THE Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency this year will remain unrelenting in the war on drugs and are further stepping-up their partnership to battle the presence of rogue public servants directly or indirectly involved in illegal drug trafficking and abuse, the Journal Group learned.
Amid President Duterte’s revelation last week that his ‘enemy in his drug war’ are rogues in government service including some law enforcement officers and men, the PNP headed by Director General Oscar D. Albayalde and the PDEA headed by Director General Aaron N. Aquino are making sure they will be able to identify and arrest these scalawags whether they are law enforcers, government officials or employees or elected or appointed public officials.
Gen. Albayalde has ordered the PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force headed by Senior Superintendent Romeo M. Caramat Jr. to further intensify their effort to account for law enforcement agents and other government employees who are either serving as ‘protectors’ of drug syndicates or are themselves involved in illicit drug activities.
Around 1,800 police personnel are also under surveillance by the PNP-CITF for various illegal activities but not necessarily due to drugs. Last year alone, PNP-CITF agents shot dead nine active policemen during buy-bust operations which ended up in shootouts after the suspects resisted arrest and exchanged fire with officers.
This is apart from the PNP’s partnership with the PDEA to arrest the presence of foreign drug manufacturers and smugglers operating in the country with the help of their local contacts.
“This is the reason why we are fully harnessing the help of the citizenry and our other stakeholders in reporting the presence of public officials and other government workers and law enforcement agents who are themselves involved in illegal drug activities,” said PNP Drug Enforcement Group director, Chief Supt. Albert Ignatius D. Ferro.
From July 1, 2016 up to last December 31, a total of 316 rogue law enforcement officers have been dismissed from the service for drug use while 145 others were fired from their offices after being found to be involved in other drug-related offenses.
However, Gen. Albayalde assured anew the citizenry that police nationwide are under strict orders to strictly observe human rights amid their continuing crackdown versus crime and drugs which since July 2016 has left over 5,000 armed drug traffickers dead in gunfights with officers.
The country’s top cop stressed that respect for human rights is deeply embedded in the PNP doctrine, systems and procedures and remains the fundamental framework of their rules of engagement or the Police Operational Procedures.
He made the statement amid President Duterte’s renewed warning to fight drugs with more violence. The former Davao City mayor known for his fiery speeches said he will be harsh and ‘there might be widespread violence’ as the police and the military battle drug traffickers in the remaining more than three years of his presidency. Last week, the President said his enemy in his drug war is his own government.
He said shortly after winning the presidency, he was told by then PNP chief, now senatorial candidate, retired Gen. Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa that it would take him more than six months to solve the country’s drug problem since he is up against rogues in the Bureau of Customs, some police generals as well as those working at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The President said drug syndicates have also ordered the killing of their members afraid that the targets would squeal on their illegal activities before blaming those deaths to the police force.