Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Bato: PNP now hands off on drug war

Bato: PNP now hands off on drug war

Retired police general Aaron Aquino, the new PDEA chief, immediately texted reporters when Malacanang Palace released Duterte's order sidelining of the PNP thus: "Didn't ask for it".

He also instructed the PNP to merely maintain police visibility "as a deterrent to illegal drug activities". Dionardo Carlos said the PNP will follow the President's order and will focus instead on addressing crimes and on cleansing its ranks.

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

"We will still uphold the law".

Also destroyed were laboratory equipment used for the production of illegal drugs, estimated at P1 million.

On February 27, the President allowed the PNP a limited participation in the anti-drug campaign through smaller task forces.

According to the PNP, the police conducted 76,863 anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to September 26, 2017.

That suspension came after a South Korean businessman was kidnapped and killed by anti-drug police.

In March, the PNP announced the reactivation of the Oplan Double Barrel and promised that it would have been "less bloody".

Assisted by FLAG chairperson and De La Salle University law school dean Jose Manuel Diokno, the petitioners said that the drive against illegal drugs that has resulted in the deaths of over 7,000 individuals who were killed in both police operations and vigilante killings "violates the right to due process of law, to be presumed innocent, and to a fair trial by doing away with the basic police duty of evidence-gathering and case build-up".

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa yesterday disbanded all Drug Enforcement Units and ordered police personnel to stop operations under the controversial Project Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang, which critics say has led to extrajudicial killings.

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".

"We will take the lead in all of these - high-level drug pushing, mid-level, and street level".

Abella said the PDEA would now elevate the campaign against illegal drugs as it has widened its scope.

"If there is good intelligence information, they will pass them to PDEA", he said.

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