7,047

Albayalde vows strict vetting of drug enforcement agents

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 388

NEW Metro Manila anti-narcotics officers will be ‘as clean as a whistle’ and will practice extreme
caution when arresting drug offenders to ensure they will be caught alive.

This is what National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Oscar D. Albayalde has
promised as the NCRPO comes up with its new set of officers and men who will form the different NCRPO
District Drug Enforcement Officers who will resume their crackdown against illegal drug trafficking
and abuse in Metro Manila.
    
To do this, Albayalde has ordered the strict vetting of all police officers and men who would
be assigned to NCRPO Drug Enforcement Units once they get an official order from Philippine National
Police chief, Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa to resume their crackdown against illegal
drug trafficking and abuse.
    
Albayalde said that while waiting for the guidelines from Camp Crame on the resumption of
their anti-drugs campaign, he has ordered all five NCRPO District Directors to strictly implement the
vetting process of personnel to be assigned to their DEU.
    
“This is to ensure that police officers are trained, qualified and disciplined to handle their
assignment,” he said.

The NCRPO chief also vowed to continue their strengthened internal cleansing program. “We will not hesitate to send another batch of police officers to the Focused Reformation/Reorientation and
Moral Enhancement (FORM) if that is what’s needed to correct their lapses. We shall also continue
other refresher courses on human rights laws and police operational procedures needed by our police
officers,” Albayalde said.
    
As the NCRPO commits not to repeat the previous lapses during the implementation of the
campaign against illegal drugs, Albayalde also directed all his operatives to wear body cameras in
conducting police operations particularly those related to illegal drugs.
    
“In the absence of a body camera, a videographer or cameraman will be designated.  If none, a
barangay chairman or the media will be invited to join the operations,” he said.

Albayalde assured that the NCRPO will continue its unrelenting fight against criminality to
ensure a safe and secured region for the benefit of its populace. “The war on drugs is not ours alone,
it is also the public’s, hence we solicit their support. We also ask the LGUs to commit on supporting
the police especially on logistical needs so that together we fight this drug menace,” he stressed.
    
The PNP leadership has vowed transparency in their renewed campaign against drugs by using
body cameras and even allowing the public including the media to join their operations.

Gen. Dela Rosa also said his men are under orders to practice extreme caution in making drug-
related arrests so that the offenders could be taken alive.

“The Chief PNP wants us to take all necessary precautionary measures to ensure that operations
are less bloody and suspects would be arrested alive. As the PNP chief said, full speed ahead but with
extreme caution, said PNP spokesman, Chief Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos.

Gen. Dela Rosa had previously said  he can’t promise a ‘bloody or less bloody’ campaign
against drugs and as much as possible, they don’t want blood but can’t avoid it’ when armed drug
dealers start shooting at officers.

He said, once fully equipped with body cameras, he will issue an order that will prohibit any
anti-narcotics officer from conducting an operation without wearing the gadget. “Our duty is to
restore order. We want to improve our campaign against drugs but not perfect it. What they need to do
right now is to ‘identify their operational lapses that led to disastrous results,” he said.
    
The PNP chief has ordered a continuing massive crackdown against rogues in police uniform to
prevent scalawags from sabotaging the drug fight. The PNP Counter-Intelligence Task Force is leading
the campaign against cops involved in different irregularities including robbery-extortion, ‘bangketa’
and ‘hulidap’ operations, Carlos said.

The official added that only PNP DEUs will be allowed to launch anti-narcotics operations
under the supervision of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency headed by Director General Aaron N.
Aquino.
    
However, all police anti-narcotics agents have been ordered to wear body cameras to dispel
allegations of irregularity, Carlos stressed.
    
Since the PNP began its war on drugs in July 2016, over 3,800 armed drug offenders were killed
in legitimate anti-drug operations while some 1.3 million drug users surrendered as a result of the
vaunted PNP Oplan: Tokhang.
    
The PNP will be rejoining the PDEA-led war on drugs with two main focuses: a continuing
massive internal cleansing program and the procurement of body cameras which will be used by its men
in conducting anti-narcotics operations.
    
“The PNP will utilize body cameras, will put more focus in internal cleansing, allow other
sectors to join/witness the operations for transparency,” Carlos said as Palace spokesman Harry Roque
announced that acting on public clamor, President Duterte has brought the police back to his war on
illegal drugs.
    
However, Roque said police have to coordinate their actions with the PDEA which will continue
to lead the campaign. Roque said President Duterte merely responded to the public clamor to restore
the role of the PNP and other law enforcement agencies in the crackdown on drugs noting a ‘notable
resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes since the PNP was directed to leave to the PDEA the
conduct of the anti-drugs campaign.’