PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. de la Rosa yesterday ordered the 175,000-strong police force to focus on arresting criminals particularly “riding-in-tandem assassins and holdup men,” terrorists and other lawless elements in the wake of President Duterte’s order directing the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to handle the war on drugs.
With the latest presidential directive, all ongoing police anti-narcotics operations including surveillance, buy-bust operations and service of search warrants for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were stopped and all comprehensive anti-narcotics plans and intelligence reports ordered submitted to the PDEA headed by Director General Aaron N. Aquino.
Gen. de la Rosa said that with the PNP now “hands-off” the drug campaign, he will ask his men to concentrate on bringing down motorcycle-riding hitmen and robbers in Metro Manila and the rest of the country.
“Yung riding-in-tandem, bantay kayo ngayon. Upakan namin kayo. Sige bumaril kayo ng bumaril diyan. I will instruct my policemen na tutukan ang riding-in-tandem na ‘yan dahil ‘yan ang gumagawa ng masama…tapos isisi sa pulis,” the PNP chief.
“Hayahay na kami ngayon. You can just imagine, finocus namin halos 100 percent of the resources of the PNP for the last year, finocus namin lahat sa war on drugs. Nandoon lahat naka-focus; so we can now focus on other crimes,” he added.
In a memorandum to all 18 Police Regional Office directors and the heads of the different PNP National Support Units specifically the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Highway Patrol Group, the Highway Patrol Group and the Drug Enforcement Group, PNP Director for Operations Director Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan directed all concerned “to adhere to the Presidential directive effective immediately” and said that “violators shall be dealt with accordingly.’
Cascolan said that the PNP-DEG headed by Chief Superintendent Graciano J. Mijares “shall limit its functions to immediate submission of drug-related intelligence reports/information to PDEA.’
‘’Likewise, all units are directed to focus all operations on anti-criminality, ISO (Internal Security Operations) and anti-terrorism through the strategy implementation of Enhanced Managing Police Oprations (E-MPO),” the official said.
On Tuesday, President Duterte ordered the PDEA to take charge of all government anti-narcotics operations thus stripping the PNP and other law enforcement agencies of their authority to wage a campaign against illegal drug trafficking and abuse. - “All information/data received by the NBI, PNP, AFP, Bureau of Customs, Philippine Post Office and all other agencies or and all ad hoc anti-drug task forces shall fortwith be relayed, delivered or brought to the attention of the PDEA for its appropriate action,” he added.