OZAMIZ City police seized some 14 kilos of shabu in Misamis Occidental, signaling the return of the Philippine National Police to the government’s war on drugs.
In an interview on Dobol B sa News TV, Ozamiz City police chief Jovie Espenido said the drugs were old stock from the family of Ozamiz Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog, who was killed in July in an anti-drug operation.
“That’s old stock that they hid away when I arrived in Ozamiz,” Espenido said in Filipino. “They’re bringing it out now because they need money and their father is dead.”
The National Bureau of Investigation, meanwhile, said it would resume its anti-drug operations, too after a two-month hiatus when the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency exclusively took over the administration’s war on drugs.
In a department order, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II told the NBI to resume its anti-narcotics operations.
“The NBI through its director, Dante Gierran, is directed to submit a monthly report… on its current activities related to implementation of this order,” Aguirre said.
The Justice secretary said, however, that PDEA will remain the overall lead agency in all drug operations.
Apart from the PNP and NBI, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Customs, and Philippine Postal Corp. will also resume their operations to support the war on drugs.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte issued a memorandum ordering the PNP and the other agencies to rejoin the government’s war on illegal drugs as supporting agencies to PDEA.
The directive superseded the President’s memorandum last October, which directed the “NBI, PNP or any and all anti-illegal drugs task force to yield to the PDEA as the sole agency in the conduct of operations of all those who are involved in, or connected to illegal drugs.”
The President noted that while PDEA has made significant strides in the government’s anti-illegal campaign, the agency “has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents, and operatives who can penetrate drug-infested areas down to the municipal and barangay levels.”
Duterte, under fire for the deaths of several teenagers in police anti-drug operations, had put the PDEA exclusively in charge of the war on drugs in October.
Since the implementation of the war on drugs by the Duterte administration in July last year, the PNP has recorded about 3,900 deaths of drug suspects during its anti-narcotics operations. But human rights groups have estimated the drug war killings at about 13,000.
PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa, in a speech before Filipinos in New York, said he hoped no one would be killed as the police return to the war on drugs, GMA News TV reported.
Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde, meanwhile, ordered all district directors in his area of jurisdiction to strictly enforce the vetting process of personnel assigned to their anti-drug units to make sure that police officers are qualified and disciplined enough to handle their assignment.
Albayalde made the directive as the NCRPO is waiting for the guidelines from the Philippine National Police—Headquarters on the assumption of the PNP on the anti-illegal drug campaign.