PNP to add new drug war rules before resuming Tokhang

Rambo Talabong
PNP to add new drug war rules before resuming Tokhang
The new rules are expected to complement the guidelines under Oplan Double Barrel, which is being challenged before the Supreme Court

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will add new guidelines for the implementation of the war on drugs before making a comeback.

On Wednesday, December 6, PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos announced that they are working on new rules for their anti-narcotics campaign.

“Magkakaro’n po tayo ng bagong (We will have another) CMC to effect our active role or active support in the campaign against illegal drugs as ordered by the President,” Carlos told reporters in a press briefing in Camp Crame.

Carlos was referring to a new command memorandum circular (CMC), to complement the controversial CMC 16-2016 which set Oplan Double Barrel in motion.

CMC 16-2016 is being challenged at the Supreme Court (SC), with petitioners wanting the guidelines to be declared as unconstitutional. (READ: Was the PNP’s war on drugs illegal? Here’s why lawyers think so)

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa earlier said they will only change the drug war guidelines if the SC compels them to do so. There is no decision from the High Court yet.

But the PNP said the new guidelines will be crafted to follow the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In his memorandum circular ordering them back to the drug war, Duterte reminded the PNP and other law enforcement agencies that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) should remain as the “lead agency” in the drug war.

Carlos said they will meet on the new CMC on Thursday, December 7, even with Dela Rosa abroad. 

He said the top cop wants them to make the use of body cameras mandatory in police operations, and to intensify their internal cleansing – ideas he has repeatedly considered before. (READ: PNP drug enforcement chief: No need for body cameras, we have God)

According to Carlos, they hope to release the new guidelines next Monday, December 11. –

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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.