MANILA, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine National Police (PNP) chief said on Thursday that he has ordered the police to stay out of the anti-drug campaign after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as the "sole agency" in charge of his war against drugs.
"We are turning over the task to PDEA. We'll just look for other things to work on, just not drugs for now," said PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa.
In a memorandum dated Oct. 10, Duterte directed the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Bureau of Customs (BOC), and the Philippine Postal Office (PPO), among others to "leave to the PDEA, as a sole agency, the conduct of all campaigns and operations against all those who...are involved in or connected with illegal drugs."
Duterte first broached the idea to put PDEA in charge of anti-drug campaign in January when he announced that he intended to create a "narcotics command" to weed out rogue policemen involved in the drug trade.
The police have been heavily criticized for their brutal way of handling drug-related arrests. Thousands of suspected drug addicts, mostly from poor communities, have been killed in the anti-narcotics campaigns since last July. The police claimed that they only killed suspects who resisted arrest violently.