PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Isidro Lapeña said he has ordered an intensified internal cleansing in the agency as part of its commitment to weed out erring agents and personnel, particularly those involved in the illegal drug trade.

Lapeña directed the Agency’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to expedite resolution on all pending administrative cases against PDEA officers and personnel who were previously charged in violation of the PDEA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethical Standards.

“Those charged will be accorded their individual rights to due process through meticulous investigation before disciplinary sanctions are imposed on them if they are found guilty,” Lapeña said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has designated PDEA as the main agency to implement his war on drugs after some rogue policemen allegedly perpetrated the murder of Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman, inside Camp Crame.

“I am warning those who are contemplating on doing anomalous and criminal acts. I will impose punishment without hesitation. There will be zero-tolerance to those who fail to live up to the Agency’s core values: Professional; Dynamic; Excellence-Driven; and Accountable,” Lapeña said.

Lapeña also assured that the war against illegal drugs remains unabated.

“PDEA will make adjustments in filling the gap left behind by the PNP (Philippine National Police) by tapping other government agencies and the barangays as force multipliers to help in the national anti-drug campaign as provided by law,” said Lapena.

“The PNP, though prevented to conduct anti-drug operations, shall maintain close coordination with the PDEA on all drug-related matters such as gathering, processing and validating anti-drug information and monitoring of drug personalities, including self-confessed drug users and pushers who voluntarily surrendered nationwide,” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday also stopped the National Bureau of Investigation to stop its anti-drug operations, while the Bureau of Customs (BoC) shall continue to conduct anti-narcotics operations.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is also in the fold to reinforce anti-drug operations in hostile territories and mountainous areas during marijuana eradication operations. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)