Duterte orders Philippine Police out of anti-drug campaigns

Duterte orders Philippine Police out of anti-drug campaigns

PNP deputy spokesperson Superintendent Vimelee Madrid said the PNP's order was in adherence to the President's order designating PDEA as the sole agency for government's drugs war.

Prior to the issuance of the memorandum, the PNP was implementing an anti-drug operation dubbed as (1) Oplan: Double Barrel, which has two parts: going after high-value targets or big-time drug dealers, and (2) Oplan: Tokhang wherein policemen knock on doors of houses of suspected drug dependents.

The message will sound familiar, with similar announcements made a year ago, when the authorities launched Project Double Barrel Alpha to focus on tracking down drug producers and suppliers.

Duterte, in a memorandum signed on October 10, tasked the PDEA to conduct anti-illegal drug operations "against all those who directly or indirectly, and in whatever manner or capacity, are involved in or connected with illegal drugs".

NBI Director Dante Gierran said the President's order will allow them to focus on the government's campaign against corruption and other issues.

The drug war was criticized by the administration and opposition lawmakers, the United Nations, and local and global human rights groups for alleged extrajudicial killings supposedly committed by police officers.

The language of the law encompasses numerous activities that the PNP and other agencies have undertaken under the drug war.

"Kung ang [if the] situation warrants warrantless arrest, we can take effect the arrest immediately".

"We are ready, we can do it", Carreon said.

"We will still uphold the law". This Act is known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Law. The PNP spokesman said the PNP would not object to playing a secondary role in the war on drugs.

Duterte first broached the idea to put PDEA in charge of the anti-drug campaign in January when he announced that he meant to create a "narcotics command" to weed out rogue policemen involved in the drug trade. But he reinstated them a few week later, arguing drugs had returned to the streets. "We'll just look for other things to work on, just not drugs for now", Dela Rosa said in Filipino during a press briefing. Internal cleansing refers to operations to apprehend corrupt police officers in the PNP's ranks.

In March, the PNP announced the reactivation of the Oplan Double Barrel and promised that it would have been "less bloody". By leading the anti-drug campaign with objective and direction, the PDEA will bring order and clarity in the war on drugs. By now shifting the focus to the work of the PDEA, the President has rightly identified a clear line of accountability in the campaign against illegal drugs.

A statement released by the EU delegation to the Philippines on Thursday night also said the group that came to Manila was not a European Union mission.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President's latest directive simply meant that there was "substantial advances" on the administration's drug crackdown as the street distribution of narcotics already "degraded".

"PDEA will also lead in the establishing a broad anti-drug coalition, working with agencies - LGUs (local government units), civil society, the Church, business, academe and media to push prevention and rehabilitation initiatives", he added.

Mr Duterte's policy of endorsing extrajudicial killings in the war against drugs has drawn widespread global condemnation.

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