Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte orders police back into deadly drug war

Philippine Police Ordered Back to Front Lines of Bloody Anti-drug Crackdown

Philippines: Rodrigo Duterte orders police back into deadly drug war

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).

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque explained that "active support" means the PNP can "participate" in the campaign and that it will have to "consult" the PDEA on anti-drug operations.

While the PNP and other law enforcement agencies will provide active support in the government's campaign against illegal drugs, PDEA shall continue to be the overall lead agency pursuant to Republic Act 9165 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

However, the PDEA official admitted that they hope to see PNP leading the war against illegal drugs after observing the extensive drug problem and scope of coverage of operations in the province.

But he reinstated them five weeks later, arguing that drugs were pouring back to the streets, but then pulled them off the campaign again in October and made the PDEA the sole agency in charge of the anti-drug campaign.

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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.

PHILIPPINES President Rodrigo Duterte has restored the role of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies in the deadly war against drugs, raising fears of resurgence in brutal killings that have victimised mostly poor Filipino drug users.

Because of the order announced Tuesday, the police can now join anti-drug raids but have to coordinate their actions with the PDEA.

She added: "We are hopeful that [the PNP] will follow the lead of the [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency], that previous operations in the past months have resulted to more apprehensions rather than alleged cases of extrajudicial killings, and more on big-time suspects rather than small-time suspects".

Q&A Why is Duterte's war on drugs controversial?

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HRW said the police's return to drug-clearing operations as "wholly unexpected".

The European Union, the United Nations and global human rights groups have criticised Duterte's deadly campaign against illegal drugs.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte holds a weapon as he visits troops fighting the extremist Maute group in Marawi, Philippines, on August 24. The discharge came after an officer who was said to be part of the anti-drug campaign strangled a South Korean man to death in front of the police headquarters, sparking a public outcry against the accountability of the agency. "That is the long and short of it", Duterte said in his speech.

Duterte said at the time the police force was "corrupt to the core".

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