Citing the SAF commando’s integrity, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief of directorial staff, said the fighting unit would be a key factor in ending the drug problem in the country.
Michael Varcas/File
SAF to be tapped vs narcos
Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - December 9, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) will tap the guerrilla warfare-trained Special Action Force (SAF) in going after high-value drug traffickers whom President Duterte wants neutralized.

Citing the SAF commando’s integrity, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief of directorial staff, said the fighting unit would be a key factor in ending the drug problem in the country.

“I firmly believe that you are the most qualified unit to run after big-time drug lords,” Eleazar told the six classes that graduated from SAF commando courses on Friday.

“The discipline, the bravery and the integrity you have make you the most qualified warriors that President Duterte has been looking for to finish off illegal drug problems in the country,” he said.

The campaign against illegal drugs has been marred by the involvement of the so-called “ninja cops” being either protectors of drug syndicates or “recyclers” of seized drugs.

This is the part where the SAF would fit in, Eleazar said.

“As members of the elite force, you are the PNP’s last bastion of integrity. The kind of discipline that you have been molded into, the warrior that was brought out from each and everyone of you and the tried-and-tested integrity that your senior has shown make you the worst nightmare of drug lords,” he said.

The involvement of SAF to neutralize drug lords is more on operations since the intelligence aspect will still be in the hands of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and police anti-narcotics operatives.

Earlier, Duterte said he wanted the government’s anti-narcotics units or the next PNP chief to focus more on big-time drug lords.

SAF commandos are highly-trained in combat and the most equipped in terms of firepower.

Eleazar said that if SAF commandos are deployed to go after drug lords, the campaign against illegal drugs would be more aggressive.

He, however, said the decision still remains with the President as their commander-in-chief.

Eleazar said illegal drugs is indeed a multibillion-peso industry in the country, which makes drug cartels and drug lords continue to operate, despite aggressive government campaign.

“Illegal drugs are a threat to national security and drug lords are the worst enemies of the state. So the President is right, this is already a war,” Eleazar declared.

“Having seen the success of the President’s war against illegal drugs, I, in my personnel and current official capacity, shall intensify my efforts to win as many battles in this war,” Eleazar said.

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