MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu Kampilan Medal on Caloocan City policeman Ronald Anicete for exemplifying the proper conduct of law enforcers implementing the war on drugs.
Police Officer 1 (PO1) Anicete is the cop Duterte mentioned in several speeches as a model policeman because he only fired upon a drug suspect after he was stabbed with a knife.
"That is the police that I wanted," said Duterte about Anicete on September 21 during a speech in Marawi City.
Duterte narrated how the drug suspect, "deranged with drugs," attacked Anicete with a knife even after the policeman asked him to surrender.
"He just parried the several blows with his hands...It was not only after he fell down, then the criminal went on top of him, the criminal was above him, about to finish him off, and he fired," said the President.
Anicete's awarding ceremony took place before the military-police joint command conference presided by Duterte.
The Order of Lapu-Lapu, rank of Kampilan is awarded to government personnel and private individuals who are seriously wounded or suffered great loss of property because of their participation in Duterte's advocacies.
By highlighting Anicete's feat, Duterte appeared to be telling cops to only use deadly force when their life is threatened.
However, before the deaths of teenagers in his drug war, the President had also been heard telling police to kill suspects whether or not they fight back.
He had also told them, jokingly, to give an unarmed suspect a gun so they could say the suspects "fought back," thus justifying killings.
Duterte, however, dramatically changed his manner of talking about his drug war after the deaths of teenage boys Kian delos Santos and Carl Arnaiz at the hands of Caloocan City police.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.