MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he backs the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief's heavy-handed acts against a police officer who allegedly extorted money from a drug suspect.
Duterte said he supports what Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar did to the policeman.
“Sabihan mo kay Eleazar, okay iyon. Eh ano bang namang ganon-ganon? Sabihin mo, I have his back covered,” Duterte said in a speech in Malacañang during the first anniversary celebration of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission.
Eleazar had apologized for losing his cool, but said his action was justified.
"Humihingi ako ng paumanhin kung hindi ko nakontrol, pero ang mga taong 'yan ang dahilan kung bakit tayo nasisira. Para sakin, dapat lang na ganun ang trato sa mga tiwali," Eleazar said.
(I apologize for losing cool but cops like him are tarnishing our reputation so he deserves it.)
The NCRPO chief justified his outburst and hoped it would serve as a "stern warning" for police officers.
"Mapahiya na ang mapahiya, let us show this as a stern warning," he said.
Earlier in the day, Eleazar was filmed grabbing Police Corporal Marlo Quibete's face and at one point pulling his hair after the latter's arrest.
Quibete, handcuffed, was then collared and berated by Eleazar in front of the media and other police officers.
Quibete, a member of the Eastern Police District's (EPD) Drug Enforcement Unit, was arrested after allegedly demanding P200,000 from a drug suspect.
Eleazar ordered the immediate relief of EPD chief Police Brigadier General Bernabe Balba and Pasay City Police chief Police Colonel Noel Flores, citing command responsibility.
Since Duterte launched his war on drugs in 2016, over 5,000 drug suspects have been killed in police anti-illegal drug operations, based on government figures. Human rights groups, however, said the official death toll is understated.
The war on drugs has also been criticized for alleged police abuses, with critics casting doubts about the legitimacy of police operations.