PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday asked police to temper their use of force while enforcing the law.

“The use of force must always be reasonable, justifiable and only undertaken when necessary,” he said at a ceremony marking 121 years of police service.

He told cops they should be fair and impartial. “It is only then that you can effectively sustain with great respect and wide support the authority that you possess as uniformed servicemen of the republic.”

The president said the Philippine National Police (PNP), which human rights groups have accused of executing drug suspects, should be accountable to ensure public rapport and support.

“In the previous years, the PNP has proven its seriousness and intent to prevent criminality and solve crimes for peace to reign supreme in our land,” Mr. Marcos said.

“The obstacles in front of you will be difficult. They might be overwhelming at times. They will put your resolve and patience to the test,” he added.

“Baseless and unfair criticism will be forthcoming and this will come from the center, the left and the right.” 

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines welcomed Bartolome Vicente O. Bacarro as its new chief.

At a change of command ceremony, Mr. Marcos described the new AFP chief as “a source of national pride.” “He was fearless in combat,” he said in a speech.

The president expects Mr. Bacarro to lead the AFP “as it marches forward and undertakes a new journey that will eventually pave the way for a much improved and stronger AFP in the days ahead.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza