Duterte warns 'gangster' ninja cops: I can be evil like you

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 18) — President Rodrigo Duterte warned 'ninja cops' or police officers involved in the illegal drugs recycling scandal, saying he can be evil like them.

Duterte referred to the so-called ninja cops as "gangsters."

"Mga gangster kayo, leche. You know, kayong mga ninja, kayong mga holdaper, kayong mga drug pusher, akala ninyo kayo lang ang matigas because you think that you have a monopoly of evil in this country. Well, I think that's a very stupid paradigm because I can be evil like you and more than if I want to be," he said in a speech on Thursday.

[Translation: You are gangsters. Ninja cops, holduppers, drug pushers, you think you're so tough because you have the delusion that you have a monopoly of evil in this country. Well, I think that's a very stupid paradigm because I can be evil like you and more than if I want to be.]

Acting Philippine National Police Chief Archie Francisco Gamboa recalled that Duterte earlier expressed disappointment with the police force.

"Gibuhat na nako ang tanan. Ngano man? [I have done everything. Why is this happening?]," he quoted Duterte's question to those who were at the command conference in Malacañang on Tuesday.

The "ninja cops" issue has plagued the PNP for weeks now. It was even a factor in the resignation of former top police chief Oscar Albayalde on Monday after he was linked to an irregular police raid in 2013.

Ex-PNP leader Albayalde was accused of attempting to block the dismissal of 13 "ninja" or drug-linked cops over a questionable drug sting in Pampanga when he was provincial police chief. The Pampanga policemen supposedly kept 160 kilograms of shabu for themselves and got P50 million and new SUVs in exchange for the freedom of Chinese drug lord Johnson Lee.

The Pampanga cops are now under "floating status."

There are several investigations related to the "ninja cops" issue. Senator Bong Go said he will forward to Duterte the committee report of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the issue. He said the President may use the report as one of his bases in deciding on who should lead the PNP next.