DOJ stops NBI probe of illegal drug cases
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to stop its probe into illegal drug cases despite making major drug busts in the last few months.
The DOJ order came after President Rodrigo Duterte declared he does not trust the NBI and the Philippine National Police, which he has ordered deactivated of its antiillegal drug units.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II signed on Friday Memorandum Circular No. 005, suspending his policy directive last August ordering the NBI to step up its investigation and build up cases against drug syndicates in the country. Aguirre said the suspension would be in effect until revoked.
“The DOJ and the NBI will now focus its energy and resources in waging war against corruption and in waging war against criminality,” Aguirre said.
On Thursday, Mr. Duterte claimed that just like the PNP, he has lost trust in the NBI to carry out his campaign promise to clean up illegal drugs in the country.
“You cannot make use of the police because it is corrupt. I cannot trust now the NBI because it is corrupt,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech at the 38th National Convention of the Philippine Association of Water Districts in Davao City.
“Even the NBI—the bureau is suspended from enforcing the drug laws. You’re included because I have lost my trust in you,” the President said.
Mr. Duterte was forced to suspend “Oplan Tokhang” not because the body count has risen to over 7,000 in just seven months but because South Korea has protested the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo, who was abducted and killed last October by a group of PNP and NBI officials on the pretext of arresting him for illegal drugs.
NBI Director Dante Gierran acted on the President’s order by reshuffling four NBI officials linked to the Jee slay.
They are National Capital Region Director Ricardo Diaz, Deputy Director for Investigation for Investigation Service Jose Yap, Task Force Against Illegal Drugs chief Ruel Bolivar and Head Agent Darwin Lising.
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