Duterte wants another year to end drug menace

Philippine Police Ordered Back to Front Lines of Bloody Anti-drug Crackdown

Philippine Police Ordered Back to Front Lines of Bloody Anti-drug Crackdown

This came after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Tuesday that President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed the police and other government agencies to return to the drug war, but under the supervision of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

He said Duterte's memorandum order was "in response to a clamour from the public to restore to the PNP and other law enforcement agencies the responsibility of providing active support to the PDEA".

Director Camilo Cascolan, head of the PNP Directorate for Operations, said they will be meeting with the PDEA on how to go about with the anti-drugs operations.

However, the PDEA official admitted that they hope to see PNP leading the war against illegal drugs after observing the extensive drug problem and scope of coverage of operations in the province.

The Dangerous Drugs Board shall remain as the policymaking and strategy-formulating body in the planning and formulation of policies and programmes on drug prevention and control.

"The president recognises the significant strides PDEA has made in the government's anti-illegal campaign but it has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents and operatives who can penetrate drug-infected areas down to the municipal and barangay (village) levels", Roque said.

Philippine police on Tuesday were ordered to rejoin the war on drugs, overturning President Duterte's decision two months ago to leave the campaign in the hands of the government's anti-drug agency.

Human rights groups and political opponents say executions of drug users and small-time peddlers have been widespread, but police insist those killed were all dealers who put up violent resistance. "And therefore, the NBI, PNP, AFP, BOC, Philpost and other agencies involved in Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force shall resume in providing active support to PDEA", the proclamation further states.

"Since the police were withdrawn from anti-drug operations in October, there has been a marked decline in the number of deaths resulting from these operations. It has been the desire of PDEA that PNP will return in the fight against illegal drugs", PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said.

"President Duterte and other high-level government officials have openly advocated for killings, which could amount to criminal responsibility under worldwide law".

Aquino said he issued the statement after recent PDEA anti-drug operations revealed that hotels were being used as choice venues to consume, sell and deliver risky drugs.

On October 12, the PNP suspended its anti-drug operations.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte holds a weapon as he visits troops fighting the extremist Maute group in Marawi, Philippines, on August 24.

Duterte said at the time the police force was "corrupt to the core".

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