THE PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) hay have been temporarily stripped of the power to lead anti-illegal drugs operations but it will not stop them from supporting the government’s cornerstone campaign.
“True, we would be affected by the stoppage on the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations but we would stand in support with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA),” said Superintendent Gilbert Gorero, Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) spokesperson.
On Jan. 30, 2017 PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa ordered all police units to stop their anti-illegal drug operations as they would shift their focus on cleansing their ranks.
The order would also mean an end to Oplan Tokhang.
PRO-6 records showed that from July 1, 2016 to Jan. 26, 2017, a total of 20,087 suspected drug personalities surrendered through Oplan Tokhang, a mix of the Bisaya words “toktok (to knock)” and “hangyo (to plead or ask).”
Iloilo province has the most number of surrenderers with 7,483; Capiz with 5,484; Iloilo City – 2,875; Aklan – 1,920; Antique – 1,575; and Guimaras with 750.
The cease and desist specifically means that police will not initiate anti-drug operations.
“We could not take a lead in the conduct of buy bust operations and serving of search warrants,” Gorero said.
But they could be tapped to support the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency PDEA in its operations.
Gorero said they immediately dismantled the Regional Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group (RAIDSOTG) and anti-drug units in the province, city and municipal levels.
Despite some restrictions, PNP members could still carry out administrative functions related to illegal drugs like declaring drug-free barangays in coordination with PDEA and local government units and other stakeholders.
They could also arrest a person who commits a crime, including drug dealing.
Their duty to serve arrest warrants will also continue.
But amidst it all, “we have trust and confidence that the PDEA could do the job,” Gorero said.
Minus their duties against illegal drugs, Gorero said they would train their sights at seven focus crimes, including rape.
These crimes, which were earlier the focus of the PNP Lambat Sibat operations, are robbery, theft, motornapping/carnapping, and cattle-rustling; and murder, homicide, and physical injuries.
Aside from focus crimes, Gorero said they would be keen on internal cleansing and police community relations (PCR) activities.