3 conditions when police can join PDEA drug war operations

Rambo Talabong
3 conditions when police can join PDEA drug war operations

LeAnne Jazul

PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa gives the special circumstances needed when the PNP can join in illegal drug operations

MANILA, Philippines – Despite the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) being named the “sole agency” to execute the war on drugs, cops can still participate in drug war operations.

This is true under “special” circumstances, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said on Monday, October 16.

Dela Rosa said the 3 conditions that must be met were:


  1. If the PDEA engages in a gunbattle
  2. If the PDEA is losing to enemies
  3. If the PDEA asks for help


Kailangan magreinforce tayo, hindi natin pwedeng pabayaan ang kasamahan natin ‘pag actually na-engage at humingi ng support pero kapag hindi sila humingi ng support, ‘yung hands-off tayo,” Dela Rosa told reporters during his visit at the Kamuning Bakery for World Pandesal Day. (We need to send reinforcements. We cannot leave our allies alone when they really engage and asked for help. But if they did not ask for help, we’re hands-off.)

In a text message to Rappler, PNP chief for operations Director Camilo Cascolan added that cops can also stand watch near where PDEA agents will conduct operations for crowd control.

Asked if there are other circumstances that would allow cops to enter the scene, Dela Rosa said there are no other cases.

Earlier,  President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the PNP on October 11 to leave all anti-drug operations to the PDEA, after the PNP-led campaign has been tied to bloody controversies.

According to Duterte’s directive, the police now shift their focus to patrols, checkpoints, and visibility operations to curb other crimes.

The directive also removed to PNP from the helm of the drug war through their Oplan Double Barrel, which encompasses the popular knock-and-plead operations called Oplan TokHang. (READ: The Impunity Series)

The men in blue were also ordered to turn over all drug-related investigations to the PDEA, and dissolve all drug enforcement units.

The most that was left for the PNP was its centralized Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) based in their national headquarters in Camp Crame to conduct anti-narcotics investigations. But even the DEG needs to report to the PDEA.

According to the top cop, he trusts his policemen to only respond when they are called, and that they will not go rogue in aiding the PDEA. (READ: Why are Filipinos supporting Duterte’s drug war?)

Honest-to-goodness na effort na lang yan, we don’t have to justify all your actions and all, otherwise, wala, tuliro ang pulis niyan kailangang mag-explain palagi…So ganon na lang, konsensyahan na lang, konsensyahan na lang,” Dela Rosa said.

(Otherwise, cops will go mad with them always having to explain…So let’s go that way, let them do it according to their conscience.) – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.