End of Tokhang, Double Barrel
Under the president’s new memo, the PDEA was designated as the lead agency in the war against illegal drugs
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Thursday halted two police anti-drug drives, “Oplan Tokhang” and “Project Double Barrel,” after President Rody Duterte sidelined the police in the war against illegal drugs.
More than a million drug users turned themselves in to authorities under Oplan Tokhang, the door-to-door campaign to convince them to surrender for rehabilitation.
More than 3,800 drug suspects were killed for resisting the police under Project Double Barrel, marked with deadly police sweeps of the slums.
Under the president’s new memo, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was designated as the lead agency in the war against illegal drugs.
It was because few had been killed in its anti-drug operations. The police are still looking into the cases of more than 2,000 others who have been killed by unknown assailants.
As the president said, “There were no deaths, so there would be no encounter. So better for you bleeding hearts and the media. I hope I will satisfy you.”
Bato, PNP’s rare crying chief, who unabashedly cried in the Senate over criticism of the brutal war on drugs, said he was “sad” about the president’s decision.
He also doubted the PDEA’s capability to carry out the war on drugs with its 1,700 agents, compared with the PNP force of more than 185,000.
Well, fewer personnel translates to fewer operations and perhaps fewer drug suspects killed.
Malacañang said the designation of PDEA as lead agency in the war on drugs shows the government’s shift in the focus of the campaign against narcotics.
“What happened was the street distribution networks of the drug lords have been degraded,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.
He said the government is now targeting the higher echelons of the syndicates and their protectors in the government. Would it still be bloody?