PNP chief 'Bato' cold on dropping term 'tokhang'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 12 2017 01:38 PM

MANILA - The head of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday nixed scrapping the infamous "tokhang" (knock and plead) slogan for its anti-drug operations. 

"What's in a name? What's important is the result, anong nangyari sa kampanya mo, regardless sa pangalan," PNP chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa told reporters at Camp Crame. 

PNP's war on drugs, Oplan Double Barrel, encompasses Oplan Tokhang operations, where officers visit the homes of drug suspects and ask them to stop their alleged illegal activities. 

FILE PHOTO: A police officer lists down names of suspected drug users and pushers at a processing center in Tondo, Manila on July 13, 2016. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News 

The term "tokhang" burdens the PNP because it has become associated with the killings of thousands of suspected drug pushers and users, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Director General Aaron Aquino said Monday. 

Dela Rosa said he will take Aquino's suggestion, but surmised that changing the name of the campaign would not appease critics. 

"Magbabago ka ng pangalan, you are trying to deodorize your campaign to make it appear more palatable to the critics. Hahanapan ka pa rin ng butas d'yan, gagawan ka ng kuwento," he said. 

(You will change the name, you are trying to deodorize your campaign to make it appear more palatable to critics. They will keep trying to find weaknesses and fabricating stories.) 

The issue, he added, is "the least of my concern." 

Allegations of abuse in PNP's leadership of the drug war prompted President Rodrigo Duterte in October to remove cops from the campaign. 

Last week, he allowed policemen to participate anew in the anti-narcotics drive led by PDEA.