Dela Rosa: PNP ready to return to war on drugs

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Friday that he will not hesitate to ask President Rodrigo Duterte to allow them to return to the government's campaign against illegal drugs if the narcotics problem continues to escalate.

"Pakiramdam ko when things get worse and talagang hindi kakayanin so kailangan sabihin ko sa kanya siguro sir pabalikin mo na kami, kawawa naman 'yung pamilya natin,"

[I feel like when things get worse and they seem not to manage it anymore I will ask the President to let us go back in the war on drugs, let us spare our families.]

"Ako na ang aapela siguro if the time comes," he added.

[I will personally appeal to the President if the time comes.]

On Tuesday, Duterte issued a memorandum designating the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the sole agency in charge of the government's campaign against the narcotics trade.

The President issued the order amid the latest 18-point drop in his satisfaction rating.

Dela Rosa said he spoke with Duterte about the matter and he told them to "stop" cooperating in the war on drugs due to the negative perception of the public on the police.

He said Duterte, however, did not give them a timeline on how long they would not participate in the war on drugs which had been the focus of the 185,000-strong PNP in the past 15 months.

Asked to assess the PNP in implementing the war on drugs, Dela Rosa said it was challenging but he believed they were successful considering that the supply of illegal drugs on the street had significantly decreased.

"Sa totoo lang kasi ang basehan natin sa success or failure ng war on drugs is babalik tayo sa supply and demand kung bumaba or tumaas ‘yung demand. Actually pawala ng ‘yung drugs. Na-dismantle na natin ‘yung mga drug laboratories, floating shabu laboratories sa dagat na nahuli natin and hirap na sila magpasok ng mga precursors dito,” he said.

[The truth is, the basis of our success or failure in the war on drugs is the supply and demand or if the demand increased or decreased. Actually, the illegal drugs could have gone on the streets. We have already dismantled the drug laboratories, floating shabu laboratory in the ocean which made the drugs lords hard for them to bring their precursors in the country.]

"Kung sana hindi lang nakalusot sa customs wala na sanang drugs na makapasok dito kasi wala nang local manufacturers. Hirap sila dahil lahat nagbabantay na. Isang text ka lang huli na ‘yung laboratory mo... Kung wala nang nakalusot ganda na sana nito (war on drugs),” he added.

[If only the illegal drugs were not able to sneak in through the customs, the illegal drugs might have been gone because there are no longer local manufacturers here. They are already finding it hard to manufacture here because with a single text message you can be nabbed. If not because of it the war on drugs could have been very successful.)

Dela Rosa was referring to the P6.4-billion worth of illegal drugs smuggled from China that was recovered in a warehouse in Valenzuela City after having been able to pass through the Bureau of Customs.

Asked what the PNP could have done wrong which drew the public's negative perception, he said it was the "overexposure" of the mess made by the Caloocan police.

All police officers assigned at the Caloocan City Police Office were relieved in September after irregularities in their operations were revealed including the killings of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz.

Delos Santos was killed during an anti-illegal drugs operation on August 16 in Barangay 160, while Arnaiz was killed allegedly after a robbery try.

Policemen involved in the killing of the two teenagers all claimed that they engaged the policemen in a firefight although pieces of evidence and witnesses reportedly told the other way around.

The Caloocan police also became under fire after some of their men conduct an illegal search in a residential house.

In a surveillance video released on September 7, armed policemen assigned at the Caloocan Police Community Precinct 4, accompanied by a minor and a person with disability, was seen entering a house where they took valuables amounting to P30,000.

The house owner, a 51-year-old woman who refused to be identified, believed that she was implicated by an arrested drug suspect who was also seen in the video pointing her house to the police.

However, Dela Rosa expressed dismay that only the negative issues involving that the police do are being reported.

"The world is so unfair for us," he said citing the case of a policeman in Caloocan who was stabbed by a suspect who he tried to arrest.

Based on the record of the PDEA, From July 1 to August 29 a total of 3,811 drug suspects were killed while 107,156 others were arrested during the conduct of over 70,854 anti-illegal drugs operations.

The PNP had repeatedly said that drugs suspects are being killed as they are engaging authorities in a firefight which prompted his men to retaliate.

A survey conducted by the Social Weather Station, however, showed that 54 percent or six out of ten respondents do not believe in the PNP’s claim. (SunStar Philippines)
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