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Rodrigo Duterte

New Philippine police chief vows to continue drug war

Oscar Albayalde asked the media: ‘Why would we stop a programme that is very effective?’

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 7:09pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 April, 2018, 10:01pm

The new top police commander of the Philippines pledged on Friday to keep up President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug war despite fresh international condemnation over the killings.

Director General Oscar Albayalde, who was sworn in Thursday, will now lead the narcotics crackdown that has killed thousands since Duterte came to power just under two years ago.

“How to sustain the drug war? In order to sustain it, we will not change anything,” Albayalde told reporters at his first press conference as commander.

He took over from Ronaldo Dela Rosa, who retired with hero’s honours this week after helping Duterte launch the crackdown.

“Why would we stop a programme that is very effective?” Albayalde added, citing “very good momentum and gains”.

Police on Friday announced another 13 alleged drug suspects were killed in a sweep that also led to the arrest of 58 people.

Albayalde’s comments came as the Philippines rejected a European Union Parliament resolution voted on Thursday that criticised the crackdown, the latest international condemnation of it.

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The EU lawmakers called “on the government of the Philippines to put an immediate end to the extrajudicial killings in the pretext of a ‘war on drugs’”.

It also claimed there were “credible reports to the effect that the Philippine police force is falsifying evidence to justify extrajudicial killings”.

Police say the campaign has killed around 4,100 people, but rights groups claim the toll is higher.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday denounced the EU parliamentary resolution as “interference” in Manila’s internal affairs, describing it as “biased” and “based on wrong information”.

Duterte last month pulled his country from the International Criminal Court after The Hague-based body’s chief prosecutor launched an initial examination into allegations lodged against the president over his drug war.

He also threatened to arrest the chief ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, if she tried to enter the Philippines to pursue her investigation.

On Sunday the Philippines deported EU politician Giacomo Filibeck, who has previously criticised Duterte because of the crackdown.