MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Friday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to share all the information with regards to their anti-illegal drugs operations to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“The National Bureau of Investigation is hereby directed to leave to the PDEA all operations against illegal drugs. All information/data shall forthwith be relayed, delivered or brought to the attention pf the PDEA for its appropriate action,” read Department Order (DO) no. 670 dated October 13 signed by Aguirre.
According to Aguirre, the DO was issued after President Rodrigo Duterte named the PDEA as the lead agency in the anti-illegal drugs campaign.
President Duterte also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Bureau of Customs (BOC), and other agencies, as well as ad hoc anti-drug task forces to stop conducting anti-illegal drug operations.
In a memorandum, the President said these agencies shall “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 or connected with illegal drugs”.
Duterte issued the directive “to bring order to the operation/campaign against illegal drugs, thus pinpointing precise accountability.”
“The PNP shall at all times maintain police visibility as a deterrent to illegal drug activities, leaving to the PDEA, however, the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations as aforestated,” the memo said.
Duterte’s directive was issued following allegations of human rights abuses committed by the PNP in the war against prohibited drugs.
Aguirre, however, admitted that the PDEA remains undermanned in taking on the anti-illegal drugs war.
He said PDEA still needs to increase the number of its personnel but he is optimistic that the Chief Executive would be able to find a solution to the problem.
“I’m sure the President will look or (has) looked into the problem and will come out with a palliative (remedy),” the Justice Secretary added.
Aguirre intends to carefully study the memorandum to determine how the NBI could better assist the PDEA.
“I will check up to what extent, if allowed, could we participate in this war against illegal drugs,” he also said.