Test for Duterte
Right at the hearing, the presiding senator, Panfilo Lacson, a former police chief himself, presented a videotape of an actual case of police roguery. No one dies in it, but it's a graphic illustration of the form of malpractice the police are widely suspected of – planting evidence and false arrest.
The video shows police (out of uniform, but taken on Lacson's word) raiding an office and herding employees away from their work cubicles to allow, unwitnessed, the planting of packets of illegal drugs. The screening, which capped the proceedings, went unquestioned by De la Rosa or any of the police officers with him.
I don't know that any of that has had to do with Duterte relenting. I didn't think he could be pried off his war; it was on it that he had after all pinned his hopes for no less than national redemption. That's why he vowed to protect his police; he needed them to fight his war fully motivated, their own wrongdoing if possible overlooked. That's why he wanted Congress to tinker with the Constitution and relax its provisions governing the president's power to declare martial law; he wanted the scourge of drugs equated with rebellion as a justification for the emergency, and he also wanted the legislative and judicial checks on it done away with.
Suddenly, last Sunday night, he gave the order to disband the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group he had formed to fight his war. And de la Rosa tells us now what that means: all anti-drug operations stop to allow the police to "focus [on] internal cleansing."
Now comes the test of Duterte's word. – Rappler.com