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Lorenzana: We need good people, not scalawags, to fight in Marawi

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday expressed apprehension over the Philippine National Police's move to send two erring Mandaluyong cops to Marawi City, where government forces are fighting the pro-ISIS Maute group.

"Personally, there was a time when I was the commander there in Davao, and I heard that they are going to send the scalawags doon sa Mindanao. Sabi ko, 'Hindi, we need the best people to come here. We need the good people to come here and fight this war'," Lorenzana said at a news briefing.

Lorenzana said "scalawags" would only be a burden to their commanders.

"We do not need 'yung patapon dito. Kasi anong gagawin nito? Yung mga tao na 'yun ayaw pumunta dito, napilitan lang. We need some good people, volunteers to come here to help in the problem. Now, if you [send] people here who are problematic, bibigyan lang natin ng problema yung mga commanders dito," he said.

The two controversial policemen — PO1 Jose Julius Tandog and PO1 Chito Enriquez — arrived in Marawi City on Wednesday, days after a video circulated on the internet showing them hitting with a yantok stick and pointing their guns at curfew violators apprehended in Mandaluyong City.

PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, who ordered the transfer, also went to the war-torn city to assess the situation of the two reassigned policemen.

Dela Rosa said he does not see anything wrong with sending Tandog and Enriquez to Marawi City.

"Nag-take oath 'yang mga pulis na 'yan na they can be assigned anywhere in the Philippine archipelago. So wala naman. I don't mean to offend the RPSB na totoong  nakikipaglaban doon sa mga Maute," Dela Rosa said Wednesday, referring to the Regional Public Safety Battalion.

Dela Rosa, in a press briefing on Thursday, guaranteed that the two will be one of the best policemen in the force after their stint in ongoing gunbattle to retake Marawi.

"Kung sinasabi ni Secretary Lorenzana na the best military ang ma-assign dito, I can assure you na they will be the best cops after ng assignment nila dito," he said. —Jessica Bartolome/KBK/KVD, GMA News