MANILA – Police officers and anti-narcotics agents may face charges if they fail to follow the new joint memorandum circular (JMC) which sets rules on coordination between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on anti-illegal drug operations.
“The PDEA and PNP have their own disciplinary mechanisms both administrative and internal. Sa amin pag may violation yan (On our part, if there is a violation), we are talking of administrative cases, we can conduct initial investigation at kung meron tayong nakita na basehan, file-an natin ng administrative case yan. At depende ngayon sa magiging violation niya (and if we see a basis, we will file an administrative case. It would depend on the violation), it would range to suspension. The most could be even dismissal if the miscoordination have resulted in more serious pain or injury or consequence to our organization, both the PNP and PDEA,” said PNP chief, Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, in a press briefing in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Friday.
Aside from administrative charges, Eleazar said violations of other laws due to coordination lapses would warrant criminal cases against erring PNP and PDEA members.
The JMC between the PNP and PDEA seeks to avoid fatal misencounters that have resulted in casualties and undermined joint efforts of the two agencies in fighting illegal drugs.
PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva, in the same briefing, said the measure marks a milestone in the history of drug enforcement in the country.
“After more than 19 years, the PNP and PDEA talked about coordination. First time in the history of drug enforcement in the Philippines that the PDEA and PNP signed guidelines particularly on any guideline as anti-drug operations. We have provided proper direction to our own personnel and we have resolved the need for coordination between the PNP at PDEA,” Villanueva said.
He added that the signing of the JMC will help future drug enforcement operators both from the PNP and PDEA in securing the country against the illegal drug menace.
“The PNP’s desire to support PDEA as we sign these unified guidelines foster our sincere intent and commitment to sustain and intensify the war against illegal drugs,” Eleazar added.
According to the JMC, only the Police Drug Enforcement Group – Special Operations Units (PDEG-SOUs) and Drug Enforcement Units (DEUs) of regional, district, provincial, city, and municipal police stations are authorized to conduct and coordinate anti-illegal drug operations with the PDEA.
A certificate of coordination (COC) is issued by the agencies to the operating units. A “One Jurisdiction, One Operation” rule is also enforced where “only one anti-drug operation in a particular area at a particular time” shall be conducted by PDEA teams in areas covered by PNP stations.
A pre-operation report and coordination form must be submitted by the PNP to PDEA if in case a follow-up operation is needed in another target location separate from the first area of operation. If personal coordination cannot be made, it can be conducted through online means.
“It is our shared hope that the unified guidelines will finally counter loopholes and better enhanced our collaboration as well as our operational capability and capacity in fighting the social menace as we live up to the sworn duty to protect the community all for the common good,” Eleazar said.
The unified guidelines were crafted after the two misencounters that occurred between PNP and PDEA personnel this year.
On February 21, a botched buy-bust operation resulted in a shootout between anti-drug operatives of the Quezon City Police District – Special Operations Unit and PDEA Special Enforcement Services in Quezon City where two cops and two PDEA agents died.
Three months later, Quezon City cops again figured in a near misencounter in a buy-bust operation in Quezon City on May 14. However, the cops and PDEA agents involved managed to sort things out which prevented a shootout. (PNA)