The Philippine National Police (PNP) said they are ready as President Rodrigo Duterte said he will return to them the lead role in the government’s crackdown against illegal drugs.
“We are ready,” PNP Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said in a text message to Rappler.
“We will follow the directive of the President, Chief Executive, and Commander-in-Chief,” Carlos added.
Duterte on Tuesday said he is determined to bring back to the police the helm on the anti-drug operations, reiterating that the PNP should be involved in the drug war to dismantle the narcotics apparatus and to avoid the proliferation of shabu in the country.
“But as of now, just to parry, I placed it under PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency). But whether I like it or not, I have to return that power to the police because surely, it will increase the activity of the shabu,” the president said.
Duterte earlier transferred the lead role on the drug war to PDEA after uproars brought by the deaths of two teenage drug suspects in the hands of the Caloocan police.
Duterte, however, said PDEA can’t solve the country’s drug problems alone as it lacks manpower, citing the agency’s 2,000 personnel nationwide.
Meanwhile, Carlos said the PNP’s oversight committee on the anti-narcotics campaign will discuss their return on a meeting on Thursday.
PNP’s return will coincide with the petitions at the Supreme Court, with petitioners arguing that the drug war is “unconstitutional” as the guidelines have been open to abuse of powers by the policemen.
PDEA chief Director Aaron Aquino urged the PNP to consider changing their guidelines to address these assertions.
“I just hope they can go back, i-review nila ang strategies nila para ‘yung may mali na sinasabi ng iba ay ma-correct [I just hope they can go back and review their strategies so that whatever mistake they say, it will be corrected],” Aquino said in an phone interview with Rappler.