In the Philippines, hundreds of senior police officers were asked to resign on Wednesday as the government sought to 'clean up' the ranks of law enforcement littered with corruption-related cases drug trafficking.
Interior Minister Benjamin Abalos has urged all police colonels and generals – about 300 in total – to tender their “courtesy” resignations, a “handful” of between them being involved in drug trafficking according to an investigation.
While a committee of five members will examine their file, the senior officers will still be able to continue working. On the other hand, those found guilty will have their resignations accepted, Abalos said during a press conference at the national police headquarters in Manila.
“If you are not involved, there is no reason to worry,” the minister said, adding that anyone who did not resign would be considered a “suspicious”.
According to him, this “radical” approach, recommended by the head of the national police Rodolfo Azurin, constitutes a “shortcut” to finish the job more quickly, the previous investigations into the allegedly corrupt officers having taken a long time and delivered few results. .
“It's the only way to clean up the ranks of the police quickly,” Abalos said. “It's hard to go to war when your ally is shooting you in the back.”
Although this method alone will not rid the police of corruption, it could “send the message to the lower levels that what may have been tolerated for a time under the previous (presidency) will no longer be so”. said Sam Ramos-Jones, a security analyst.
Philippine police are waging an anti-drug campaign, launched by former President Rodrigo Duterte and continued by his successor Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Since 2016, police have killed thousands of suspected drug traffickers and users, but critics say the rich and powerful have largely been spared.
It is not the first time that such drastic measures have been used to cleanse the ranks of Philippine law enforcement.
In the early 1990s, former President Fidel Ramos cracked down on the country's police, ordering the resignation of all officers over the age of 56 or c them having more than 30 years of service. At the time, the national police chief and nine other officers had resigned.