PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte warned personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Davao Region to take good care of the Mitsubishi Montero vehicles donated by the Japanese government, telling them they can drive off cliffs using their old vehicles, but not the Monteros.
"Use it, utilize it for peace and order purposes. Ang akin diyan is, ‘yung hindi marunong mag-drive, huwag ninyong praktisan. Marami tayong luma, ibigay ko ‘yung iba sa inyo o bilihan ko kayo ng pang-practice. Doon ninyo ihulog sa --- mamili ka ng malalim na ridge diyan sa Diversion Road," the President said in his speech during the turnover ceremony of 26 units Mitsubishi patrol vehicles and inauguration of New Regional Crime Laboratory Office building at Ecoland Subdivision last Monday, January 15, 2018.
He recalled his time as mayor of Davao City when new Isuzu pickups have just been bought by the city for its local police, when one police officer who drove off with one of the pickups while drunk and crashed this.
"Sinampal ko. I slapped him twice and kicked him in the stomach," the President admitted. The policeman, he said, is now behind bars but for an entirely different crime and long after the pickup incident.
"It should not be used -- that’s my policy when I was mayor. It should not be used for personal errands for any officer. It should be where the regulation directs them to be where they are. And I’d think the city has still adopted the policy of hiring civilian driver so that they should be able to maintain the quality at least for a longer period of time those motor vehicles," he said.
He recalled how the city first started providing additional vehicles to the police force when he first became mayor. But at that time, the city's revenues was very small, thus, even the budget for the police was tight. Thus, the donated vehicles were locally manufactured, "Borras and Company", he said. Borras is a local jeepney maker in the mold of the iconic Sarao Motors and Francisco Motors.
"But at that time, I’d always been very emphatic about maintenance. Kasi the life or the shelf life or the serviceability of a motor vehicle would greatly depend on maintenance," he said.
"Montero, for the average Filipino, is a luxury car. And yet, it is given by way of donation for the use of the police. I expect the --- with that kind of quality, I should say that it should last for more than, with proper maintenance, mga 50 years siguro. No, actually…" he said.
It can be recalled that the purchase of pickups for the City Councilors some two decades ago became controversial when those against the administration of Duterte as mayor were saying that these were too expensive to be used as service vehicles of councilors. To this day, some of the pickups are still in service.
"Because sinabi ko nga, 'Huwag ninyong drive-an ‘yan at praktisan lalo na ‘pag lasing.' Kaya please just try to give a sense of obedience to the orders that are really good for you," he said.