MANILA — Malacañang on Thursday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte referred to all hired guns when he vowed to “neutralize or terminate” policemen engaged in gun-for-hire activities.

“Lahat po ng gumagamit na mga gun for hire ‘no, dahil kung wala naman pong magre-recruit, siguro eh wala namang sasalihan ang ating mga kapulisan (I think the President was referring to all hired guns because if nobody recruited, there wouldn’t be cops joining them),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over state-run Radyo Pilipinas.

On July 31, Duterte, speaking before security and intelligence officers, warned them against joining the illegal drug trade and becoming hired killers.

“Then I promised you that including uniformed personnel. Huwag kayong pumasok diyan sa droga, ‘yang mga murder-for-hire (Don’t engage in the illegal drug trade, in murder-for-hire),” Duterte said during the 68th National Security Council and 69th National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Founding Anniversary.

“You can be very sure there will be a project for you and really that is to neutralize or terminate you. Kung hindi ko ganunin, walang mangyari sa ating bayan (If I don’t do that, nothing will happen to our country) at this time when we are all bombarded with drugs, nobody seems to obey the law,” he added.

Duterte also reiterated his commitment to protect soldiers and police personnel who performed their duty in accordance with law.

Roque, however, expressed confidence that the increased salary of soldiers and police personnel would prevent them from engaging in illegal activities.

“Ngayong dinoble na po ang suweldo ng mga sundalo, wala na pong dahilan para magreklamo ang mga sundalo na kulang iyong kanilang mga suweldo (Now that we have doubled the salary of our soldiers, they don’t have a reason to complain that it’s not enough),” Roque said.

Doubling soldiers’ and police salaries’ is one of Duterte’s campaign promises. (PNA)

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