PDEA now lead agency
President Duterte has officially ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to be the sole agency in the so-called war against illegal drugs. The order comes after the latest SWS survey showing a double digit decline in Duterte’s trust and satisfaction ratings. The bloody war of the PNP against illegal drugs, which saw the questionable killings of teenagers, has had a negative effect on Duterte’s popularity. According to Duterte, the move was made for “pinpointing precise accountability”, should abuses or questionable operations occur. The PNP has received such a bad image since its bloody war on drugs, made worse by the high-profile killings of young boys.
But according to the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), the president’s order is confusing, since there apparently is a law that states that PDEA can be the lead agency if the PNP or the
NBI violate the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. That being said, PDEA will now lead anti-drug operations in the country, despite its limited manpower and resources. The DILG and the PNP will also scrap the boxes where one could “drop a dime” on anyone supposedly involved in drugs or other criminal activities. With the possibility of these boxes being abused –such as accusing innocent people for the most mundane of reasons– the whole program will now be scrapped, as it should be.
If so, will the police no longer conduct operations, such as the bloody ones in Caloocan? Does it mean that the killing of suspects who allegedly fought back will stop? Is this meant to change the course of the campaign against illegal drugs where thousands have already been killed? Does that mean Gen. Dela Rosa will no longer issue ridiculous statements regarding the war on drugs? According to him, the PNP can now relax, and that they can now attend to other crimes that can be identified. Does that mean that the PNP was not attending to anything else but the war on drugs? It sure sounds that way. But where does the PNP’s P900-million budget recently approved by Congress now go? Will it be allocated to PDEA, whose resources are sorely lacking? I believe it should be, at least a big chunk of it.
But will we see a rise in the activity of the death squads that have been responsible for what the PNP labels as “deaths under investigation”? If the police are no longer in the frontline, perhaps these groups will now work in the shadows, and still reap the rewards they are allegedly promised? We can only wait and see the results of this new directive.
‘Will the police no longer conduct operations, such
as the bloody ones in Caloocan? Does it mean that the killing of suspects who allegedly fought back