MANILA- The Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) have welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte's order to let the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) lead his anti-narcotics campaign.
PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said the PNP will follow the President's order and will focus instead on addressing crimes and on cleansing its ranks.
"We will follow the order of the CIC (commander-in-chief) and the CE (Chief Executive)," Carlos said in a text message.
Carlos however assured that police will be ready to provide support to the PDEA should the agency need it.
NBI Director Dante Gierran said the President's order will allow them to focus on the government's campaign against corruption and other issues.
"We welcome Malacañang's decision as this will give the NBI the opportunity to focus on the government's campaign against corruption, human trafficking, and its mandate on investigating cases of unsolved killings," he said Wednesday.
In a memorandum signed Tuesday, Duterte ordered the PDEA to take the lead in the war on drugs as tasked under the anti-drug law, mandating other law enforcement agencies to defer to the agency.
This is the second time that the PDEA will take the lead on the administration's drug war under Duterte.
In January, the President had ordered the PNP to step back and allow the PDEA to take the lead in the war on drugs following the death of South Korea Jee Ick-joo allegedly in the hands of police officials.
However, Duterte ordered the PNP to resume its anti-drug operations a month later, citing the resurgence of the drug trade on the streets.-with reports from Niko Baua and Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News