THE Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo) stopped its anti-illegal drug operations following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to strip the Philippine National Police (PNP) of its role in the government's drug war.
Duterte designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the sole agency to carry out anti-drug operations.
Inspector Charmae de Paz, public information officer of Nocppo, said on Thursday the provincial police office has immediately ceased any form of anti-illegal drug operation effective Thursday through the guidance of Chief Superintendent Cesar Binag, director of Police Regional Office (PRO)-Western Visayas.
Nocppo will maintain police visibility as deterrent to illegal drug activities, and all information or data received by police in relation to illegal drugs shall be relayed, delivered, or brought to PDEA.
Nocppo director Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Castil Jr. said in a press statement that they support Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs.
The Negros police will further strengthen their campaign against criminal activities and maintain peace and order in the province.
They are appealing to the public to report immediately any untoward incident and suspicious person to the nearest police station.
Superintendent Rhoderick Minong, officer-in-charge of Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO), said Thursday they will follow the President's mandate once they receive the official order from the higher office.
“It’s not new to us but we will abide,” he added.
The NBI-Bacolod already received the official order and will also implement the same.
Duterte signed on October 10 a memorandum instructing the police to let the Pdea handle all the operations concerning the drug menace, as provided by Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, or the Republic Act 9165.
Apart from the PNP, Duterte informed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Philippine Postal Office (PPO) and all other agencies or any and all ad-hoc anti-drug operations about his order delegating the PDEA as the only agency to conduct simultaneous narcotics raids.
Duterte’s order came on the heels of controversial drug operations carried out by the PNP, which resulted in deaths of suspects.
On Thursday, the PNP suspended anew the implementation of the Oplan Double Barrel.
PNP deputy spokesperson Superintendent Vimelee Madrid said the suspension was in adherence to the President's order.
Oplan Double Barrel is the PNP's campaign high-value drug targets.
Madrid said police officers may still make arrests if the illegal drug transaction is happening in front of them.
"[If the] situation warrants warrantless arrest, we can take effect the arrest immediately. If the crime is being committed in our presence and we have personal knowledge that a crime is being committed or is about to be committed we will effect the arrest," Madrid said.
"We will still uphold the law. The use, dealing, the buying of illegal drugs is punishable by law so we still mandated to arrest anytime." (with reports from SunStar Philippines)