CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) might take the lead role on the campaign against illegal drugs anew once outgoing Central Luzon Police Regional Office director Aaron Aquino assumes the drug agency’s leadership.
This was hinted by President Rodrigo Duterte during his visit to the province, saying stripping the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the lead role in the war on drugs might be an option following the alleged continued abuses of police officers using the administration’s campaign.
The President cited the killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos in Caloocan City on August 16 that stirred public outrage.
Duterte said he is considering the suggestion of Aquino to let PDEA take control of the illegal drugs campaign while earning the public’s trust.
“That is an option again. Remember that I suspended police operations down to the station level, the precincts. There were many abuses and the human rights [activists] were noisy so I said, ‘okay',” Duterte said.
It could be remembered that President Duterte suspended the campaign in January after police officers and officials were linked to the kidnapping and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
He transferred the job to the PDEA after dismantling PNP narcotics unit, but was recreated again in early March because the drug menace reportedly became resurgent.
But with Aquino assuming the chief post of PDEA, the option to make the drug agency wage the illegal drugs campaign, instead of the PNP, is now a course of action that is under consideration, Duterte said.
He expressed his full trust on the leadership of Aquino, which he worked with hand-in-hand during his term in Davao City, and described him as an “upright” officer.