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Ejercito warns PNP: ‘Words of strong support by President, not a license to go on killing spree’

Don’t use President Rodrigo Duterte’s “words of strong support” on the so-called war on drugs as a “license to go on a killing spree,” a senator reminded the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday.

“If drug war operations will be returned to PNP, (I) would like to remind them that the words of strong support by the President is not a license for them to go on a killing spree,” Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said in a text message on Friday.

“PNP should not let the few rotten eggs destroy the reputation of the whole organization. Protection and respect for human rights should be upheld at all times,” said Ejercito, who is part of the majority bloc in the Senate.

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On Wednesday, Duterte announced his plan to return to the police the conduct of the administration’s nationwide anti-illegal drugs campaign.

“As of now, just to parry, nilagay ko sa (I gave it to) PDEA. Whether I like it or not, I have to return that power to the police because surely it will increase the [drug] activity,” Mr. Duterte said in a speech.

Because of strong criticisms over alleged drug-related deaths, the Duterte decided to transfer the anti-illegal drugs operations from the PNP to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

READ: Duterte says he will return leadership of drug war to PNP

Despite Duterte’s latest pronouncements, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III still believes that the drug war would be “more effective” under PDEA’s supervision.

“If supervised by PDEA, I believe it will be more effective and more in line with the intentions of RA9165 that I principally authored,” Sotto said in a separate text message.

Republic Act 9165 is the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.   /kga

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