MANILA, Philippines – Sidelining the police, President Rodrigo Duterte named the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the "sole agency" in charge of his war on drugs, as his anti-drug campaign faces public outrage over police abuses.
In a memorandum dated October 10, Duterte 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), among others, "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 NBI, PNP, AFP, Bureau of Customs, Philippine Postal Office, 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," Duterte said.
"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.
In making this move, Duterte cited the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, or Republic Act (RA) 9165, which said that PDEA "shall be the lead agency" in investigating violations of the same law.
Below is a copy of Duterte's memorandum, which was released to reporters on Wednesday, October 11:
Duterte first broached the plan to put PDEA at the helm of the drug war in January, when he announced that he intended to create a "narcotics command" to weed out police involved in the drug trade under PDEA. (READ: Duterte orders 'cleansing' of PNP, extends drug war again) . – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.