MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered police to halt activities in his deadly war on drugs and leave all operations to the drug enforcement agency, amid unprecedented scrutiny of police conduct.
Duterte’s office on Wednesday made public a memorandum telling police, the military and other state bodies to leave to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) “as sole agency” the conduct of all campaigns and operations.
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It was unclear why Duterte had ordered the change in the role of the police, who have been responsible for the vast majority of arrests and killings in the 15-month-old campaign.
Neither the presidential spokesman nor the communications secretary immediately responded to Reuters’ requests for comment.
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The order could blunt the intensity of the crackdown, since the drug enforcement agency has only a fraction of the manpower of the 190,000-strong police. But it was not the first time the mercurial leader has decreed that the agency lead the drugs war.
Duterte suspended police anti-drugs operations in late January, to cleanse a force he called “corrupt to the core”, but lifted that ban five weeks later, saying drugs were flooding back to the streets and the gains of the war were being lost.
Memorandum - Tuesday - Police - Force - Times
The memorandum, signed on Tuesday, ordered the police force at all times to “maintain police visibility,...
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