The entire 1,200-strong police force in Caloocan is to be sacked and retrained in response to a series of controversies, including the killing of two teenagers and a burglary.
Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said today (Friday, September 15) that after 45 days of retraining they would be reassigned to other police units, not necessarily in Manila.
“We will start with the city’s police precincts two and seven,” he said. All personnel in Caloocan’s headquarters and seven precincts would be temporarily replaced by the regional public safety battalion, a combat-trained unit.
“This will be done in batches,” he said.
Albayalde did not say how long the retraining would last and 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 Duterte unleashed his war on, a campaign that has killed thousands of Filipinos.
The move comes amid intense scrutiny of police activities in Caloocan after the killing of 17-year old Kian Loyd Delos Santos last month in what police claim was an anti-drugs operation. Three officers involved in his killing say he fired at them and they acted in self-defence.
His lawyers and family, however, maintain he was murdered in cold blood.
Another teenager, Carl Arnaiz, suffered a similar fate. He was accused of trying to rob a taxi driver and shooting at police who tried to arrest him. The taxi driver has told reporters he saw him alive in custody.
About two dozen Caloocan residents, holding placards saying “Stop the Killings”, held a noisy protest outside the precinct’s police headquarters.
Caloocan police fired after burglary
Today’s order followed reports that 13 members of Caloocan’s precinct four raided an elderly woman’s home and stole money. The incident was captured on CCTV.
Footage of the alleged robbery was uploaded on social media sites and went viral. Albayalde then issued the orders to relieve the Caloocan precincts.
“From what we have seen this has been done or will continue to be done by others so it is best to implement this preemptive measure to avoid similar incidents,” he told reporters.
He warned other districts in Manila could face similar sanctions if they did not shape up.