MANILA, Philippines – Rodrigo Duterte revealed more details of his most famous campaign promise: to suppress crime, drugs, and corruption in government in 3 to 6 months.
During an interview with media on Thursday, April 14, in Lipa City, he was asked what his first executive order as president will be.
“I will raise the level of the drug threat into a national security issue,” he said.
“I need two divisions sa army, ranger-trained. I need 3,000 policemen. And ‘pag na-position ko sila (when I position them), I will ask the military and the police to go after the criminals and the druglords and my order is, if they would resist with violence, kill them,” he elaborated.
He also plans to implement Davao City’s world-class 911 emergency response center on a national scale by upgrading the equipment used for law enforcement and response. (READ: Duterte, Cayetano platform focuses on crime, economy)
“Because it’s direkta, ‘911,’ you have been to Davao. May bumbero ako na sarili sa Davao City. Hindi ko naman minamaliit ang Bureau of Fire Protection but they don’t have the equipment. Pagka national ganoon eh. That’s the reason why there is a desperation. Why can’t we just do it right?” he told media.
(Because it’s direct, ‘911,’ you have been to Davao. I have my own firetruck for Davao City. I am not belittling the Bureau of Fire Protection but they don’t have the equipment. When it comes to national agencies, it’s like that.)
Asked where he would get the money for this, he said, “[There’s] plenty of money, huwag lang i-corrupt (as long as it does not go to corruption).”
Empowering the police
A major component of his anti-crime approach is to empower the police.
“Ngayon, alam ng police ang trabaho nila (Now, the police know their job). All you have to do is provide the leadership at protektahan mo sila (and protect them),” he said.
Duterte has always asserted that a corruptible police force is the reason for the growing criminality and rising problem of illegal drugs in the country.
He would make them honest by giving them better salaries and protecting them from lawsuits filed by powerful criminals.
The threat of lawsuits is often what makes law enforcers hesitant to make arrests or conduct raids. Law suits could lead to internal police investigations during which policemen involved are temporarily suspended.
“The first a lawyer of the suspect would do, which is just natural actually, is to file a counter-charge and make it as a leverage. The problem is, the police have no legal assistance and then when they are suspended, there is nothing on the table and the pay is too low. That’s why I said, I’m going to double the salaries of the military and the police,” he said.
'I will be exacting'
Along with these new perks, Duterte said he would impose higher standards on the police and military.
“But I would be exacting. Magiging exacting talaga ako sa performance and service. Ayoko ‘yang palaboy-laboy, ‘yung naririnig kong nanghihingi, eh doblado na suweldo nila,” he said.
(I will be exacting on their performance and service. I don’t want them just loitering around, asking for bribes when I’m already doubling their salaries.)
Two days ago, Duterte clarified that his promise is he would "suppress" crime and drugs, not stop them completely.
He has been criticized by administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II for "fooling" the people by making an impossible promise.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.