Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte has condemned the move to relieve 35 police officers, including six station commanders and the chief of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) in connection to the drug- related killings in the city.

Duterte said DCPO has been effective in carrying out its mandate to eradicate the drug menace to ensure peace and order in the city. He said crimes in the city dropped by 69 percent in May 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

On March 23 to 26, 2024, seven drug suspects were killed in separate police operations within four days after Duterte declared a war against illegal drugs. Police claimed that the suspects were killed after they allegedly fought back against the operatives.

The move to relieve the 35 cops is part of the ongoing investigation over the said killings.

“Makahiubos nga makasaksi kita sa mga lakang nga makabalda sa trabaho sulod sa ahensya nga tigpatuman sa balaod. Ang mga opsiyal nga gilambigit, lakip na si city director Bad-ang ug mga station commanders nagpakita sa ilang di matarog nga kaakuhan sa ilang responsibilidad,” Duterte said.

Duterte said there are proofs that would support that the buy-bust operations were carried out in accordance with the law and that claims that there were irregularities in the operations are baseless and not fair.

Duterte cited Republic Act 6975, which provides that 'city and town mayors shall exercise operation supervision and control over the PNP units in their respective jurisdictions.'

“Ang akong aktibong pagsalmot nagpakita sa akong dedikasyon sa pakigtimbayayong sa batong kapulisan aron mapreserba ang kalinaw ug kahapsay sa Davao City,” Duterte said.

The city’s top executive said the recent move against the relieved cops is contrary to the essence of cooperation and trust, which is important for an efficient enforcement of the law.

Duterte said he opposes any move that weakens the trust built between the people of Davao City and the police.

“Kining bag-on ong panghitabo magsilbing pahinumdom kanato sa kadelikado sa absoluto nga awtoridad,” Duterte added.

Duterte calls for a transparent and responsible probe, and immediate reinstatement of the police officers ‘unfairly’ relieved from their posts.