MANILA - Police officers in plainclothes may soon conduct surveillance operations in high-end bars in a bid to prevent the proliferation of illegal drugs among its clients.
High-end bar owners are ready to sign a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine National Police (PNP), allowing two to three police personnel in civilian clothes to enter their establishment and conduct surveillance.
According to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde, bar owners are more than willing to let the police conduct their surveillance in order to erase suspicions they allow the distribution of illegal drugs, particularly party drugs, in their establishments.
"Yung BGC [Bonifacio Global City], particular yung Valkyrie, pumayag 'yun at nakausap na natin at iba pang bars sa BGC," he said.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) is also meeting with bar owners in its jurisdiction to seek cooperation with the PNP in its operations against illegal drugs.
"We will be coordinating with the different management of these establishments for us to be able to have access to them and for sure, gusto din nilang mangyari yung ganon upang maiwasan din ang proliferation, based on the reported presence nitong mga ecstasy and other party drugs," QCPD Chief Senior Supt. Guillermo Eleazar said.
SOLVE KILLINGS: LACSON
Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson urged the PNP to solve cases of extra-judicial killings.
Lacson is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs. He is also the chairman of the PNP Foundation, Inc.
According to Lacson, from July 1 to present, 612 illegal drug suspects have been killed in legitimate police operations.
From July 1 to August 3, 681 cases of suspected extra-judicial killings have been reported.
Lacson observed that an average of 12 persons are killed per day in legitimate PNP operations.
However, the average goes up to 20 casualties per day if suspected extra-judicial killings are included.
"Sa ngayon, parang nag-gain ng traction pa ang vigilante killings sa police operations. I hope not dahil may mission to perform ang ating pulis at kung matatabunan at magkaka-traction lalo ang vigilante killings, sayang ang efforts ng PNP. In fairness to them, they are doing a splendid job against dangerous drugs in this country," Lacson said.
Though impressed with the PNP's intensified campaign against illegal drugs in the country, Lacson also hopes that cases of vigilantism can be solved soon.
Lacson now believes that a "drug-free Philippines" is a possibility.
"Ngayon lang nangyari sa ating bansa na ganito ka-focused at ka-bold, ka-drastic and dramatic ang laban sa illegal drugs. Now parang pwede natin sabihin before napaka-imposible. Pero ang drug-free Philippines sa nangyayari ngayon has now become a possibility," the former PNP chief said.
Lacson advised police personnel who will appear before the Senate inquiry on August 22 to stay calm and remain truthful.
"They should just keep their cool. Kasi pag nag-panic sila roon, mahirap na. Anything can happen. Basta they should stick to their original mission but they should stay focused. And they cannot perjure themselves when they appear before the senators," he said.
Lacson also called on his fellow senators to do their duties and grill the police officials, but still treat them with respect, in order not to dampen their morale.
"Ayoko namang malagay sa alanganin ang ating kapulisan, ma-demoralize sila, masira ang momentum. Right now, ang momentum sa laban sa illegal drugs unprecedented not only in recent history but in law enforcement history," he said.
Earlier today, Senator Lacson also had a meeting with Senator Gringo Honasan and Senator Tito Sotto in Camp Crame.
The senators called for an executive session on the amendment of drug laws.
Present in the meeting were representatives of the PNP, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), and Department of Justice (DOJ, where they were asked to present their position on the amendments to the Anti-Wire Tapping Law.
Lacson said the Senate inquiry scheduled on August 22 will tackle the proposal to exempt those investigating illegal drugs from the Anti-Wire Tapping Law, and allow authorities to legally wiretap intelligence information and use them as evidence in court.
READ: NCRPO chief welcomes Senate inquiry, says PNP gaining ground in anti-drug campaign