There is a "strong likelihood" Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will lift a suspension on police from his war on drugs, his spokesman said on Thursday, a move likely to alarm activists who accuse police of committing murder under the guise of drug busts.Amid global concern over the staggering death toll and several killings of youngsters, President Rodrigo Duterte last month suspended police anti-narcotics operations for a second time and put the country's undermanned drugs enforcement agency, PDEA, in charge.Presidential spokesman Harry Roque reiterated Duterte's concern expressed last week that the drugs problem could intensify and gains might be lost with the Philippine National Police (PNP) sidelined."A decision will soon be made", Roque told a regular briefing."That's the president's call".
The PDEA conducted 1,343 anti-illegal drug operations and seized P53 million worth of illegal drugs in a month despite the agency being undermanned, under-budgeted, and under-equipped, Aquino said. "So I guess that's the latest - that is the latest pronouncement of the President", Roque said. That's the key takeaway from a speech Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made today in which he warned that, "Whether I like it or not, I have to return that [anti-drugs operation] power to the police", said Phelim Kine, deputy director of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch.
In a statement, PDEA said that it has been its desire for the PNP to re-assume the lead role in the government's campaign against illicit drugs as it admitted that it did not have enough resources to combat the problem.
"But as of now, just to parry, I placed it under PDEA".
"We are ready", he said in another text message.
Roque added that the President trusts the PNP despite the Chief Executive's plan to reform the agency, completely, to remove scalawags or rotten cops.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is prepared to return to President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, the PNP said on Thursday, November 23.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the possibility of the PNP returning to the drug campaign is strong since it has been announced by the President.
Duterte had earlier pulled out the PNP and assigned the PDEA instead to take over the campaign due to mounting public criticism over the thousands killed in his bloody drug war, particularly in several cases involving teenagers allegedly at the hands of the Caloocan City police.
Duterte, however, clarified that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) would remain the lead agency for the campaign.
The PDEA has welcomed Duterte's decision to bring back the PNP in the drug war but hoped that the PNP would change their guidelines.