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PDEA remains at helm of drug war – Palace

By ROY MABASA

Without any new written order from President Rodrigo Duterte, the war on drugs task remains with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.

In a Malacañang press briefing, Roque said the President should be allowed with “absolute discretion” on whether or not he will transfer the lead task of the government’s war on drugs campaign back to the Philippine National Police (PNP) or when he will do the order.

“I will just reiterate that unless he issues the necessary written directive, it remains with the PDEA, and let’s leave it at that,” the spokesperson said.

Roque admitted that the last time he heard the President discussing it was last week when the Chief Executive met with the families of the Maguindanao massacre victims.

“That’s why I know that there is no final decision on it because the way he talked about it was it’s still at that point, where he is considering it,” he said.

While he acknowledged the need to clarify the matter, Roque insisted that decision to return the anti-illegal drugs campaign to the police “is one of those areas subject to Presidential prerogative.”

“So let’s give him all the time that he needs to study whether or not he will actually return it to the PNP and when,” the Palace spokesman said.

In a related development, Roque said Malacañang will look into reports that Manila police operatives were involved in an alleged killing of three individuals in Tondo during an anti-illegal drugs campaign last October.

“I assure you that the President will not tolerate any abuses committed by some personnel of the police,” Roque said.

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