The Philippines' police chief Oscar Albayalde stepped down on Monday less than a month before his retirement, after he was accused of involvement in "recycling" confiscated drugs, an allegation that could undermine the government's anti-narcotics campaign.
President Rodrigo Duterte has made a bloody war on drugs his signature campaign, to the approval of most voters, despite international outrage about the bloodshed. Amid fears many suspected dealers have been killed by police in staged encounters and by death squads.
Duterte, who thanked Israel for its "critical" help when his nation "needed it most" when he visited in 2018, rejected the accusations.
In testimony that has raised questions about the government's campaign, witnesses in Senate inquiries have accused Albayalde of protecting officers who sold confiscated narcotics back onto the black market.
Earlier in October, Rappler reported these allegedly corrupt officers are nicknamed ‘Ninja cops’ and that Filipino Senator Richard Gordon asked Albayalde why he is “trying to get [these] people off the hook?”
Gordon hinted that the chief of police himself might be involved by asking “Are you the mafia or the PNP?”
Albayalde denied the accusations and, at the time, ruled out resigning.
On Monday, he referred to the hearing and the fact he was being implicated in the scandal and said he was stepping down to make way for a new police chief.
"After careful thought and deliberation, I have come to the decision to relinquish my post as chief of the Philippine National Police," Albayalde said in the speech to police officers.