PNP chief orders probe into continued drug ops inside prisons

PNP chief orders probe into continued drug ops inside prisons

Philippine National Police chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan has ordered a probe into the alleged continuing illegal drug operations inside prisons.

“I have directed PDEG (PNP Drug Enforcement Group) to coordinate closely with PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) to validate the information of the alleged continued operation of illegal drugs activities by a convicted drug lord even while serving sentence inside the prison,” Cascolan said in a press briefing at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame Monday.

The order stemmed from a drug buy-bust operation in Cebu City on Sunday morning that resulted in the arrest of three suspects who yielded some seven kilograms of shabu worth PHP47.6 million.

One of the arrested couriers revealed that the seized drugs belonged to convicted drug lord Rustico “Dikoy” Ygot who is now serving sentence at the New Bilibid Prison. Ygot was convicted of drug charges in 2013.

Cascolan also said police would “never lower” its guard on the campaign against illegal drugs and vowed to continue upholding the protection of human rights.

“We will never lower our guard against a crime that destroys families and the moral fiber of society, and certainly not while we are winning the war,” he said.

During the 45th Human Rights Council session in Geneva, UN’s High Commissioner on Human Rights Michele Bachelet appealed to the Duterte administration to remove the policies, including the anti-narcotics campaign, which she said resulted in killings as well as other human rights violations.

Cascolan said the PNP would not back down on the campaign, noting that its anti-drugs operations are consistent with police operational procedures.

“Let me state for the record that human rights have never gotten in the way of the PNP campaign against illegal drugs and vice-versa, precisely because police anti-illegal drugs operations are consistent with Police Operational Procedures or rules of engagement that are founded on the fundamental principle to respect, protect and fulfill human rights; and to uphold the rule of law,” he said.

Cascolan cited the “great strides” in the supply reduction strategy against illegal drugs saying there is no reported local production of shabu and that drug trafficking activities have been significantly checked due to pressure from police operations.

“However, the challenge remains in the demand reduction strategy that takes more than law enforcement action, but a holistic approach by the stakeholders from the family, community, church, school, local government, and the larger society,” he said.

Cascolan also reported that from Sept. 2-19, police conducted 2,570 anti-illegal drug operations.

In the said operations, 3,615 drug offenders were arrested and 16.7 kilograms of shabu with an estimated worth of PHP114 million were seized. (PNA)

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