House leader backs Pres. Duterte’s move to dissolve, purge all PNP anti-drug units

MANILA-- The chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs on Monday expressed his all-out support to President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to dissolve all anti-drug units of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and rid its ranks of corrupt and scalawag personnel.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said it is also high time the police agency respond to President Duterte's call to come up with a new anti-drug office manned by personnel with clean and unsullied reputations.

"After a new anti-drug office had been created, the PNP should conduct a deep and thorough background check on all personnel who will be assigned to it," Barbers said.

The House leader said that background checks should include reviewing every applicants' cases in the past, determining their lifestyle and service, and digging into their statements of assets and liabilities (SALNs) prior to their joining the new anti-drug office among others.

In the same vein, Barbers urged PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa to continue the PNP's anti-drug operations in the wake of the official's earlier statement temporarily suspending police anti-drug operations pending "cleansing operations" on all anti-drug units.

"I urged Gen. Dela Rosa not to stop his efforts against illegal drugs while embarking on his war against police scalawags. After all, I believe that most rogue or ninja cops are also engaged in illegal drug trafficking," he said.

Likewise, Barbers said President Duterte's move to extend the deadline in the government's anti-drug campaign until the end of his term was "fair and justified because of the enormity of the problem and the gargantuan task of addressing or resolving it."

In a press conference early Monday morning, President Duterte ordered the dissolution of all PNP anti-drug units -- from the national to the local level -- and called for the creation of a new anti-narcotics command that would work under the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The President likewise vowed to rid the PNP of corrupt personnel who, he said, make up almost 40 percent of the 160,000-strong force.

He said he would be creating a special body to look into this and provide him a list of the "scalawags."

"I'll just gather them, bring them new uniforms, new combat boots. I have to have a strong presence in Basilan and in Jolo. Sila iyong paunahin ko doon. Diyan sila lahat," President Duterte said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency