MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday defended his embattled police chief over allegations he may be involved in illegal drugs.
Amid calls for Philippine National Police chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde to resign over alleged drug links, Duterte said the country's top policeman is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
"Kung yung mga kriminal may (Even criminals have) presumption of innocence. You know, Albayalde is the PNP chief. Give me clear proof that he was there on the trafficking of drugs. Just because he was the, tapos may tinawagan sya (he called someone), I could not just do it in knee jerk. I have to follow procedural due process and allow him to answer. It's given to kidnappers, it should be given to him," Duterte said after arrival from his visit to Russia.
Duterte also backtracked from his earlier claim that 2 generals were involved in "recycling" narcotics confiscated from drug dealers.
The President said he simply got confused with the police ranks and that he was referring to police colonels and not generals.
"Alam mo I must admit my ignorance actually. Iyong ranggo kasi nung nauso ‘yang sup-sup, superintendent tapos kung ano-anong…Kaya sa panahon ko sabi ko bumalik kayo doon sa police colonel, police major, police lieutenant, kasi pati lahat ng tao nalilito ‘yang sup-sup na ‘yan. Superintendent pala ‘yan eh,"he said.
(I should admit my ignorance actually. The ranks, because when they started using sup-sup, superintendent...That's why during my time, I said let's go back to police colonel, police major, police lieutenant, because even people get confused. That sup-sup, that's superintendent.)
"Wala, walang generals. I’m sure of that. Sa aking report na dumating sa akin, wala. Parang, colonel I think," Duterte added.
(No, there are no generals. I'm sure of that. In the report that I received, there were no generals. I think there are colonels.)
The President also said he cannot simply adopt the results of the Senate probe into police involvement in drugs.
"I cannot adopt the investigation of Congress as the work of the Executive Department. Kailangan ko na i-review yan, tapos kung tama lahat eh i-adopt ko."
(I need to review that and if everything is correct then I'll adopt it.)
Duterte first mentioned about the generals involved in the illegal drug trade during plenary session of the Valdai forum in Sochi, Russia last Thursday.
The President earlier ordered the Department of Interior and Local Government to investigate Albayalde and other policemen linked to the recycling of illegal drugs. The PNP is under the supervision of the DILG.
Albayalde was chief of the Pampanga regional police in 2013 when several of its members were accused of recycling drugs by Benjamin Magalong, then head of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. The charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence. - With a report from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News