Three Philippine police officers charged with robbery and extortion haven’t been suspended or fired from service, but instead were transferred to another post, authorities said Thursday. This raises questions and speculations about the degree of immunity for rogue officers have under the president’s war on illegal drugs.
The announcement for the punishment of the police trio came as an inquiry by the Senate probed into the murder of a South Korean businessman allegedly by anti-drug officers who extorted money from his wife.
Could this emboldened act of corrupt officers, as critics say, be reinforced by President Duterte’s repetitive pledges to shield the police if they are charged for killing drug suspects?
Quezon City police chief Guillermo Eleazar had this to say in response to the relocation of the three police officers.
(It) should serve as a lesson for those involved in illegal activities and also a stern warning for others not to do the same.
Duterte had previously sworn to transfer corrupt policemen to the autonomous region frontline against insurgency, where forces are battling militant groups, raising outcries from the local authorities.
Mujiv Hataman, the regional governor, however, critized this move by the President by saying.
Erring law enforcers must be held accountable. Sending them to the (region) is not a disciplinary action, rather it is a move that portrays our region as undeserving of dignified and dedicated public service.
Furthermore, he added that they ‘need the best of our country’s police on our side — not the worst.’