Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Police allowed to actively participate in drug war anew

Police allowed to actively participate in drug war anew

Duterte made the statement a day after he signed Memorandum Order 17 directing the Philippine National Police (PNP) to provide "active support" to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which remains the lead agency tasked to address the drug menace.

Speaking before newly appointed government officials in Malacanang, Duterte said the government's fight against illegal drugs will continue despite widespread criticisms over the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug personalities.

But PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said Dela Rosa has no one else to blame if there is a rise in rape-slay cases as it falls within PNP's anti-criminality responsibilities.

The diplomatic cooperation and exchange of information relative to drug trafficking between PDEA and Japan dates back 11 years ago with the signing of record of discussion between the agency and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) on October 3, 2006.

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Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque explained that "active support" means the PNP can "participate" in the campaign and that it will have to "consult" the PDEA on anti-drug operations.

The president said he ordered the participation of the PNP anew because of the "notable resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes committed" since he directed the PDEA to handle the drug problem.

Duterte had twice stripped the PNP from the lead role in the war against drugs.

It was recalled that the PNP was kicked out first from the war on drugs late January this year over the controversy created by the death of South Korean executive Jee Ick Joo who was kidnapped and killed inside Camp Crame by anti-narcotics cops under the guise of an anti-illegal drugs operations.

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Duterte has spurred worldwide alarm over the bloody anti-drug campaign, which was a campaign promise and a hallmark of his three-decade political career.

However, human rights groups have pegged the number at 13,000.

An image of Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte is pictured after it was smeared with paint during a rally against the visit of US President Donald Trump near the US embassy, in Manila, Philippines, on Nov 10, 2017. After a month, the President again tapped the PNP, claiming the drug problems continued. In the name of God, stop the killings! Filipinos protested the killings for weeks and demanded justice. He criticised the decision to restore the 170,000-strong police anew in the war against illegal drugs.

Another 2,290 have been murdered in drug-related crimes, while thousands of other deaths remain unsolved, according to government data. "The country's judiciary and police have proven themselves both unwilling and unable to hold the killers in the "war on drugs" to account", said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

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"Those failures highlight the need for United Nations action to investigate these killings, and to end the murderous police operations on urban poor communities", Kine said.

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