Duterte punishes erring Filipino police

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte angrily berated more than 200 allegedly erring policemen on national television and said he would send them to a southern island to fight extremists dreaded for their beheadings.

Duterte's expletive-filled outburst against the officers at Manila's presidential palace was his latest tirade against a police force that he has called "rotten to the core."

He recently banned the national police from carrying out his anti-drug campaign after a group of officers used the crackdown as a cover to kidnap and kill a South Korean man in an extortion scandal.

The 228 policemen from metropolitan Manila are accused of a range of administrative and criminal offences, including extortion and illegal arrests, while some have tested positive for drugs.

As punishment Duterte has ordered them to prepare for a two-year deployment to Basilan Island, the birthplace of the brutal Abu Sayyaf extremist group, where he said some police stations have been blown up by the terrorists.

"If you survive, come back here," Duterte told the policemen, who were made to stand in the sun before him outside the Malacanang palace.

"If you die there, I'll tell the police to just bury you there."

Duterte said the policemen can opt to resign but warned them about getting involved in criminal syndicates like some former police and military personnel.

"I will create a battalion just to keep track of your movements because it has been the sad experience of this country that the most vicious criminals are mostly ex-police or sometimes, ex-military men," he said.

"Sorry, I won't think twice, you would really be the ones to go down in extrajudicial killings."

Some rogue policemen have extorted street vendors and ordinary Filipinos, while others have killed drug dealers, seized and sold their methamphetamine for profit.

"If you're mad at me, wait until my presidency ends, then let's go into a gun battle," Duterte added.

More than 7,000 suspected drug dealers and addicts had been killed in Duterte's anti-drug crackdown before he prohibited the 170,000-strong police force from serving as the main enforcer of the campaign last week.