February 19, 2018

Duterte gives PDEA sole authority to conduct anti-drug ops

12 October 2017, 07:20 | Opal Carroll

International parliamentarians display their message during a news conference in Manila Philippines. – AP

International parliamentarians display their message during a news conference in Manila Philippines. – AP

PNP spokesman Carlos said the PNP would focus on other crimes, including assassins for hire who ride on motorcycles.

Chief said on Thursday that he has ordered the police to stay out of the anti-drug campaign after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's directive.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte fumed on Thursday over what he called "interference" by Western countries particularly in his administration's war on drugs, threatening to expel diplomats of European Union countries "within 24 hours". In the "Anti-Illegal Drugs Campaign Plan: Double Barrel", Project Tokhang and Project High-Value Target was launched when Duterte took office on July 1, 2016.

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

PDEG will continue with intelligence gathering and will forward and coordinate to the PDEA all the data they needed in line with the anti-illegal drugs operations, he said.

Oplan Double Barrel was the PNP's flagship project in the government's war on drugs, made up of Oplan High-Value Target, which went after big-time drug sellers, and Oplan TokHang, which went after small-time drug dealers.

Duterte cited Republic Act (RA) No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which stated that PDEA should be the lead agency when inquiries of the NBI, PNP, and others are found to be in violation of any of the provisions of this act.

It was suspended in January amid controversy over rogue cops' involvement in the kidnap-slay of a South Korean businessman.

In a memorandum dated October 10, Duterte directed the four agencies among others "to leave the PDEA, as a sole agency to conduct all campaigns and operations against all those who are involved in or connected with illegal drugs".

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Dela Rosa immediately dismantled the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group and created the Police Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG), which consists of police officers who underwent intense screening to ensure they are deserving of the job.

While Duterte's war on drugs had substantial public support, it came under fire from local and worldwide human rights groups, who denounced the killing of more than 7,000 suspects, mostly poor drug users and pushers.

The Palace on Thursday claimed success because the street distribution of illegal drugs has already been degraded.

PDEA spokesman Derreck Carreon said the agency had about 2,000 personnel and funds for only 200 new agents next year.

Some senators on Thursday said they would still scrutinize the crackdown, regardless of who leads it.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said he would recommend that part of the budget be realigned to the PNP Internal Affairs Service.

"All information/data received by the PNP, NBI, AFP, BOC, PPO, and all other agencies or any and all ad hoc anti-drug task forces shall forthwith be relayed, delivered, or brought to the attention of the PDEA for its appropriate action", the President stated in the document.

According to Hontiveros, the government should implement a "rules-based and modern drug enforcement agency" in fighting the drug problem in the country.

Se warned that the system was prone to malice and abuse and could even lead to unnecessary deaths.

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