(File photo)

MANILA – The administration of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. will adhere to the rule of law while sustaining the fight against illegal drugs, Malacañang said Thursday.

"Tuloy po ang campaign laban sa illegal na droga (The campaign against illegal drugs continues)," Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said in a Palace briefing.

Cruz-Angeles said Marcos has entrusted the Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. to come up with policies that would ensure that the anti-narcotics drive is compliant with the law.

"Pinagkakatiwalaan niya ang kaniyang chief PNP na mag-set ng polisiya at direktiba ukol dito. Nilabas naman po ni chief PNP na tuloy-tuloy ang kanilang operasyon (He gives his trust to the PNP chief in setting policies and directives on anti-narcotics campaign. The PNP chief has said the operation continues). And they will be compliant with the law pursuant to this," she said.

It was Marcos' predecessor, former President Rodrigo Duterte, who launched an intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

Duterte, in his last days in office, repeatedly urged his successor to support all initiatives that would put an end to the narcotics trade in the country to keep Filipinos safe from the menace.

On Aug. 3, Azurin said the anti-narcotics drive will remain relentless.

Azurin ordered an audit of the drug situation in the country, focusing on areas where prominent drug personalities were killed.

He said the PNP would partner with other government agencies to ensure that the drug supply chain in the country would be "reduced, if not cut totally."

Azurin also promised to pursue close cooperation with village officials for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users.

A total of PHP89.79 billion worth of narcotics, including PHP77.01 billion worth of shabu, have been seized nationwide, as of May 31, or a month before Duterte stepped down from office.

According to the Real Numbers data released by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, authorities have arrested around 345,216 individuals involved in illegal drugs since July 2016 until the end of May 2022.

A total of 15,271 high-value targets across the country have also been arrested, including 533 government employees, 406 elected officials, and 127 uniformed personnel.

The Real Numbers report also showed 6,252 drug suspects have died during 239,218 anti-illegal drug operations. (PNA)