PDEA to lead war on drugs after Bato disbands AIDG

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2017 06:44 PM

MANILA - The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will take the lead on the Duterte administration's war on drugs after police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) was disbanded.

Following the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa on Monday disbanded the AIDG following the death of a South Korean businessman allegedly at the hands of rogue cops.

According to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Oscar Albayalde, only PDEA and authorized personnel from the military will now be allowed to conduct anti-drug operations.

“(The) war on drugs will continue but PDEA will take the lead,” Albayalde said in a phone interview on ANC’s Top Story.

Albayalde, however, is not sure if PDEA will adopt the PNP's controversial “Oplan Tokhang” (knock and plead) operations but said the PNP drug watch list will be passed to the PDEA.

The NCRPO chief added that he thinks PDEA will be more focused on going after high-value targets instead of street-level pushers.

Asked how the military can augment PDEA forces in the war on drugs, Albayalde said the military can supplement intelligence operations.

“They (AFP) just have to be deputized by PDEA. Some of them are already involved, especially the intelligence personnel of the AFP in information gathering,” he said.

More than 7,000 people have been killed in the Duterte administration's bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, with 2,250 dead in police operations and the rest classified as "under investigation".

Duterte on Sunday said he underestimated the drug problem and declared that his war on drugs would continue to the end of his term as president.