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Dela Rosa hopes PNP can focus on drug war anew

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa claims drug lords are back on the streets since President Rodrigo Duterte stop their anti-illegal drug operations. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police is itching to get back to the controversial war on drugs but the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to prioritize internal cleansing is preventing them to focus on the illegal trade, the nation's top cop said.

PNP Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said at a press briefing at Camp Crame Monday that internal cleansing is a never-ending process and coexists with the PNP.

"As long as buhay ang PNP meron at meron magkakamali, mate-tempt na gumawa ng kalokohan," Dela Rosa explained.

"We are dealing with human resources, dynamic individuals, hindi natin ma-preempt lahat," he added.

If the drug efforts' suspension will indeed be lifted, Dela Rosa believes it will take an eternity before they can resume their operations, which they claimed to be a success since it was launched in July last year.

Despite claims of success, the government has yet to release numbers showing that the drug supply and demand have been curbed. The so-called drug war, moreover, has received worldwide criticism for thousands of deaths of suspected "drug personalities" since it was launched.

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The PNP chief said the PNP is still awaiting Duterte' order of reinstatement, which will give them the authority to take action on reports of drug peddlers back on the streets.

Dela Rosa claimed that the situation is getting worse.

"Wala kaming magawa... sayang 'yung nakuha nating gains sa first seven months," he said.

Duterte halted the anti-illegal drug operations of PNP last month after a Korean businessman was discovered to have been killed inside police headquarters Camp Crame by cops who used the anti-narcotics campaign for illegal activities.

Victim Jee Ick-Joo was proven innocent after he was accused of being involved in the drug trade to justify his death.

The issue led to disbandment of anti-illegal drug group of the PNP.

Duterte ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to take the lead in the continued anti-narcotics efforts while the PNP focused on internal purging of errant cops.

Despite this, Dela Rosa vowed the PNP is now ready to be on the offensive again.

"Mahirap baka sabihan ni presidente pinapangunahan ko siya. Baka sabihin nya maghintay ka. The president naman is on top of the situation, alam niya 'yung nangyayari sa buong pilipinas," Dela Rosa said.

"We are ready to go back to war if given orders by the president," he added.

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