President Rodrigo Roa Dduterte reacts during a press conference held at Malacanang palace, Aug 7,2017.
INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC
President Duterte on Wednesday promised a reward of P2 million each for the capture, dead or alive, of police officers involved in killings in Ozamiz City that are being linked to the Parojinog family.
Mr. Duterte announced the bounty even as he warned police officers against involvement in the narcotics trade.
He also said policemen collaborating with the Parojinogs would get their “comeuppance.”
“Do not go into the contraband itself, like the policemen who are now short-listed in the killing of so many civilians buried in the cemetery in the back of the barangay hall. Each of those policemen carry on their head now, I am announcing, P2 million per head,” he said in a speech during the celebration of the 116th anniversary of police service in the country held at the Philippine National Police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“P2 million per head, dead or alive,” he said, adding that he preferred them dead so that he would not have to spend for them.
Police have reportedly dug up sacks containing bones in what is said to be a mass grave in Ozamiz City allegedly used by the Parojinog family, who have been accused of involvement in the narcotics trade.
Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., his wife and 13 others were killed in an alleged shootout during a warrant raid on the family’s compound in Ozamiz last month.
In addressing the PNP, the President reiterated his promise to protect officers conducting antidrug operations, but he also told them to tell him the truth and not to commit crimes, including extrajudicial killings.
“And I tell you now: Do your duty and I will protect you. Do not abuse, do not commit crime, not the extrajudicial killing pictured by the human rights, just leave them alone,” he said.
But officers should fight back if suspects offer violent resistance, he said.
“If you have to shoot them, shoot them in the head,” he added.
Mr. Duterte also said he would not obstruct justice when coming to the aid of policemen, and would allow the processes to run their course.
But in the end, he would use his power as President to pardon them, he said.
When he signs the pardon, he will include his own name, he added.
Drug business devastated
The PNP has effectively devastated the narcotics trade in the country, according to the PNP chief.
Speaking at the PNP anniversary celebration, Director General Ronald dela Rosa said 65 officers had died and 170 other injured since the launch of the war on drugs in June last year.
Despite the PNP losses, the campaign against narcotics remains “strong, sustained and relentless,” he said.
According to PNP records from July 2016 to June this year, 1.3 million drug users have surrendered, reducing demand for “shabu” (crystal meth) by 85,589 kilograms, or P500 billion in losses for traffickers.
Among those who have surrendered are 3,522 “high-value targets.”
Police have carried out 64,527 operations, resulting in the arrest of 86,030 people and the deaths of 3,264 suspects.