Police force in Manila area relieved of duty

Police trainees from Metropolitan Manila arriving in Caloocan City yesterday, after the entire 1,200-strong Caloocan City police force was relieved of duty following a series of controversies.
Police trainees from Metropolitan Manila arriving in Caloocan City yesterday, after the entire 1,200-strong Caloocan City police force was relieved of duty following a series of controversies.PHOTO: EPA/EFE

MANILA • The Philippine capital's police chief yesterday ordered the entire 1,200-member police force in one of Manila's biggest areas to be relieved of duty and retrained, after a series of controversies including the killing of two teenagers.

Metro Manila's top police officer Oscar Albayalde said all personnel in the Caloocan area of the capital would undergo retraining and reorientation before being reassigned to other police units, not necessarily in Manila.

"We will start with the city's police precincts 2 and 7," director Albayalde said.

All personnel in Caloocan's headquarters and seven precincts would be temporarily replaced by the regional public safety battalion, a combat-trained unit. The police chief did not say how long the retraining would last or how long it would take for the entire police force in Caloocan to be replaced.

It is the first time an entire city police unit has been relieved of its duties since President Rodrigo Duterte unleashed his crackdown against illegal drugs 15 months ago.

The move comes amid intense scrutiny of police activities in Caloocan in the wake of the killing of 17-year old Kian Loyd Delos Santos last month in what police said was an anti-drug operation. His lawyers and family say he was murdered in cold blood.

Mr Duterte has ordered a thorough investigation into the Delos Santos killing and warned police he would not tolerate abuses.

Another youth, 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz, suffered a fate similar to that of teenager Delos Santos. Mr Arnaiz was accused of trying to rob a taxi driver and shooting at police who tried to arrest him.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2017, with the headline 'Police force in Manila area relieved of duty'. Print Edition | Subscribe