World

Duterte gives PDEA sole authority to conduct anti-drug ops

Duterte gives PDEA sole authority to conduct anti-drug ops

"However, unless the government's current anti-drug strategy is radically overhauled and the country's security forces are thoroughly cleansed of scalawags, whether it is the PDEA or PNP, the anti-drug campaign will continue to be bloody, abusive and prone to corruption", Hontiveros said in a statement.

The police have been heavily criticised for their brutal way of handling drug-related arrests.

Duterte also ordered the PNP to maintain its visibility at all times, as a "deterrent to illegal drug activities" leaving to the PDEA.

Dela Rosa issued the order a day after President Duterte signed an order designating the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the lead agency in the administration's war against drugs.

Since July 1, 2016, only 28 drug personalities died during PDEA's operations.

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

In January, he also suspended police from the war on drugs, calling them corrupt, but reinstated them again shortly afterwards.

The message will sound familiar, with similar announcements made a year ago, when the authorities launched Project Double Barrel Alpha to focus on tracking down drug producers and suppliers.

Duterte cited Republic Act (RA) No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which stated that PDEA should be the lead agency when inquiries of the NBI, PNP, and others are found to be in violation of any of the provisions of this act.

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.




The police claimed that they only killed suspects who resisted arrest violently.

President Rodrigo Duterte names PDEA as the "sole agency" in charge of his bloody war on drugs.

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

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

PDEA spokesman Derreck Carreon said the agency had about 2,000 personnel and funds for only 200 new agents next year.

"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. "They don't even have a vehicle", he said.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said that PDEA will bring policy focus, expert performance standards, high-level coordination of oversight, and centralized intelligence collection to the President's anti-illegal drugs campaign.

She also warned that abuses would not go away with the PDEA leading the campaign. "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".

Senator JV Ejercito, who is the sponsor of the DILG's budget, said the department and the PNP were amenable to shelving the drop box system.


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