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PDEA: Less bloody drug war


The head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) yesterday said they would still need the assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the war on drugs, but promised that it would be less bloody.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said they would still need the PNP due to their lack of personnel.

“Ang magli-lead ng operations lahat ay PDEA na po, hindi na pwedeng mag-lead ang ibang law enforcement agencies to include the PNP,” Aquino said.

“At pwede pa rin kaming humingi ng tulong kasi nakasaad sa batas natin yan sa RA (Republic Act) 9165, that the PDEA can seek assistance to any law enforcement agencies in the conduct of illegal drugs,” he added.

Aquino said that PDEA has only more than 1,100 agents, which can be a challenging considering that they operate on the grassroots level.

The PNP, on the other hand, has 190,000 members.

Due to the high number of fatalities in their anti-drug operations, the PNP has been accused of committing extrajudicial killings.

Aquino said he has made specific instructions to PDEA operatives not to violate the law.

He welcomes the members of the media to join their operations for transparency purposes.

“Yes, during my interview a while ago I’m asking all the media to join me in all my operations, you’re all welcome and lahat ng operations ko isama natin ang media, may body cams kami and everything,” Aquino said when asked if the drug war would be less bloody under PDEA.

Since July 1, 2016, only 28 drug personalities died during PDEA’s operations.

“That’s true, mula nung July 1, 2016 up to present nagkaroon lang ng 28 victims ng patayan that involves illegal drugs, sila po ’yung nakalaban namin and I can assure the public that this 28 are legitimate operations,” he said.

In a memorandum signed Oct. 10, Duterte named PDEA as the lead agency in the government’s drug war.

“Alam ko mahihirapan kami, there will be a lot of obstacles and challenges along the way but I can assure the public na kakayanin namin itong trabaho na ‘to, napakahirap dahil nga considering ang aming manpower ay dalawang libo lang kami and this is the number of personnel already operating in the region,” Aquino said.