‘Comeback of bloody anti-drug ops possible’

Michael Vencynth H. Braga (The Freeman) - March 3, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines -  “Better start hiding now or surrender.”

Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño, Police Regional Office-7 director, made this stern warning against drug personalities as he vowed for an intensified effort in the comeback of police-initiated operations to weed out illegal drugs.

In an interview after a command conference with police officials yesterday, Taliño divulged that there will be bigger catches from their drug list which includes those personalities who reportedly turned to their old illegal ways when the Oplan Tokhang (knock and plead)and Oplan Double Barrel were suspended.

“There is no letup in the campaign against illegal drugs,” he told reporters.

He further said “bloody” anti-illegal drug operations are still possible, especially when drug suspects provoke the authorities, leaving them with no choice but to defend themselves by retaliating.

“Hindi natin maiiwasan na hindi madugo kasi itong mga drug pushers, high-value targets, may established illegal business na ito so hindi basta-basta nila iiwanan ‘yan. Ang iba dito ay lumalaban para protektahan ang kanilang illegal na business so mapipilitan ang mga pulis na lumaban. Hindi dapat sila maunahan,” Taliño said.

He, however, assured that rules will still be observed and human rights protected during police operations.

Even though police are now given the green light to initiate anti-drug operations, Taliño said coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-7, being the lead agency against illegal drugs, should be secured first.

“From the regional down to police station, all operations must be coordinated with PDEA,” he said.

The anti-illegal drug operations will be carried out by different drug enforcement units, which will be soon created by different police offices and stations in Cebu.

Taliño said those who will compose the units will be thoroughly screened through background investigation. At the police station level, the units will be created by the respective police chiefs.

He added that police offices may start as soon as they have complied with the requirements, including the formation of a unit.

In January, all the anti-illegal drugs operations initiated by the police all over the country were temporarily suspended to give way to the “internal cleansing” in the police hierarchy.

The move came following the kidnapping and killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo by some policemen in October last year. The suspects allegedly carried out the crime in the guise of a search operation as part of war on drugs.

President Rodrigo Duterte, however, ordered last Monday for the return of the police's war against illegal drugs.

But Taliño made it clear that Tokhang and Double Barrel will no longer resume, although rehabilitation for drug surrenderers will still continue.

 He said, though, that the participation of the police will already be limited.

In a separate interview, Senior Superintendent Joel Doria, Cebu City Police Office director, said the anti-illegal drug units in Cebu City such as the City Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operations Task Group (CAIDSOTG) will be reorganized, which means that new members will compose the unit.

“Sisiguraduhin natin malinis sila. They will undergo seminars,” he said.

Before its suspension, the government’s crackdown on illegal drugs reportedly claimed the lives of more than 2,000 suspected drug users and pushers after they allegedly resisted arrest and engaged in a firefight with the police. (FREEMAN)

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