the drug problem in Bacolod City.
"[Duterte] gave the police officers a dressing down and castigated them for allowing the proliferation of illegal drugs to persist in Bacolod," the Palace official said.
"The President particularly expressed his frustration as to why they had no knowledge about the presence of certain personalities in Bacolod who are involved in the illegal drug industry," he added.
The President on January 12 ordered the relief of Bacolod City Police chief Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo over the latter's supposed drug links.
Duterte also fired Superintendents Richie Yatar and Nasruddin Daud Tayuan; Senior Superintendent Allan Rubi Macapagal; and Senior Inspector Victor Paulino.
He floated the possibility that they may be "protecting" or are "in cahoots" with the drug syndicate in Bacolod.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) had said Ebreo and the four other police officers were not on their respective drugs watch lists.
The PNP and the PDEA, however, began their respective investigations to validate the President's claim against the sacked police officers.
Panelo said Duterte had personally told Ebreo, Yatar, Tayuan, Macapagal, and Paulino that they were relieved from their present posts, pending their investigation.
He maintained that amid the government's relentless efforts to destroy illegal drugs, Duterte would not tolerate abuses by perpetrated by policemen.
"This swift action of the President is a timely warning to other PNP officers that the President will not tolerate incompetence and inefficiency in the police force, especially with respect to the Administration’s crusade versus illegal drugs," he said.
"He (Duterte) will support policemen resorting to force only when the same is inevitable as when, in the performance of their duties, a suspect sought to be arrested performs aggressive and violent resistance amounting to an actual or imminent threat to their lives and limbs," he added. (SunStar Philippines)