Controversial Davao cop heads Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force

Bea Cupin

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Controversial Davao cop heads Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force
Senior Superintendent Vicente Danao Jr is tapped to lead the task force, which is under the newly-formed Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs

MANILA, Philippines – A senior police officer who was once accused of abusing his wife has been appointed commander of the National Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force, which is under the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

Malacañang appointed Senior Superintendent Vicente Danao Jr last April 27, but his papers were released nearly 3 weeks later on Wednesday, May 17.

The task force is part of the ICAD’s “enforcement cluster” alongside the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which by law takes the lead in all anti-drug efforts in the country.

According to Executive Order (EO) 15, which was signed in mid-March 2017, PDEA and the task force can tap resources from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC), and other applicable agencies “in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations.”

According to the EO, the task force “shall undertake sustained anti-illegal drug operations” in coordination with PDEA.

PDEA chairs the ICAD.  

The Philippine National Police (PNP), which counts Danao as one of its commissioned officers, also has a special unit that handles drug cases – the newly-created Drug Enforcement Group (DEG).

PNP spokesman Dionardo Carlos, in an interview with Rappler, did not elaborate on Danao’s new role, saying that Malacañang would know better.

Danao is currently the chief directorial staff of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

Before that, he was police chief of Davao City under then mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

In 2014, Danao’s wife filed complaints against him for supposed physical and verbal abuse. He was temporarily relieved from his post, after a video showing him shouting and hitting his wife went viral on social media. Danao then said it was a “private matter” and that it’s only normal for husbands and wives to quarrel.

Duterte then questioned Danao’s relief. “That is an exercise of hypocrisy. Everybody knows that every couple in this planet will always have quarrels,” Duterte said in 2014.

Danao was eventually reinstated and remained Davao City police chief until June 2016. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.