February 25, 2018, 7:32 am
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Rody: Give me another year on drugs problem

PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday set another self-imposed deadline to defeat the illegal drugs trade as he asked the public to give him a year to “finish the problem.”

The President, at the mass oath taking of new government officials, also talked of his order last Tuesday to bring back the police to his anti-drugs drive, although only in a supporting role to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, and concerns about a resurgence extrajudicial killings being linked to police anti-drug operations.

“Wala na akong istorya pa na ang extrajudicial killing. It will happen if it will happen. It cannot happen  if it cannot happen. Wala akong pakialam. Basta sabi ko sa droga, I hope to finish the problem, maybe give me just another year (I have no stories of extrajudicial killing. It will happen if it will happen. It cannot happen, if it cannot happen. I do not care. What I am saying is if it’s drugs, I hope to finish the problem, maybe give me just another year),”  Duterte said.

He reiterated his commitment to solve the drug problem.

“It (drugs) would not stop. I am determined to wipe out the scourge of drugs in this country… I vow to do it,” he said.

Duterte’s campaign promise was to defeat the illegal drugs trade in three to six months. He later extended this to six months. In January this year, he said the war against drugs would go on until the end of his term in 2022 and maybe even beyond. Last August, he said the problem could not be solved by a president in “one term.”

Duterte suspended the PNP’s drugs war in January after questions were raised about police conduct amid allegations of extrajudicial killings linked to the drugs war. He reinstated the PNP five weeks later but pulled it out in October and made the PDEA the sole agency in charge of the anti-drug campaign.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said only members of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PNP-DEG) and select drug enforcement teams or units in police stations, regional police offices, and provincial police offices will be allowed to join anti-illegal drug operations.

He said PNP-Drug Enforcement Unit operatives can conduct drugs operations only after coordinating with the PDEA which remains the lead agency in the war on drugs.

He said the PNP-DEUs will be in charge of street level drug pushing while the bigger operations will be handled by PDEA and the PNP-DEG.

PNP-DEUs are holding office in city and municipal police stations, while PNP-DEG has its main office in Camp Crame and has offices in the regional and provincial level.

Carlos told policemen who do not belong to any drug enforcement unit not to join anti-illegal drugs operations or they will face sanctions.

The interior department urged the public to report any abuse or wrongdoing by policemen to the police or to the People’s Law Enforcement Board, a civilian agency located in every local government unit. – With Raymond Africa
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