Saturday , June 23, 2018

Police preparing to return to drug war

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) is ready to join again the government’s war on drugs as soon as President Rodrigo Duterte gives the order, a police official said Thursday.

“Yes, naghahanda naman ang PNP anytime. Meron na tayong ginagawa. Marami nang mga recommendations for the approval of the PNP chief (Yes, we are preparing. We have made several recommendations to the PNP chief),” PNP deputy spokesperson Superintendent Vimelee Madrid said.

She refused to divulge their plans.

But for now, Madrid said the PNP is still focused on cleansing the organization of erring policemen to ensure none of them will take advantage of the campaign against illegal drugs.

Madrid said they cannot assure that the campaign will be less bloody because they have no control over the actions of the suspects.

“Talaga namang iniiwasan natin ‘yun kaya lang sa simula nga sinasabi nga ni chief PNP, kung magiging at risk ang buhay ng isang police officer, talagang we are to defend also ourselves (We try to avoid bloodshed. But, as the PNP chief said, we have to defend ourselves if our lives are at risk),” she said.

The police have been stripped of its primary role in the war on drugs since October 10, when President Duterte designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the "sole agency" to conduct anti-illegal drugs operations.

It was the second time Duterte ordered the PNP to stop from joining the campaign against illegal drugs for the same reason - some policemen have abused their power and have been implicated in questionable killings of drug suspects.

Duterte, however, said he is going to delegate to the PNP again a major role in the drug war although the PDEA will continue to be the lead agency.

Meanwhile, PDEA director Aaron Aquino said they welcome the President’s decision to bring back the PNP to the war on drugs.

He said they have admitted that they need help in waging the campaign, if they are to solve the drug problem within the six-year rule of Duterte, because they lack personnel and equipment.

Aquino, however, urged the PNP to review their strategies in conducting illegal drugs operations to avoid criticisms and prevent public outburst.

Earlier, PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa said he will push for the procurement of body cameras to be used by the police during anti-illegal drugs operations. (SunStar Philippines)