Measures in place to combat corruption in 'tokhang'

PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Friday, January 19, that stringent measures have been put in place to ensure that Oplan Tokhang is not used again by rogue policemen for extortion.

Dela Rosa said he formed an oversight committee to review Oplan Tokhang’s operational guidelines to ensure it will no longer be used by erring policemen to mask their illegal activities or use as an excuse to violate human rights. The committee is led by PNP deputy chief for operations Fernando Mendez Jr.

Dela Rosa said the policemen who were implicated in illegal activities will no longer be allowed to participate in the PNP’s anti-illegal drugs operations particularly the Oplan Tokhang.

“Hindi na talaga (sila kasali). Kasi noon ginamit, merong nanggagamit, may dalang listahan papasok doon, nasa listahan ka, kung hindi ka magbayad sa amin, hindi ka matatanggal dito so nagiging source of corruption,” he said.

(Some policemen used the list of suspected drug personalities to extort money from those on the list. If you're on the list and you don't pay up, you won't be removed from the list. It became a source of corruption.)

The PNP chief said only those police personnel who will be trained on the proper implementation of Oplan Tokhang will be allowed to implement it.

However, Dela Rosa said the police regional offices will still be given a free hand on how they will implement Oplan Tokhang in their areas of responsibility in accordance to the general guidelines.

“May ganun na implementation ng Oplan Tokhang unlike ‘yung iba tapang-tapangan ganyan andyan ba si ano, pwede po ba lumabas kausapin namin. Paglabas ikaw kilala ka dito na drug pusher, ihinto mo na yan at alam mo kung ano ang magiging consequences kung ayaw mo ihinto, patapang na approach. Meron naman harana babantayan nila kung umuwi na yung drug pusher sa bahay nila. Andyan na puntahan kaagad nila magharana sila. Kinokosensya ba. Huminto ka na sa ginagawa.Merong gumagawa nyan,” he said.

“Hindi ko sila binigyan ng limitasyon. ‘Yung iba naman like sa Cebu alam nilang barangay maraming pusher pinapaikot nila ‘yung funeral car na may karga na kabaong umiikot tapos merong loudspeaker. O eto mangyayari sa inyo kapag hindi kayo huminto sa kakadroga kasi mamaya kayo masira health ninyo. Hindi naman babarilihin ha. Mamatay kayo dyan sa sakit itong masamang idudulot sa droga magiging ganito kayo, lalagay kayo sa kabaong,” he added.

Under Oplan Tokhang, which was coined from the Visayan words toktok (knock) and hangyo (plead), policemen are supposed to visit suspected drug personalities and try to convince them to give up their illegal activities and surrender.

Dela Rosa assured that the PNP will be transparent as it participates again in the government’s war on drugs which they once led.

President Rodrigo Duterte twice ordered the police to stay out of the war on drugs last year after some officers were implicated in extortion and killings of suspected drug personalities. Twice also, Duterte ordered the police to get involved again.

In December 2017President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the PNP to again join the war on drugs which will led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

Dela Rosa said the idea of the operational plan was really “bloodless” but its connotation changed to “killings” when it was implemented nationwide due to the increase of drug personalities being killed during police operations. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)
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