Duterte: Problems with police began a long time ago

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Speaking at the inauguration of the Armscor Shooting Range in Davao City Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte he was having trouble with some members of the PNP in Manila.

This story was updated on March 1 to include a statement from Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 26) — President Rodrigo Duterte addressed his frustrations with some members of the police, saying problems began way before his term.

Speaking at an event in Davao City Monday, Duterte said his problems with the police were limited to those in Manila.

"I have a problem with the PNP and it does not begin today nor yesterday. It has been a perennial pain in the a** ever since. Sa Manila lang naman, Manila lang [just in Manila]," he said

Duterte added, "There seems to be a breakdown there. I don't know what causes them to be derelicts."

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that the President was referring to some corrupt policemen in the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) or Metro Manila in general, rather than Manila Police District (MPD).

The problem, he added, boiled down to perception. While Filipinos now have more respect for policemen, it sometimes falters because "now and then, may mga pulis na talagang matigas [there are those who are really hard-headed]."

Duterte said he is not naive to the workings of the system, having taught at the Police Academy in Davao. He said had it not been for the cooperation of the police and the military, Davao would not have progressed as much as it has.

Despite his issues with some in the police force, Duterte said they were still capable, and they – along with the Armed Forces – proved it during the Marawi clashes.

He added he wants to build a strong strong Armed Forces and police before he leaves office.

He also said it was unacceptable that some in law enforcement are involved in drugs, adding the fight against illegal drugs would not stop until the last day of his term.