Albayalde reiterates strict anti-drug guidelines

PHILIPPINE National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde has given another stern warning to all members of PNP drug enforcement units nationwide to strictly adhere to existing policies and guidelines set forth by Camp Crame when it comes to conducting their operations in the aftermath of the recent  arrest of a number of policemen involved in so-called ‘hulidap/bangketa’ schemes.

The PNP chief said  the policies and guidelines will put all police operatives on the right track to avoid operational lapses, mishandling situations, and ineffective supervision of subordinates in some cases.

“As we focus on the upcoming 2019 Midterm Elections, the PNP is also upgrading its well-sustained mechanism to intensify our relentless crusade against illegal drugs,” he said.

Gen. Albayalde added that the reiteration of the directive aims to avoid putting the organization as well as the government’s war against illegal drugs in peril. He cited the fact that some lapses committed by a few police officers and men are being used by some critics and detractors of the Duterte administration to put down the national campaign.

The PNP already has a policy that will cause the administrative relief of a regional director in case members of his Regional Drug Enforcement Unit are arrested by a Camp Crame-based unit including the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force for involvement in drug irregularities.

On the other hand, a district director will be relieved if members of his District DEU will be arrested by an outside unit or the National Capital Region Police Office RDEU for the same offense. A provincial director,  a city director, a station commander or a chief of police will also be relieved once members of the provincial, city or Station DEUs are also arrested for any irregularity in the conduct of their anti-narcotics operation.

Rogue anti-narcotics policemen are known for taking advantage of the PNP’s war on drugs to prey on targets. Some have been arrested and jailed for abducting or illegally arresting and detaining suspected drug offenders and threatening them with non-bailable drug offenses if they or their families won’t come across their monetary demands ranging from P50,000 to P100,000 to as much as P1 million. The amount depends on the social status of their targets.

In a memorandum released this week, Albayalde reminded regional directors of all Police Regional Offices to ensure that the selection and vetting procedures are properly observed in the activation and organization of Drug Enforcement Units (DEUs) in all levels with per quarter evaluation to assure credibility.

All 17 police regional directors were also ordered to supervise anti-illegal drugs operations, especially in the arrest of high-value targets and other drug suspects within their area of responsibility, in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

At the same time, all unit commanders were likewise reminded to supervise and monitor the operations and activities of their anti-illegal drugs units against possible irregularities that often drag down the image of the PNP.

On the matter of human rights, Gen. Albayalde said  the PNP remains responsive to the requirements of due process, rule of law and human rights in all police operations, assuring it is an institutional policy and  deeply-rooted in police doctrine, systems and procedures.

The guidelines say that command responsibility should be practiced by every commander in the field and that unit commanders and team leaders/ supervisors must closely monitor and supervise the activities of the unit and all its personnel.

“Every PNP personnel must be given specific duties to do as an agent of change in the community, he must know and report his neighbor  involved in illegal drugs and crime,” the PNP chief stressed.

The PNP Directorate for Operations headed by Director Mayo R. Aplasca has set a rigid and comprehensive vetting and selection process for DEU personnel that will be applied through stringent screening and thorough background investigation.

According to Aplasca, the PNP leadership will file administrative and criminal charge against PNP personnel found remiss in this duty as part of the internal cleansing program of Gen. Albayalde.