NCRPO chief says cops ready to take back anti-drug ops duties
This was the statement of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Director Oscar D. Albayalde on President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to return the Philippine National Police as the principal enforcer of the government’s crackdown against illegal drugs.
In a text message to INQUIRER.net on Wednesday night, Albayalde welcomed Duterte’s order, noting that crimes allegedly perpetrated by people high on drugs have spiked after the campaign’s conduct was transferred from the PNP to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) following allegations of human rights abuses during police operations.
“The PNP particularly supports the decision of the President,” Albayalde said.
“With the recent incidents of crimes particularly homicide with rape perpetrated by addicts and feedbacks from barangays in the resurgence street pushing, the President probably saw the necessity to again involve the PNP in the campaign against [illegal] drugs,” he added.
Albayalde was referring to the celebrated case of bank employee Mabel Cama, who was raped and found dead 100 meters from her home in Pasig City.
The metro police chief said that there is “no way PDEA can address street pushing because of its very small manpower.”
“The PNP, on the other hand, particularly NCRPO, is ready to take back the challenge while we continue on with our internal cleansing to ensure that no abuse shall be committed by our personnel,” he added.
Duterte, in a speech before soldiers in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, said he would eventually return to the PNP the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations in the country.
“I have to return that power to the police,” he said.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino, for his part, simply said that the agency “respect[s] and adhere[s]” to the decision of the President.
Duterte, in October, removed the PNP from the implementation of the deadly anti-drug campaign over criticisms of human rights violations. Data from the PNP show that about 6,140 suspected drug criminals have been killed from July 2016 to September 2017—3,850 of these are slain during drug operations while 2,290 are “deaths under investigation.”
The controversial campaign’s legality has been questioned by human rights lawyers and advocates before the Supreme Court and is the subject of ongoing oral arguments before the high tribunal.
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