MANILA - Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Friday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to entrust anti-drug operations to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
"The National Bureau of Investigation is hereby directed to leave to the PDEA all operations against illegal drugs," the department order read.
Aguirre added that the NBI will continue to forward information related to illegal drug activities to the PDEA.
This, after President Duterte appointed PDEA as the sole agency to conduct the campaign against illegal drugs, putting the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the back seat just as it faced allegations of abuse in the drug war.
The government has many times defended Duterte’s war on drugs, which has claimed the lives of about 3,800 people in legitimate police operations, according to police statistics. Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano recently said all those slain were drug peddlers.
Human rights groups, however, estimate that the death toll in the war on drugs could be as high as 13,000, a figure dismissed by the government as overblown.
The PNP also recently said there were no cases of extrajudicial killings in the country.--Report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News