PNP to target riding-in-tandem, war on terror

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 13) The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed on Friday to finish off riding-in-tandem criminals and support the war on terrorism, following their removal from anti-drug operations.

"I have sent out directives to my regional directors na tutukan na ito dahil nangigigil na ako dito sa mga riding-in-tandem na ito [to focus on this because I'm irritated at these riding in tandem cases]," PNP Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa told CNN Philippines' The Source on Friday.

"Iniisip ng mga tao, na yung mga namamaril, pulis yan, o hindi nahuhuli dahil tinotolerate ng pulis... Humanda kayong mga riding in tandem, uubusin namin kayo," he added.

(Translation: The  people think that the gunmen are police, or that police tolerate them... To those who ride in tandem, get ready, we'll finish you off.)

This will be done by "[maximizing] police visibility, checkpoints, [and] coordination [at the] barangay level," Dela Rosa said.

The police chief added they would also lend a hand in the war on terror.

"Tinutukan namin yung ibang siyudad sa Mindanao na... potential na magiging target nitong mga ISIS-inspired local terrorist groups. Tutukan natin iyan, at bantayan natin," he said.

(Translation: We're working on other cities in Mindanao... which are potential targets of ISIS-inspired local terrorist groups. We'll work on that, and watch out for them.)

The new areas of focus come after President Rodrigo Duterte told the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to take the lead in the war on drugs. The police has since suspended its major anti-drug operations, Oplan Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang.

Related: No more 'Oplan Tokhang': Police suspends all anti-drug operations

PNP Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said on Thursday that Dela Rosa already ordered all drug enforcement units in police stations and regional offices be dissolved. The PNP's national support unit, the Drug Enforcement Group, remains.

Dela Rosa on Friday said he is considering having the Drug Enforcement Group work with the Counter-Intelligence Task Force (CITF) to augment the PNP's drive to clean their ranks of rogue cops.

Related: PNP to focus on internal cleansing, other crimes after shift in anti-drug ops

"Siguro yung aking PNP drug enforcement group, magfofocus kami more on internal cleansing, tulungan nila yung CITF... para talagang mahuli yung mga pulis na gumagawa ng kalokohan," he said.

(Translation: Maybe the PNP Drug Enforcement Group will focus more on internal cleansing. They'll help the CITF... to really catch rogue cops.)

The PNP has come under fire for perceived abuse and misconduct.

An SWS survey conducted in June 2017 revealed that over half of Filipinos did not believe that those killed in police operations actually fought back. "Nanlaban," or "fighting back," is a common reason police raise when asked about the deaths of suspects.

While SWS found 77 percent of Filipinos supported the drug war, it said nine out of 10 Filipinos preferred the suspects would stay alive.

According to police figures, almost 4,000 have died in such operations. However, human rights watchdogs estimate as many as 13,000 dead in both police ops and vigilante-style killings.

Various international institutions, including members of the United Nations and the International Criminal Court, have raised concern and condemned Duterte's drug war.