Police chiefs who fail in anti-drug drive face ax

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2016 11:41 PM

A woman weeps over the body of her husband, who was killed on a street by a vigilante group, according to police, in a spate of drug related killings in Pasay City. Czar Dancel, Reuters

MANILA – Local police chiefs who fail to deliver on President Rodrigo Duterte’s relentless anti-narcotics drive in its first month of implementation will be kicked out of their posts, an official said Saturday.

From July 1 to 22, 240 drug suspects have been killed in police operations, including top suspects Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz of Cebu province and Meco Tan of Valenzuela City. Dozens others were gunned down in apparent vigilante strikes. Thousands have also surrendered.

The intensified police campaign dubbed “Oplan Double Barrel” also includes “Tokhang,” wherein police knock on doors from house to house in search of drug suspects.

READ: Tok, tok... bang, bang: The bloody war on drugs

In the first month, police chiefs on the city, municipal and provincial levels as well as deputy regional commanders who fail to deliver on their targets will be relieved. On the third month, the performance of regional directors will be assessed, said Chief Superintendent Camilo Cascolan, deputy national police chief for operations.

"In a span of six weeks marami pong mare-relieve na COPs (chiefs of police) and PDs (provincial directors) na hindi nagtatrabaho," he said.

"Itatanong din namin kung anung naging issue nila bakit ganito yung kanilang drive, bakit mababa?" he said.

Cascolan played down the wave of killings, saying: "We don't just hit them if they do not fight us."

Cascolan said the PNP would consider the peculiarities of each region, like the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) where decades of armed strife would make going house to house at night to implement “Tokhang” difficult.

According to police data, there were no drug-related deaths in Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, and Negros Island Region.

Casualties were low in Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Caraga and ARMM, data showed.

Cagayan Valley, Soccsksargen, Mimaropa, Eastern Visayas, and ARMM recorded low surrender numbers.

“Tokhang” yields were lowest in Cagayan Valley, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Soccsksargen, ARMM and Negros Island.