WATCH | SolGen Calida grilled on Tokhang smallfry deaths as PNP returns to war on drugs, backstopping PDEA

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Malacañang has allowed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to get involved in the anti-illegal drug operations spearheaded by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The Duterte Administration’s war on drugs used to be placed at the hands of the PNP before it was handed over to PDEA.

According to Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, President Duterte gave the green light for the police establishment to backstop PDEA owing to its insufficient manpower and resources to execute the mission.

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.

For his part, PDEA Director General Aaron N Aquino said: “PDEA welcomes the decision of the President. It has been the desire of PDEA that PNP will return in the fight against illegal drugs”.

PDEA acknowledged that it is “undermanned, under-budget and under-equipped, and there is a need for other law enforcement agencies, particularly the PNP, in the fight against illegal drugs.

“From the time it was given the sole responsibility in the conduct of anti-drug operations, PDEA conducted a total of 2,161 anti-drug operations from October 11, 2017 to December 4, 2017 that resulted in the arrest of 750 drug personalities and seizure of P104.10 million worth of illegal drugs.”

Meanwhile, at the Supreme Court, in oral arguments over the petition against the war on drugs, Solicitor General Jose Calida was grilled over the seeming dichotomy between the marching orders for Operation Plan Tokhang, which stated the objectives of campaigning against high-value targets, and the controversial deaths of thousands of smalltime drug users and pushers.

Click and watch a related video report from News5’s JV Arcena below: