PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte ordered Thursday the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to stop all anti-drug operations, days after the Philippine National Police (PNP) halted its anti-narcotics campaign.

“Even the NBI, the bureau, is suspended from enforcing the drug laws,” Duterte said at the 38th National Convention of the Philippine Association of Water Districts in Davao City.

On Monday, Duterte announced that the PNP is not allowed to wage a war on illegal drugs, unless it has been able to “cleanse” the agency.

The President said the NBI was also barred from launching anti-drug operations because he has little trust with the agency.

“[The NBI] is also included because I lost my trust in you,” he said. “Many are still okay but the problem is, it’s a virulent thing. It’s like a bureau that has been affected.”

The Chief Executive said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), with the coordination of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), could proceed with its fight against narcotics trade.

The PDEA was created as the lead agency in the enforcement of the anti-drug law.

Under Section 86 of the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the PNP’s Narcotic Group, the NBI's Narcotic Division, and the Bureau of Customs’s Customs Narcotics Interdiction Units have been abolished.

On June 18, 2003, Malacañang issued Executive Order 218, authorizing the PNP and other agencies performing drug law enforcement and prevention functions – prior to the enactment of RA 9165 – to organize anti-drug task forces to support the PDEA.

Duterte halted the police operations on his deadly war on drugs, after the campaign was used as cover by some rouge policemen to kidnap and kill South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo.

The President said he might issue either a proclamation or an executive order, allowing only the PDEA, with the help of the AFP, to address the drug menace in the country.

“I still have to write them, whether it’s proclamation, executive order [suspending the drug operations of the PNP and the NBI]. But I’ve taken in the AFP and raised the issue of drugs as national security threat so [the PDEA] can call armed forces to assist,” Duterte said.

“For the meantime, there will be cleansing and purging inside Camp Crame and the NBI,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)