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Palace: PDEA remains lead agency in drug war for now

Since October, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has been the sole agency in charge of the government's campaign against the illegal drug trade. File

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has not yet completely made up his mind whether the war on drugs should remain with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.

Last week, Roque said that Duterte intends to bring the government's campaign against the illegal drug trade with the Philippine National Police as he is not satisfied with the accomplishments of the PDEA.

The order giving the lead role in the so-called war on drugs back to the police is yet to be signed.

“It is safe to reveal that the President, while inclined to return it to the PNP, has not made up completely his mind,” Roque said in a press briefing in Davao City.

Roque added that he is yet to seek clarification with the president on the matter.

READ: Nothing final yet on PNP return to drug war

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"I guess until the document is signed by him, it remains with PDEA," Roque said.

Last month, Duterte designated the PDEA as the sole agency in charge of the drug war following public outrage over alleged police abuse. Police and military units have been supporting the PDEA in operations, however.

Duterte also instructed the police to maintain its visibility as a "deterrent to illegal drug activities."

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