© Dondi Tawatao / Reuters

President Rodrigo Duterte has demonstratively threatened to keep a close watch on and to neutralize suspected corrupt cops if they ever make a single mistake that taints the public image of the Philippines’ police force.

More than one hundred policemen, who are currently being probed for various offenses across the country, were delivered to Malacañang Palace for a public scolding by the Philippines’ president, who made it clear from the start that they are totally “useless” to the country and represent a “plague” of society.

“I’ll be frank to the entire Philippines. If you continue your way, son of a b*tch, I will really kill you. You can be sure of that. I have nothing else to do with you fools,” Duterte told the policemen, who are accused of robbery, extortion, kidnapping, rape and other corrupt actions.

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Those involved in drug-related offenses amid the administration’s ongoing battle against narcotics in the country were especially singled out by the 73-year-old, to be hunted down by a special unit.

“Those involved in drug syndicates, corruption, I have a special unit that will monitor you for the rest of your lives. And if you make another mistake, I’ll have you killed,” Duterte said, promising to review individual cases.

Describing those brought before him as “criminals” and “dogs,” the president asked their families not to come crying to him if one day the corrupt cops are murdered. “If these sons of b*tches die, don’t come to us yelling ‘human rights, due process’ because I warned you already,” he warned, in Filipino.

Trying to protect the image of law enforcement in the country, amid international and domestic criticism of the drug war, remains one of Duterte’s top priories. More than 1,800 cops out of 6,401 facing administrative charges were dismissed from the force and some 3,600 temporarily suspended during the time of Duterte’s presidency, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said last week. Among those sacked were 261 policemen who tested positive for drugs.

Just as Duterte threatened to kill corrupt policemen, a third person from the so-called presidential ‘drug list’ of former officials and politicians was killed in less than a week. Exequiel Sangco, a former member of the Valenzuela City police force, was gun downed by agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) after he pulled a gun on authorities during the arrest, Senior Supt. Nicolas Poklay, Valenzuela police chief said.

A day earlier, a retired policeman, Supt. Roberto Palisoc, was shot dead inside a pedicab in Manila by unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle. The same day, a Manila policeman, Rodolfo Cruz, was gunned down in Malabon City by a lone, masked assailant.

READ MORE: ‘God’ agreed to send all victims of extrajudicial killings to heaven, Duterte claims

More than 4,540 people have lost their lives in the country’s brutal anti-drug campaign, PNP data covering the period of July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018 reveals. However, human rights groups, which continuously condemn extrajudicial killings, allege the number has topped the 20,000 body count.

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