Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Bato: PNP now hands off on drug war

Bato: PNP now hands off on drug war

Duterte did not explain in his memorandum why he pulled out the PNP from the anti-drug operations but police have lately been under heavy fire for alleged rampant abuses especially in the extra-judicial killings of children and minors that have drawn nationwide anger and indignation.

"Implementation of Project Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang are suspended immediately", PNP Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said.

Dela Rosa issued the order a day after President Duterte signed an order designating the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the lead agency in the administration's war against drugs.

He added all drug enforcement units in police stations and regional offices were ordered dissolved by PNP Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. The operations resulted in the death of 3,906 drug personalities and the arrest of 113,932 others.

The Supreme Court was asked yesterday to declare as "patently illegal and grossly unconstitutional" the government's all-out drive against illegal drugs being implemented by the Philippine National Police.

Dela Rosa earlier said that without the task of ridding the country of illegal drugs, the PNP will now focus on internal cleansing and crack down on riding in tandem groups.

"If there is good intelligence information, they will pass them to PDEA", he said. "Project Double Barrel Alpha" focused on the arrest of high-value targets involved in illegal drug trade. "There will be a lot of obstacles and challenges along the way, but I can assure the public that we can overcome this problem", Aquino said. "We'll just look for other things to work on, just not drugs for now", Dela Rosa said in Filipino during a press briefing.

"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.

Duterte's order that sidelines the police and leaves the PDEA as the sole agency for the drugs war could impact the intensity of the crackdown.

Nonetheless, PDEA will be up to the task.

"We follow the procedures, we don't want an encounter but we also have to protect ourselves if drug suspects resist and fight back", he said.

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