THE City Drug Enforcement Unit (CDEU) of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) was dissolved following the President’s appointment of PDEA 7 as the lead agency for anti-drugs operation.
CCPO Director Joel Doria said that the role of the operatives from the dissolved CDEU will focus on intelligence gathering in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“Our concentration will be on anti-criminality. If the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7) requests for support, then we will provide them with police officers,” Doria said.
Doria said that the anti-drugs operatives from the CDEU will be made as detectives who will gather intelligence on the ground to prevent crimes on the streets.
Doria warned drug personalities they will continue to conduct surveillance against them.
The PDEA 7 leadership said they will take the full responsibility on the anti-illegal drugs operations.
PDEA 7 Director General Aaron Aquino, in a press statement, said they will fulfill their mandate as the lead agency in the fight against illegal drugs, despite the lack of manpower.
“Kakayanin (We’ll do out best),” Aquino said. “PDEA will accept the challenge as directed by the President.”
PDEA 7 officer-in-charge Ana Lynn Hernandez-Nob said they are ready for the challenge. PDEA 7 has 46 agents, 36 administrative officers and ten contractual employees.
She said the police, the armed forces and the National Bureau of Investigation can still help by giving them information on drug personalities.
Nob said the police can still arrest persons carrying illegal drugs in plain view.
Aquino said they can tap the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) to help them.
In the province, Supt. Ryan Manongdo, Cebu Provincial Police Office deputy director for operations, said they will continue their checkpoints and patrols.
The municipality and city drug enforcement units of the PNP will remain to help PDEA in intelligence gathering, Police Regional Office 7 Director Jose Mario Espino said.
Espino, who was in Lapu-Lapu City for the relaunching of PNP-Petron Lakbay Ligtas Project, said they received a memorandum to immediately stop the PNP anti-drug operation and that only PDEA can conduct the operations.
He said police can still arrest drug suspects if they caught them in the act of doing the illegal activity.
Mandaue City Mayor Luigi Quisumbing said the City is proud of the job of Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) in their campaign against illegal drugs.
“We defer the wisdom of the President. But may I say that in Mandaue City the PNP and MCPO are one of the main reasons the drug trade has been minimized,” said Quisumbing.
In Cebu City, the councilors said PDEA is undermanned and lacks budget.
Congressman Jun Alcover said the President was wrong in going to war against drugs right away. He should have cleaned the PNP first.
Councilor Raymond Garcia cited the discrepancy of the police to residents ratio.
“(The ratio now is) one policeman to every two thousand inhabitants (in Cebu). The normal is 1,000 to 500. There should be a joint effort among all agencies. Besides, its also the mandate of the police to help against criminality and drug abuse is a form of criminality. Eighty percent of crimes are drug-related. I’m worried what will happen to this drug war,” he said.
Councilor Joel Garganera said, “Maybe he’s doing this because of the many violations committed by the police. But I believe this is just a breathing space for hem to assess what they did wrong and what they did right. Leaving the campaign to PDEA alone, I dont think that will solve the issue regarding drugs,” he said. (JOB, FMG, KAL, USJ-R Intern Cherizar Maxine Magat)