March 25, 2018

No more 'Oplan Tokhang': Police suspends all anti-drug operations

12 October 2017, 07:23 | Taylor George

By Neil Jerome Morales

By Neil Jerome Morales

PNP deputy spokesperson Superintendent Vimelee Madrid said the PNP's order was in adherence to the President's order designating PDEA as the sole agency for government's drugs war.

The President said he is no longer interested in having other agencies, such as the PNP, handle his drug war.

On Wednesday, Duterte indirectly admitted that the administration's bloody drug war was chaotic and ordered the PDEA to lead efforts to bring order to the administration's anti-drug efforts.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has demoted the country's police from leading his drugs war, amid growing criticism of the bloody crackdown.

Thousands of suspected drug addicts, mostly from poor communities, have been killed in the anti-narcotics campaigns since July 2016.

"We are ready, we can do it", Carreon said.

Duterte placed PDEA in charge back in January and suspended police from all anti-drugs operations, but reinstated them a few week later, arguing that drugs had returned to the streets.

Oplan Double Barrel was the PNP's flagship project in the government's war on drugs, made up of Oplan High-Value Target, which went after big-time drug sellers, and Oplan TokHang, which went after small-time drug dealers.

"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 President added.

Funeral workers use a stretcher to carry the body of a suspected drug pusher, whom police investigators said was shot and killed by unidentified men, along a street in Quezon city, metro Manila, Philippines March 1, 2017.

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Police say armed suspects resisted arrest in every one of those cases and deny allegations victims were executed.

In a memorandum dated October 10, Duterte directed the four agencies among others "to leave the PDEA, as a sole agency to conduct all campaigns and operations against all those who are involved in or connected with illegal drugs".

The Palace on Thursday claimed success because the street distribution of illegal drugs has already been degraded.

"It's not a question of failure; it's a question of more effectivity, optimizing the efforts, and they are widening the scope of responsibility", Abella said in a press conference.

While Duterte's war on drugs had substantial public support, it came under fire from local and worldwide human rights groups, who denounced the killing of more than 7,000 suspects, mostly poor drug users and pushers.

"If there is good intelligence information, they will pass them to PDEA", he said.

It also directed the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation, the military, the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Postal Office and other "ad-hoc drug task force" to leave the campaign's implementation to the PDEA.

Instead, she called for a "rules-based and modern drug law enforcement strategy" to address the country's drug problem.

The P900 million Oplan Double Barrel budget should also be diverted to the provident fund of police personnel and their capability enhancement program.

Se warned that the system was prone to malice and abuse and could even lead to unnecessary deaths. "Just because there is a changing of the guard in the government's anti-drug campaign doesn't mean that we've also had a change of heart in our pursuit of truth, justice and accountability".

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