The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) was ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte to be the “sole agency” which will be in-charged of all anti-drug operations of the administration.
In a memorandum signed by Duterte on October 10, the President directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), and the Philippine Postal Office (PPO), and all other agencies or any and all ad hoc anti-drug force, “to leave to the PDEA, as sole agency, the conduct of all campaigns and operations against all those who, directly or indirectly, and in whatever manner or capacity, are involved in or connected with illegal drugs.”
“All information/data received by the PNP, NBI, AFP, BOC, PPO, and all other agencies or any and all ad hoc anti-drug task forces shall forthwith be relayed, delivered, or brought to the attention of the PDEA for its appropriate action,” the President stated in the document.
Duterte also ordered the PNP to maintain its visibility at all times, as a “deterrent to illegal drug activities” leaving to the PDEA.
Duterte cited Republic Act (RA) No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which stated that PDEA should be the lead agency when inquiries of the NBI, PNP, and others are found to be in violation of any of the provisions of this act.
The Chief Executive issued the memorandum few days after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed a drop in Duterte’s net satisfaction rating and net trust. The order also follows soon after PNP Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa called critics of the current administration’s war on drugs “ingrates.” The PNP chief apologized has already apologized for the remark as it was only a “spur of the moment reaction.”
PDEA chief Aaron Aquino made a statement in relation with PDEA’s role, saying that the agency still needs the PNP in the anti-drug campaign and that the agency has only more than a thousand agents.
Aquino earlier had asked to increase the budget of PDEA in 2018 as it is seriously undermanned to handle Duterte’s war on drugs.
For its part, PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos told reporters in a text message that it will follow the order of the commander-in-chief (CIC) and Chief Executive (CE).