Philippine Constabulary revival eyed for war on drugs
President Rodrigo Duterte is eyeing the revival of the Philippine Constabulary to aid the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in its war on illegal drugs.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte “floated” the idea during the joint command conference of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
“The police force will be supplemented through another project coming up…the Philippine Constabulary may be reactivated,” Abella said in a Palace briefing.
The Palace official, however, said the reactivation of the PC was not yet official.
On Monday, PNP chief Director Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa suspended the PNP’s anti-drug operation known as “Oplan Tokhang.”
If the PC would be revived, Abella said the PNP would not be abolished but would take care of localized operations.
“It assumes that if and when this comes into operation, the PNP would be localized and the PC would be national in scope,” he said.
During a late night press conference on Sunday, Duterte said the PDEA would be the lead agency on his drug war while cleansing the police force.
‘Vestige’ of martial law
This was not the first time Duterte toyed with the idea to resuscitate the PC.
In September, the President bared his plan to revive the Constabulary to curb urban terrorism, which drew criticisms from Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.
Lagman said this plan reeks of being a “vestige” of martial law, one of the country’s darkest periods when dictator Ferdinand Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus, resulting in numerous human rights violations and enforced disappearances.
“The plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to revive the Philippine Constabulary (PC) … is a vestige of martial law even as it is unconstitutional,” Lagman said.
Lagman said Duterte’s plan violates Section 6, Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution which states that: “The State shall establish and maintain one police force, which shall be national in scope and civilian in character, to be administered and controlled by a national police commission.”
The PC was abolished in the 1990s and was merged with the Integrated National Police in 1991 to become the PNP./ac
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