‘Oplan Double Barrel’ suspended anew
MANILA - A day after President Rodrigo Duterte has designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (Pdea) as the "sole agency" in charge of the war on drugs, the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday officially terminated the implementation of the Oplan Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang.
PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said Thursday that the implementation of Project Double Barrel and Oplan Tokhang are terminated and all police drug enforcement units (DEU) are dissolved.
PNP deputy spokesperson Superintendent Vimelee Madrid said the PNP's order was in adherence to the President's order designating PDEA as the sole agency for government's drugs war.
Oplan Double Barrel is the PNP's campaign
against high-value drug targets, which resulted in killings of drug suspects.
Duterte, in a memorandum signed on October 10, tasked the PDEA to conduct anti-illegal drug operations "against all those who directly or indirectly, and in whatever manner or capacity, are involved in or connected with illegal drugs."
The President instructed the PNP, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and other agencies involved in drug war to just relay information related to the anti-drug campaign to PDEA.
He also instructed the PNP to merely maintain police visibility "as a deterrent to illegal drug activities."
Madrid said police officers may still make arrests if the illegal drug transaction is happening in front of them. "Kung ang [if the] situation warrants warrantless arrest, we can take effect the arrest immediately. If the crime is being committed in our presence and we have personal knowledge that a crime is being committed or is about to be committed we will effect the arrest," Madrid said.
"We will still uphold the law. The use, dealing, the buying of illegal drugs is punishable by law so we still mandated to arrest anytime," she added.
PNP Directorate of Operations chief Director Camilo Pancratius Cascolan policemen affected by the disbanding of the DEUs may be reassigned to intelligence units in line with their anti-criminality operations. Cascolan said the PNP's Drug Enforcement Group will remain as a unit.
PDEG will continue with intelligence gathering and will forward and coordinate to the PDEA all the data they needed in line with the anti-illegal drugs operations, he said.
Last January, Duterte detached the PNP from the war on drugs following the death of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo allegedly in the hands of the policemen, inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City. He ordered the PNP, which he described as "corrupt to the core," to conduct internal cleansing and remove erring personnel from the service.
Dela Rosa immediately dismantled the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group and created the Police Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG), which consists of police officers who underwent intense screening to ensure they are deserving of the job.
In March, the PNP announced the reactivation of the Oplan Double Barrel and promised that it would have been "less bloody." But the police drug war operations have killed dozens more suspects, including minors.
Malacañang clarified on Thursday that delegating PDEA as the sole agency in charge of the war on drugs does not mean that there was a failure in implementation of the government's campaign against illicit drugs. SunStar Philippines