MANILA, Philippines — Citing lack of manpower in the anti-narcotics operations, President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to tap policemen again in the war against illegal drugs as he stressed that only the qualified ones would be allowed to join the campaign.
Duterte said he has ordered Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa to “recruit young men” who are “imbued with the fervor of patriotism” to be members of task forces that would run after drug syndicates.
“Every station should have one (task force) pero piling pili, yung walang kaso at walang history ng corruption (they will be selected thoroughly, they should have no cases and no history of corruption),” the president told reporters Tuesday in Malacañang.
“I have to do it because kulang ako ng tao (I lack manpower),” he added.
Duterte noted that security forces are also addressing the threats posed by the New People’s Army and terrorist groups in Mindanao.
“So kailangan ko ng tao (I need manpower). I have to call back the police again to do the job most of the time in the fight against drugs,” the president said.
Asked if the anti-drug campaign Oplan Tokhang would be revived, Duterte replied: “I will leave it to the police to decide. If that’s the best way to do it, fine.”
Duterte said the anti-drug operations involving policemen and military would be supervised by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
“There should always be a PDEA (representative),” he said.
Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to suspend the Oplan Tokhang following the kidnapping and murder of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo in the hands of some policemen
Witnesses said Jee was kidnapped by members of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group in Angeles, Pampanga on Oct. 18, 2016. The businessman was said to have been strangled to death inside Camp Crame. Jee’s body was cremated in a funeral parlor, his ashes flushed down a toilet, witnesses claimed.
After killing the businessman, the kidnappers demanded P5 million ransom from his wife.
Duterte has abolished the anti-drug units of PNP and has vowed to cleanse the police force of scalawags. The president admitted though that it might take time before the rogue policemen are replaced by decent ones.