MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants honest and patriotic young law enforcers to become the frontliners in the government’s war on drugs.
In a chance interview with reporters on Monday, the President said he has required Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa to look for young men who are imbued with patriotic fervor to join the PNP and serve the country.
“The standard is you must be honest, efficient, you must not be corrupt so that everything will be in order,” Duterte told the media before attending a car launch event in Malacañan Palace.
He said he would discuss the problem on drug war with police and military during a scheduled command conference on Monday.
Duterte said the drug problem was a virulent thing and it could not be solved easily. Therefore, he said Dela Rosa had to find people whom he could trust to handle the anti-illegal drugs campaign.
The President likewise expressed frustration over corrupt police officers who used Oplan Tokhang to make money.
With regard to Senator Leila De Lima’s safety while in detention, the President assured the lawmaker that she would be 100 percent safe while in police custody.
“I assure you that she is safe. I think people are interested not to see her dead but to see her in prison for what she did,” he said.
Asked if De Lima’s arrest serves as a warning to administration critics, the President said unless they were involved in drugs they should not be afraid.
He said he did not know if there were other critics who would suffer the same fate as De Lima noting he did not interfere with the job of the Justice Secretary.