President Rodrigo Duterte has stripped the Philippine National Police and other agencies, except the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, of the authority to conduct anti-illegal drug operations.
In a memorandum issued on Oct. 10, 2017, Duterte said that pursuant to Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the "Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002," PDEA shall be the "lead agency" in the investigation of any act in violation of the provisions of this law.
"(I)n order to bring order to the operation/campaign against illegal drugs, thus pinpointing precise accountability, I hereby direct, the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), PNP, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs, Philippine Postal Office and all other agencies or any and all ad hoc anti-drug task force, 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," the Memorandum read.
He said all the information and data received by these agencies shall be relayed, delivered or brought to the attention of the PDEA for its appropriate action.
But Duterte said the PNP shall, at all times, maintain police visibility, as a deterrent to illegal drug activities, leaving to PDEA, however, the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations.
"Strict compliance is hereby enjoined," he said.
Duterte's memorandum came as criticisms against the police continue due to their alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings of drug suspects. Celerina Monte/DMS