THE Philippine National Police will resume “Tokhang” operations on Monday under the tight watch of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
DILG Officer-in-Charge and Napolcom chairman Eduardo Año said on Sunday that his agency “will keep a close eye” on the police implementation of the new guidelines of Operation “Tokhang.”
The close monitoring, Año said, “is to ensure that allegations of human rights violations against police officers involved in anti-illegal drugs operations will be a thing of the past.”
Last week, the PNP released its guidelines in line with the resumption of the drug war that has claimed thousands of lives.
Under the new guidelines, the anti-drug operations shall be conducted only on weekdays and during daytime, and each “Tokhang” team will be composed of four policemen only, led by a commissioned officer.
The PNP had said representatives from religious, civil society groups and journalists may be invited to join the anti-drug operations.
The guidelines also indicated that all PNP personnel who are part of the anti-illegal drug operations should file a report containing the unit and individual’s functions with daily evaluation and remarks by each policemen, which will be reviewed and monitored by the team leader.
The use of body camera and other recording devices was encouraged.
Injured suspects will be taken to a hospital for medical treatment.
“With the issuance of these guidelines, we hope that the police organization will be ably guided as they provide active support to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in the anti-illegal drugs campaign,” Año said in a statement.
He added that the newly released guidelines for the anti-drug operations “have more weight and demand accountability.”
“It is the cornerstone of a successful campaign against illegal drugs, especially if it is met with the full support and compliance from our uniformed men in the PNP,” he said.
The PNP stopped Oplan Double Barrel or “Tokhang” in October last year amid the public outrage that was triggered by the killing of teenagers Kian Loyd de los Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman alias Kulot in Caloocan City by policemen.
Año encouraged the public to report abuses done by policemen during “Tokhang” operations.
“Do not hesitate to report policemen abusive of their powers. I can assure you all that they will be removed from their service if it’s proven that they violated the law,” he said.
Metro Manila Police Director Oscar Albayalde backed Año’s statement.
“If there will be abuses, we will not tolerate that. There were a number of policemen who were dismissed because of abuses like what happened in Caloocan, policemen there have a warrant for murder,” Albayalde said over dzMM radio, referring to the case of the killings of the teenagers last year.
“If policemen will conduct anti-drug operations, they must respect human rights. It is part of the seminars before they graduate since seminars include respect for human rights values formation, as well as spiritual upliftment of a police officer,” he added.
He also emphasized that it is important for the police organization to have disciplinary mechanisms in dealing with abusive policemen.
But on the eve of Tokhang’s return, policemen killed two drug pushers in Quezon City. Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director, Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, said the two drug dealers were killed in a legitimate police operation. He added that a olice officer was shot by one of the suspects but he survived because he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.
Eleazar said the two drug pushers agreed to sell P1,000 worth of shabu to undercover operatives of the Station Drug Enforcement Unit (SDEU) of the Batasan Police Station. After handing the drug and receiving payment, the suspects sensed that they were dealing with policemen and fired, hitting PO1 Leo Andres twice in the chest.
Eleazar said recovered from the slain suspects were nine sachets of shabu with a street value of about P90,000, a sachet of dried marijuana leaves, one caliber .38 revolver, one 9mm pistol, two cell phones, and the buy-bust money.