Police more careful this time – ‘Bato’


To keep its promise that the “reloaded” war on drugs will be less bloody, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is more cautious in its operations this time so that no civilian will be killed and “bad eggs” will not be able to infiltrate the new anti-drug units, PNP chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said on Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday directed the police and the military to avoid civilian casualties in their anti-drug operations.

“With or without his directive, we have been avoiding civilian casualties in all our operations,” Dela Rosa said in a news briefing in Camp Crame, the police’s national headquarters in Quezon City.

“Have you heard any civilian casualties in our operation? I think there is none yet. This is the reason why I am reiterating that this double barrel reloaded should be less bloody. That’s what we want. But we can’t control what our enemies are thinking. We want it less bloody but it takes two to tango. So to avoid bloodshed, they should not engage our operatives in a firefight,” Dela Rosa said.

This is the reason why the PNP reconstituted the composition of anti-drug units in police stations in provinces to make sure that rogue policemen will no longer be included in the campaign against illegal drugs, he explained.

“These (operations) are limited to drug enforcement units at all levels of command unlike before where anybody can interfere. Now we are making sure that all scalawags would be out,” the police chief said.

Since the PNP re-launched its campaign against illegal drugs on March 20, 2017, 1,472 operations have been conducted, resulting in the arrest of 2,311 drugs suspects and the killing of 34 others. Most of those killed came from Central Luzon.

Under the police’s Oplan Tokhang, at least 9,606 people have surrendered in the 94,139 houses the authorities have visited nationwide.

The President stopped the police from conducting anti-drug operations in February after several policemen were linked to the kidnapping and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo.

But Duterte made a turnaround early this month and allowed the PNP to once again mount anti-drug operations for lack of personnel. The President also enlisted the help of the military and the National Bureau of Investigation.

Dela Rosa vowed that the war on drugs will be more extensive, aggressive and well-coordinated.


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