Philippines defense ministry wants go-ahead to help drugs war, arrest 'scalawag' police

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2017 12:10 AM

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine defense ministry asked President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday to issue an order for the military to take part in his war on drugs, including granting troops powers to arrest "scalawag" members of the police.

Duterte said in a speech to army generals on Tuesday that he wanted their help in his drugs war, and to detain corrupt police. The ministry's request on Wednesday was for Duterte to make those remarks official.

The ministry said in a statement it wants "an official order regarding this presidential directive to serve as a legal basis for our troops to follow".

"By the same token, the President's verbal directive to arrest 'scalawag cops' should also be covered by a formal order," it said.

Duterte's police chief ordered police on Monday to suspend their anti-drugs operations in the wake of the killing of a South Korean businessman by rogue drugs squad police. The Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency takes over the lead in fight drugs.

(Reporting by Martin Petty and Karen Lema; Editing by Paul Tait)