Duterte orders PDEA to lead PH drug war

Darryl Esguerra
PUBLISHED October 11, 2017 04:17 pm
Photo by CNN Philippines

(Inside Manila) President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday, October 10 signed a memorandum ordering the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to take the lead in the government’s anti-drug campaign.


"Leave to the PDEA as sole agency, the conduct of all campaigns and operations against all those who, directly or indirectly, and in whatever manner or capacity, are involved in or connected with, illegal drugs," the memorandum read.


Addressing the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BoC), Philippine Postal Office, and all other concerned agencies, the order said all information received on the drug war shall be "relayed, delivered, or brought to the attention of the PDEA for its appropriate action."


It also stated that police visibility shall be maintained in anti-drug operations, but PDEA should still lead the proceedings.


In January, PDEA was tasked to take the lead on the drug war after the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) of the PNP was abolished, following its involvement in the death of a South Korean businessman.


Duterte redeployed the PNP to resume its lead in the drug war in February.


The Police force was once again faced in allegations as it launched its “One time, Big time” operations in “key areas,” leading to deaths of teenagers Kian Loyd Delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo De Guzman.


PNP still needed


However, PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino said that he still needs the police force to continue the drug war, citing the his agency's lack of personnel.


"I still need the PNP," he said. "I have only more than a thousand agents.”


Based on the latest available Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) data, a total of 3,811 drug personalities have been killed in 70,854 operations conducted from July 1, 2016 to August 29 this year.


It also said that a total of 2,465 kilograms of shabu with an estimated value of P12.7 billion have been seized.


The Philippines crackdown on illegal drugs has been criticized by different local and international human rights group for its alleged extrajudicial killings.

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