MANILA –Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Wednesday said that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has already resumed conducting anti-illegal drug operations.
Aguirre said that he already asked President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the NBI to continue its hunt for persons involved in illegal drugs.
”Upon my request to President Duterte last Monday, ibinalik ng ating Pangulo ang kapangyarihan ng NBI to prosecute and go after criminals involved in illegal drugs,” Aguirre told reporters.
”Kahapon (Tuesday), may department order na for NBI to resume its operations against illegal drugs,” he added.
He stressed that the NBI’s absence is a big loss to the anti-drug operations as he lauded the agency for seizing some PHP3.6 billion worth of shabu in a raid in San Juan City last December.
The raids were part of a four-month series of operations by the NBI that yielded a total of 890 kilos of shabu with a street value of almost PHP6 billion.
Last Feb. 23, Aguirre issued a memorandum suspending the authority of the NBI to probe drug cases.
The initiative of the DOJ to stop conducting drug operations came following Duterte’s statement that he will no longer entrust the government’s war on drugs to the NBI and the Philippine National Police (PNP) after its officers alleged involvement in the kidnap-slay of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo last October 18.
Aguirre took the cue from the President’s statements and issued the memorandum to the NBI to indefinitely suspend all its anti-illegal drug operations.
It can be recalled that President Duterte abolished the AIDG following the alleged abduction in Angeles City, Pampanga and slaying of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo inside Camp Crame on Oct. 18, 2016.
The PNP, which has also halted its oplan tokhang operations announced on March 7 the relaunch of its war on drugs with a promise of gentler, less bloody campaign.
Last March 8, the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) will have dedicated and professional personnel who will be working for the anti-drug campaign.
According to PNP Public Information Office (PIO) chief and spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos made the assurance as the PDEG is now in the organizational stage to have the necessary personnel.
The PDEG has personnel that are now looking for members.
However, Carlos said members of the defunct Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) will not be included in the composition of personnel of the PDEG.
Aside from the anti-drug teams of the PDEG, Carlos said, they will have a counter-intelligence (CI) component, SWAT (special weapons and tactics team), K9 (bomb-sniffing dogs) and tactical units like the CITF (Counter-Intelligence Task Force) and SAF (Special Action Force) component.
Carlos added they (PDEG) may also scout for tactically-trained personnel so that they will be part of the PDEG.