Philippine police to rejoin anti-drug operations

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In October 2017, Duterte ordered Philippine police to end all anti-war operations, leaving the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in charge.

The drug enforcement agency took over the reins of the campaign in October amid growing public concern over drug-related killings during police operations.

Roque said the PNP's role in the drug war resumed but clarified that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) remains the lead agency.

Philippinen Drogen Verdächtige auf Brücke

In February, however, Duterte removed the power from the police to go after drug suspects after some policemen were linked to a series of "tokhang for ransom". Between 4,000 and 7,000 people have been killed in the 18-month crackdown, drawing criticism from human rights groups, who have accused police of carrying out extra-judicial killings. They also deny links to at least 2,000 unsolved street killings of drug users.

Despite the growing condemnation of the crackdown both at home and overseas, various surveys have revealed widespread support among Filipinos for Duterte's campaign.

"In returning police to his anti-drug operations yet again, President Duterte has consigned the poorest and most marginalized people in the Philippines to another catastrophic wave of violence, misery and bloodshed".

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Roque said Duterte recognizes the significant strides PDEA has made in the government's anti-illegal campaign.

"Keeping the youth well-informed about the dangers of illegal drugs and with parents' positive relationship with them may be helpful and effective to prevent drug abuse or for them to stay away from prohibited drugs", Martinez said.

More than 12 police officers have been investigated for the killing after the case received worldwide attention, but no one has yet been held to account.

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The Duterte Administration's war on drugs used to be placed at the hands of the PNP before it was handed over to PDEA.

Duterte and other high-level officials could be held liable under worldwide law for "openly advocating" for killings, AI also said. The first suspension took place in January when it was revealed that officers in the anti-drug campaign had murdered a South Korean businessman inside national police headquarters. But he reinstated the police soon afterwards without making major reforms to address the graft issue.

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