Key cops helming Duterte's drug war get top posts in reshuffle

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 20, 2018

Police at the helm of the Philippine war on drugs were given top posts in the national force on Thursday, indicating no let-up in a brutal crackdown that has caused global alarm, and defined Rodrigo Duterte's 21-month presidency.

Retired national police chief Ronald dela Rosa dared Thursday an worldwide human rights group to file charges against him in connection with deaths and alleged abuses in the conduct of war on drugs.

"We will not relent on our war against illegal drugs and other forms of criminality".

"We will help and support each other to fight and win this war".

In Metro Manila, Albayalde was replaced by Camilo Cascolan, a police commander who had rolled out "Double Barrel" - a controversial project and key feature of the drug war that includes a system known in the Philippines as "Tokhang".

The official was reacting to the statement of the New York-based group Human Rights Watch that dela Rosa should be held accountable for thousands of Extra-Judicial killing under the war on drugs which targets mainly slum dwellers.

However, the operations resulted in the death of 131 police officers, while 346 were wounded in action.

He said Dela Rosa was an "enthusiastic supporter" of the deadly campaign.

But Duterte, who witnessed the change of command at the headquarters of police in Manila, said the drug war would continue until his last day in office in 2022.

"How could I face the people if the drugs are being sold everywhere?"

He argued that what the HRW is doing is clearly a case of trial by publicity.

Human rights groups believe the death toll has been understated, and accuse the authorities of executing suspects and staging crime scenes.

HRW research found that numerous killings had been "summary executions" in which police or their agents allegedly planted weapons and drugs on bodies and then claimed the victims had "fought back". The outgoing police chief, Dela Rosa, will head the bureau of corrections. The duo claimed that Duterte took the strategy nationwide when he became president.

"They should stop making noise, he said. We fall down seven times but we get up eight times", Director General Ronald dela Rosa told PNP officers and men in a mix of Filipino and English. "If they have the evidence and they have the case, file the case".

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