Metro Manila's top police official vows strict vetting of personnel to be assigned to drug war

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 7) — Metro Manila's police chief on Thursday ordered the strict vetting of personnel to be assigned to the war on illegal drugs in a bid to curb alleged abuses by the police.

Metro Manila Police Director Oscar Albayalde said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will pursue the internal cleansing of the police force.

"We will not hesitate to send another batch of police officers to the Focused Reformation/Reorientation and Moral Enhancement (FORM) if that is what's needed to correct their lapses," Albayalde said in a statement.

"We shall also continue other refresher courses on human rights laws and police operational procedures needed by our police officers", he added.

This comes after a thousand Caloocan police on Monday finished nearly two months of the Focused Reformation/Reorientation and Moral Enhancement program. The retraining came after teenagers Kian Delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz were allegedly killed by Caloocan police in separate incidents in August.

READ: Caloocan police complete reorientation program  

Of the 1,076 policemen who from Caloocan who underwent retraining, 104 failed to pass. Of those who failed, 29 were recommended to be deployed outside Metro Manila, 41 will undergo retraining, while 32 were identified as unfit to serve and may face dismissal from the police force.

All police officers involved in anti-drug operations must wear body cameras so as to "not repeat the previous lapses during the implementation of war against illegal drugs," Albayalde said.

The PNP's Anti-Illegal Drugs campaigns Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel will resume after President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday gave the PNP the go-signal to rejoin the government's war on drugs.

READ: Duterte allows police to go back to drug war

The police is set to work with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) - the lead agency in the drug war. The PNP gave its assurance that measures are in place to make anti-drug operations transparent.

PDEA said the PNP is free to pursue Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel, but stressed the police need prior coordination with them on any anti-illegal drug activities.

READ: PNP to resume anti-drug operations

The group Human Rights Watch said allowing the PNP to return to the drug war means a rise in alleged extrajudicial killings. The group claimed that there were more than 12,000 deaths related to the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs.

But official police records state that less than 4,000 drug suspects were killed in legitimate police operations: 34 by PDEA agents and 3,933 by the police.

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles and Lara Tan contributed to this story.