Philippine Police Ordered Back to Front Lines of Bloody Anti-drug Crackdown
07 December, 2017, 03:08
The International Criminal Court (ICC) must urgently open a preliminary examination into crimes against humanity, including the slaughter of dozens of children, committed during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's murderous "war on drugs", Amnesty International said today.
The country's anti-drug campaign kicked off on May 9, 2016 when Duterte won the presidential elections.
It remains unclear whether or not PDEA and PNP will be reviving the erstwhile Oplan Tokhang, which had generated a storm of controversy because of the numerous deaths associated with the police campaign against drug suspects.
The PDEA admitted that it is undermanned, under-budget and underequipped, and there is a need for other law-enforcement agencies, particularly the PNP, in the fight against illegal drugs. He said the President issued the order "in response to a clamor from the public to restore to the PNP and other law enforcement agencies the responsibility of providing active support to the PDEA".
While the PNP and other law enforcement agencies will provide active support in the government's campaign against illegal drugs, PDEA shall continue to be the overall lead agency pursuant to Republic Act 9165 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Duterte signed on October 10 a memorandum stripping the PNP of its lead role in the anti-narcotics campaign after some of its personnel were implicated in the killing of suspected drug offenders.
The PDEA chief said that the meeting was an excellent opportunity to open lines of communication, share operational experiences and knowledge about global drug syndicates engaged in drug trafficking and the best possible practices in combating them.
Duterte has spurred global alarm over the bloody anti-drug campaign, which was a campaign promise and a hallmark of his three-decade political career.
Following the announcement, Duterte told human rights groups criticizing his deadly campaign to "go to hell".
HRW said the police's return to drug-clearing operations as "wholly unexpected". Duterte had slammed all his critics, saying they don't have the right to interfere in a domestic problem.
"This drug problem, it will not stop".
"We are appalled by the remorselessness by which even the young are executed... Those responsible, including those who ordered the killings, must be brought to justice".
The October suspension was the second time Duterte had hauled police off the drug war.
"The reactivation of police anti-drug operations officially requires police to first "consult" with the PDEA".
Another 2,290 have been murdered in drug-related crimes, while thousands of other deaths remain unsolved, according to government data. The drug enforcement agency has only a fraction of the manpower of the 190,000-strong police.
At the time of demoting the PNP, Duterte described the force as being "corrupt to the core".
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