Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Duterte restores police role in deadly Philippines drug war

Duterte restores police role in deadly Philippines drug war

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the new memorandum directed the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies "to resume providing active support" to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Aside from the PNP, other agencies that will support PDEA are the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and the Philippine Postal Office (PhilPost).

Roque said there had been "a notable resurgence in illegal drugs activities and crimes" since police were told to leave the campaign on October 10.

Meanwhile, PDEA said it welcomes the President's decision to allow the PNP to participate in the government's operation against illegal drugs.

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.

Speaking before newly appointed government officials in Malacanang, Duterte said the government's fight against illegal drugs will continue despite widespread criticisms over the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug personalities.

However, he said PDEA 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 village levels. Some said they had been beaten and tortured by police on their arrest, and claimed police had framed them by forcing them to pose in photographs with drugs that had been planted.

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 unsafe drugs.

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But PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said Dela Rosa has no one else to blame if there is a rise in rape-slay cases as it falls within PNP's anti-criminality responsibilities.

Police say almost 4,000 people have been killed in their anti-drug operations.

This recent recalling of the police force will mark the second occasion that the police force has been asked to rejoin Duterte's anti-drug campaign after being dismissed. "Those responsible, including those who ordered the killings, must be brought to justice".

"We will be multipliers of the PDEA...we will be on active support of the PDEA".

However, human rights groups have pegged the number at 13,000.

But in October he announced that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency would replace the police in the drug war following mounting public opposition, including rare street protests, that were triggered by officers allegedly murdering three teenagers.

Human Rights Watch deputy director in Asia Phelim Kine said Duterte's deadly war on drugs resulted in the extrajudicial executions of an estimated 12,000 people, mostly from poor families.

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