MANILA - Barangay officials in the government's narcotics list who won in the recent barangay elections could face Oplan Tokhang or knock-and-plead operations, the head of the Philippine National Police said Tuesday.
"It depends on the evidence. If we have strong evidence, we can always subject them to 'Tokhang.' We're not being selective here,' Director General Oscar Albayalde said in a press briefing.
In a move slammed by rights groups, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) last April released names of village officials linked to the illegal drug trade to supposedly guide voters in the May 14 barangay polls.
"Kung talagang subject sila for 'Tokhang,' and they want to surrender, they can also surrender. Pero kung hindi naman and we have strong evidence, we can always operate on them," Albayalde added.
(If they are really subject for 'Tokhang,' and they want to surrender, they can also surrender. But if not, and we have strong evidence, we can always operate on them.)
Tokhang, meaning "knock and plead," is the PNP's anti-drug operation that involves visiting the house of drug suspects. The Oplan was suspended over alleged police abuses but was relaunched last January with new guidelines.
Albayalde said they will be doing case build-ups in the coming days after they have confirmed who among the barangay officials in the government's drug list won the recent polls.--with a report from Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News