Task force vs police scalawags: What we know so far

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to “cleanse” the Philippine National Police (PNP) of scalawag cops who themselves are involved in crime, Director General Ronald dela Rosa ordered the creation of a “Counter Intelligence Task Force” meant to investigate and operate against erring cops.

But what exactly will the task force do and who are the cops tasked to chase after other cops?

Pending the release of the official memorandum, Rappler compiles a list of what we do know so far.

It will be composed of roughly 100 police officials, a bulk of whom are members of the PNP Special Action Force (SAF). According to Dela Rosa, the SAF troopers will “conduct tactical offensives against police scalawags.”

Senior Superintendent Chiquito Malayo, former deputy chief of the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office, will be its head. Malayo was the police chief of Zamboanga City when rogue Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters tried to seize the city.

The newly-created task force will be occupying the building that was once the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG), which has since been ordered dismantled by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

Aside from the SAF, the task force will tap counter-intelligence operations from the PNP Intelligence GRoup and investigators from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

The creation of the task force comes at a rather trying time for the PNP.

Nearly 8 months into a popular but controversial war on drugs, Duterte ordered a stop to all police anti-illegal drugs operations. Although the PNP has been hounded by allegations of abuse in the name of the drugs war, the tipping point seemed to have been the murder of Korean national Jee Ick Joo, allegedly by cops and National Bureau of Investigation operatives.

Police allegedly claimed they were conducting an anti-illegal drugs operation when Jee was taken from his home in Angeles City. He was killed the same day in front of the AIDG headquarters in Camp Crame.

The deadline of the task force’s “internal cleansing” efforts isn’t quite clear just yet. In a speech, Dela Rosa said that with the PNP’s cooperation, it might take as short as 1 month. Speaking to reporters a few days later, Dela Rosa said he wanted Malayo to get the job done before he retired in January 2018.

One thing’s for sure, though. Malayo and his men and women will have a tough job ahead of them – “cleansing” the PNP of its black sheep at a time when many are beginning to doubt its mandate “to protect and to serve.” – Rappler.com