Duterte to bring police back to drug war

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday, November 22, that he has no choice but to bring back the Philippine National Police (PNP) to his drug war.

Speaking to soldiers of the Special Operations Command in Nueva Ecija, Duterte said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) may not have enough capability  to implement the anti-drug campaign on its own. (WATCH: Rappler Talk: PDEA on leading the drug war without the PNP)

"As of now, just to parry, linagay ko sa PDEA (I designated PDEA as the sole agency). Whether I like it or not, I have to return that power to the police because surely, it will increase the activity of the (inaudible)," said Duterte.

The President had put the PDEA in charge of the drug war after the PNP came under fire due to the deaths of teenagers during police anti-drug operations. (READ: CHR hopeful PDEA will follow rule of law in drug war)

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa previously said he might ask Duterte to order cops to return to the drug war if drug-related crimes escalate.

PDEA chief Aaron Aquino also said earlier that police would still be needed in the anti-drug campaign given his agency's lack of personnel. (READ: 3 conditions when police can join PDEA drug war operations) – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.