Incoming PDEA chief aims to intensify ops vs high-value targets

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 30 2017 09:35 PM

MANILA- Incoming Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director Police Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino said he aims to enhance operations against high-value drug targets as his agency pursues the administration's war on drugs.

Aquino, who is set to retire from the police force on Sept. 6, will assume his new post on Sept. 12. He said he considers his new assignment more challenging than his time at the Philippine National Police (PNP). 

"There will be more challenges in PDEA, maybe 10 times more challenging compared to [being the] regional director of PRO3 (Police Regional Office 3). It's a national position and the number one problem is illegal drugs... although it's my line of work, but then again, 'yung scope mas malaki," Aquino said.

Aquino said he plans to enhance intelligence gathering of PDEA operatives against high-value targets.

"Enhance ko counter-intelligence ko at intelligence units ko. 'Pag na-enhance ko 'yan, the more na magkakaroon kami ng information," he said.

The incoming PDEA chief, who hopes to regain the agency's lead in the government's war on drugs, however said he could not promise that there would be no armed encounters during operations. 

The PNP has been the chief enforcer of the administration's war on drugs.

"There's always a possibility that there will be an armed encounter... If they refuse to surrender and they opted to fight it out with PDEA or PNP, definitely an armed encounter," he said.

To develop PDEA, Aquino said he plans to "do a lot of consultations" once he assumes his new post.

"Titingnan ko kung ano na ang nagawa ng PDEA. From there, alam ko na ang magiging plano ko sa PDEA," he said.

Aquino is set to take the PDEA's helm in place of its outgoing chief Director General Isidro Lapeña, who has been appointed to head the Bureau of Customs.