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Philippine lawmaker calls for tougher watchdog against corrupt police

IANS | May 29, 2023 10:27 AM

MANILA: The Philippines needs a new "hard-hitting independent watchdog" against rampant police corruption and misconduct, a lawmaker has said.

"The illegal drug trade, in particular, is clearly having a monstrous corruptive influence on police officers, and we must counteract this, " said Johnny Pimentel, vice chairperson of the House of Representatives good government and public accountability committee.

"We need a tougher watchdog that can swiftly carry out administrative and criminal investigations of police wrongdoing without fear or favor, " Pimentel was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.

Ongoing inquiries by the House of Representatives and the Senate have spotlighted the alleged complicity of police officers in drug trafficking, including stealing and selling confiscated methamphetamine.

At least 49 senior and junior officers, including a general and five colonels, have been implicated in the alleged whitewash of unlawful and unethical police actions during a 6.7 billion pesos (roughly $119.85 million) drug bust in Manila.

Pimentel said Congress should pass new legislation detaching the Internal Affairs Service (IAS), a service investigating infractions allegedly committed by the police, from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

"We should separate the IAS from the PNP and put the service directly under the control of the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, " Pimentel said.

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