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Entire city police force sacked in Philippines after murder claims

An entire city police force in the Philippines has been sacked after some of its members were suspected in the killings of three teenagers, with others seen on surveillance cameras robbing a house.

The 1,200-strong Caloocan city police force will be relieved in batches and replaced, said Manila’s metropolitan police chief, Oscar Albayalde. The officers will do 45 days of retraining, after which those facing no charges can be reassigned to other stations.

The justice department has started an investigation based on a murder and torture allegation against four Caloocan police officers allegedly linked to the killing of the 17-year-old student Kian delos Santos during an anti-drug raid last month.

The parents of two other teenagers – Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14 – have also filed murder, torture and planting of evidence complaints against two Caloocan officers.

Trainee officers being briefed outside Caloocan city police station on Friday (AP).

Last week, CCTV footage emerged that purportedly showed 13 policemen robbing a house during an alleged drug raid.

The crackdown on drugs by the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, which has left thousands of suspects dead, has come under renewed scrutiny after the killing of Delos Santos. Police described the teenager as a drug dealer who fired at officers during a raid, but his family and witnesses said the student was shot as he pleaded for his life.

Witnesses pointed to evidence, including security camera footage, which they said showed two police officers dragging Delos Santos away shortly before shots rang out and he was found shot in the head, holding a pistol with his left hand although he was right-handed. Police officers testified at a Senate hearing that Delos Santos was not the man seen being dragged in the video, although several witnesses doubted the police statement.

Delos Santos’s death was followed by another outcry over the killing of Arnaiz, a former student at the University of the Philippines. Police said he was killed in an exchange of fire with police after robbing a taxi driver last month. A government forensic expert, however, said Arnaiz appeared to have been handcuffed, tortured and shot five times.

Arnaiz’s parents say he went out with De Guzman to buy a snack on the night of 17 August but never returned. They found Arnaiz in a morgue 10 days later.

De Guzman’s body was found floating in a creek in a city north of Manila last week. His head was wrapped with packing tape and he had 28 stab wounds to his body.

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Category: Philippines

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Philippines orders retraining, reassignment of 1,200 police after alleged abuses

The Philippine capital’s police chief ordered that the entire 1,200-member police force in one of Manila’s biggest areas be relieved of duty and retrained on Friday in response to a series of controversies, including the killing of two teenagers.

Metro Manila’s top officer Oscar Albayalde said all police personnel in the Caloocan area of the capital would undergo retraining and reorientation before being reassigned to other police units, not necessarily in Manila.

“We will start with the city’s police precincts 2 and 7,” Albayalde 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 Rodrigo Duterte unleashed his bloody crackdown against illegal drugs 15 months ago, a campaign that has killed thousands of Filipinos.

The move comes amid intense scrutiny of police activities in Caloocan in the wake of the killing of 17-year old Kian Loyd Delos Santos last month in what police said was an anti-drugs operation.

His lawyers and family say he was murdered in cold blood. Three officers involved in his killing say he fired at them and they acted in self-defence.

Duterte, known for his frequent speeches that call for drug dealers to be killed, ordered a thorough investigation into the Delos Santos killing and warned police he would not tolerate abuses.

Another teenager, Carl Arnaiz, suffered a similar fate, accused of trying to rob a taxi driver and shooting at police who tried to arrest him. The taxi driver told reporters on Sunday 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. Dozens of police trainees stood in front and watched the protest.

Friday’s order came only a day after Philippine media reported members of the Caloocan precinct 4 raided an elderly woman’s home and reportedly stole money in an incident captured on closed circuit television cameras. Reuters could not confirm the report independently.

Activists accuse police of executing suspected users and dealers systematically during anti-drugs operations and say official reports that say victims violently resisted arrest are implausible, and contrary to witness accounts.

Police reject those allegations and Duterte has been furious at critics and political opponents who say he has a “kill policy”.

The video of the alleged robbery was uploaded on social media sites and went viral, which angered senior police generals. Albayalde immediately 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 carry out this preemptive measure to avoid similar incidents,” Albayalde told reporters.

He warned other districts in Manila could face similar sanctions if they did not shape up.

Category: Philippines

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Entire Caloocan City police force to be relieved

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Police director Oscar Albayalde said in an interview with ABC-CBN News Channel Friday, September 15 that the entire police force of Caloocan City will be gradually relieved.

He said personnel of 3 substations will be initially relieved.

“And in the coming days, we will be looking forward [to] the relief of all the personnel from the other substations,” Police director Albayalde said.

He added that relieved police personnel will undergo retraining.

“They will be retrained and they’ll be reassigned to other stations here in Metro Manila. They will not be able to go back to their position or their assignment in Caloocan,” he said.

Regional Public Safety Battalion Personnel and police contingent during the Asean meeting will temporarily take over their posts.

The move was made following the teen killings in Caloocan.

“What we’re trying to show here [is we] do not condone any wrongdoings of our personnel in PNP,” he said.

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In the Philippines, infrastructure programme could grant businesses ‘manna from heaven’

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte appears committed to improving the country’s infrastructure as part of economic reform plans, and that could bring about huge opportunities for businesses, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chair and CEO of Ayala Corporation, told CNBC.

“They really feel very keenly about making a major contribution in that sector and they’re allocating budgets accordingly to be able to push that,” Zobel de Ayala said of the Duterte administration.

“That’s manna from heaven,” he added.

Infrastructure in the Philippines is lagging consumer demand, the CEO said, adding that the building campaign was a timely move considering the low interest rates and apparently stable macroeconomic environment.

Duterte has said that he is planning a $180 billion “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure campaign. Already, the controversial leader has agreed to 21 projects worth $16 billion, which include a revamp of Manila’s airport and other improvement operations on railways, ports and roads, Reuters reported.

And despite the concerns some have expressed over the threat of disruptive technologies to industries, Zobel de Ayala expressed confidence. In fact, attaching to those areas comprises a key strategy of the business, he said.

“In the real estate market, we have a big retail portfolio and a lot of front-end retail shops. There’s no doubt e-commerce and industries supporting that will begin to change the way that sector works,” the CEO said.

However, he said his company is looking to participate in the e-commerce sector, so it has begun to buy assets in that field.

Ayala is now buying into the financial technology and payments spaces, according to the CEO. Given the shift toward electric vehicles, the business is also investing in automobile-related assets, he added.

With a market cap of about 575 billion Philippine pesos (approximately $11.2 billion), Ayala is the country’s largest and oldest conglomerate. The firm has outperformed benchmarks this year, with shares up more than 9 percent in the last 12 months.

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