Duterte officially orders return of PNP to drug war


It remains unclear whether or not PDEA and PNP will be reviving the erstwhile Oplan Tokhang, which had generated a storm of controversy because of the numerous deaths associated with the police campaign against drug suspects. Police are also investigating the deaths of nearly 11,000 people to determine if their deaths were related to illegal drugs and if hired or vigilante killers were responsible.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday Duterte signed an order mandating the police to support the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, citing a resurgence in illegal drugs in the Pacific archipelago.

For his part, Agent Francisfil Tangeres of PDEA said PDEA "may be undermanned, underequipped, and underfunded but given with this situation, we still managed to conduct 17 supply reduction operations that led to the arrest of more or less 30 drug personalities".

"This supersedes the earlier memorandum that designated the PDEA as the sole agency that will deal with the anti-illegal drug operations", Roque said.

"The president's memorandum order is likewise in response to a clamor from the public to restore to the PNP and other law enforcement agencies the responsibility of providing active support to the PDEA", Roque told reporters.

The issuance of the October memorandum aims to pinpoint precise accountability following allegations from some sectors that summary killings of anti-illegal drugs suspects have been perpetrated by law enforcement agencies, including the PNP.

Duterte said later he had removed police from the drug war "in deference" to critics, including rights campaigners, Catholic bishops and the European Union.

NORDAPC has been holding enhancement seminars for law enforcers and series of provincial or schools symposia on drug prevention together with the PDEA at the Negros Oriental High School (NOHS).

Carl Arnaiz, 19, was shot dead after robbing a taxi driver.

The lawyer asked the criminal court to sentence Duterte and 11 other officials, including the Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II and Director General of the Philippine National Police Ronald dela Rosa to life in prison.

Duterte, who assumed the presidency in June previous year, waged a brutal war against drug syndicates. After a month, the President again tapped the PNP, claiming the drug problems continued.