(File photo)

MANILA – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has confiscated around PHP5.8 billion worth of various illegal drugs in operations by its Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) from July 1 to Aug. 20.

“From July 1 to August 20, 2022, the PNP, mainly through the efforts of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, gained significant headway in the campaign against illegal drugs with the arrest of 8,934 suspects and high-profile players in the drug trade, and confiscation of 805.63 kilograms of crystal meth or shabu, 83.33 kilograms of marijuana, other illegal substances, and destruction of 34 clandestine marijuana farms, all estimated to be worth PHP5.8 billion,” PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said in a presser in Camp Crame on Monday.

He said these significant results of operations prove the aggressiveness of the intelligence-driven supply reduction strategy in support of the overall anti-illegal drugs campaign, with a strong emphasis on non-violent methods of effecting arrest while ensuring the protection of operating teams when engaged in a violent confrontation with armed suspects through proper equipment and training.

“It should be worthy to note that the objective of law enforcement to effect the arrest of the offender has been satisfied in these operations with only barest minimum application of reasonable and necessary force, and consistent with requirements of transparency thru digital recording, presence of witnesses, and proper authority of operating units,” Azurin stressed.

He said the PNP’s aggressive anti-criminality and drug campaign is a program of organizational discipline through a combination of preventive, punitive, and restorative approaches to internal reform.

“I would like to point out that mitigation of drug problems was specifically mentioned by President Ferdinand R Marcos Jr. to visiting US Senator Edward Markey last Friday as among areas of partnership with the United States that the Philippines is looking forward to, along with renewable energy use, agricultural development, and economic reform,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Azurin also said the PNP is serious about intensifying its Internal Cleanliness Policy for cops who continue to defy rules and resist reforms.

He said this is just a preview of stronger internal reform efforts as further reinforced by his thrust dubbed Malasakit, Kaayusan at Kapayapaan tungo Kaunlaran or 'M+K+K=K' strategic framework thru the Kasimbayanan synergy of police, church, and community.

Azurin, meanwhile, ordered the relief of the entire force of the Paco Police Community Precinct (PCP) in Manila following the involvement of three of its personnel in the alleged extortion racket that victimized a tricycle driver on Aug. 15.

Azurin said those who would be relieved will be replaced with a new commander and new police personnel.

"This is a way of sending a strong message that we are serious in our internal cleansing process," said Azurin.

Azurin said the relief of the entire police force in Paco PCP is part of his directive for the commanders to exercise supervision over their men.

"The immediate commanders have the authority to relieve their erring personnel. If they fail to do that, the next-in-line commanders have the authority to relieve all (members of the) police unit. They should be out, they should be relieved and they should be sent to training," he noted.

He reiterated the standard procedure wherein immediate supervisors of arrested personnel should automatically conduct an investigation and prompt the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) for possible filing of administrative cases under the doctrine of command responsibility.

“Instilling discipline is a routinary action that must be taken priority so we can implant integrity in our work,” Azurin said.

The suspects -- Staff Sgt. Erwin Licuasen, Cpl. Chimber Importa and Pat. Leopoldo Tuason -- were arrested by the operatives of the Integrity Monitoring and Enforcement Group (IMEG) in an entrapment operation after they were accused of extorting PHP2,000 from a tricycle owner.

The three cops are now detained and facing dismissal from the PNP, aside from the criminal charges that were filed against them. (PNA)