Duterte orders Philippine Police out of anti-drug campaigns

International parliamentarians display their message during a news conference in Manila Philippines. – AP

International parliamentarians display their message during a news conference in Manila Philippines. – AP

A DAY after President Rodrigo Duterte gave the go-ahead to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to lead his administration's war on drugs, the anti-narcotics body set out to destroy more than P10 million worth of seized ingredients and equipment used in making illegal drugs in Valenzuela City.

Duterte placed PDEA in charge back in January and suspended police from all anti-drugs operations, but reinstated them a few week later, arguing that drugs had returned to the streets.

Assisted by FLAG chairperson and De La Salle University law school dean Jose Manuel Diokno, the petitioners said that the drive against illegal drugs that has resulted in the deaths of over 7,000 individuals who were killed in both police operations and vigilante killings "violates the right to due process of law, to be presumed innocent, and to a fair trial by doing away with the basic police duty of evidence-gathering and case build-up".

"I want, as a last word, maybe this would suffice for the stupid European Union guys".

"It's not a question of failure; it's a question of more effectivity, optimizing the efforts, and they are widening the scope of responsibility", Abella said in a press conference.

The European Union delegation in Manila issued a statement clarifying it had no involvement in the visit by the Progressive Alliance.

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This will also be the second time that President Duterte ordered the PNP to stop all anti-drug operations nationwide.

"What happened is the street distribution of networks of drugs lords already degraded so we now target higher echelons of the syndicates, as well as their protectors in government", he added.

The message will sound familiar, with similar announcements made a year ago, when the authorities launched Project Double Barrel Alpha to focus on tracking down drug producers and suppliers.

The police have been heavily criticised for their brutal way of handling drug-related arrests.

Duterte accused the European Union of interfering in the Philippines' domestic affairs, and alleged it wanted to get the Philippines expelled from the UN. He said his new alliances with Russian Federation and China - UN Security Council permanent members - would keep the Philippines in the United Nations.

"Just like that you tell us: "You will be excluded in the UN".

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