PHILIPPINE Drug Enforcement Agency chair, Director General Aaron N. Aquino, has maintained they still
need the help of the Philippine National Police in their war on drugs. In reaction, PNP chief, Director
General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa said that although they have totally stopped their anti-narcotics
campaign, he will personally ask the President to let them return to the battle if worse comes to
“I still need the PNP. I have only more than a thousand agents,” Aquino said as President
Rodrigo Duterte ordered the PDEA to lead the crackdown against illegal drug trafficking and abuse after
stripping the PNP and other law enforcement agencies of their authority to conduct anti-narcotics
campaign last week.
Aquino admitted that it will be “very hard” for the agency to lead the anti-narcotics campaign
with its current manpower of nearly 2,000 compared to around 1,750,000 police officers and men.
“’Pag lumaki syempre ang pwersa namin mas madali naming magampanan ang trabaho namin,” Aquino
said. A retired police general from Philippine Military Academy ‘Sandiwa’ Class of 1985, Aquino’s
effort to seek an additional P934 million budget for the PDEA in 2018 has been approved by the Senate.
The erstwhile Police Regional Office 3 director in Central Luzon recently expressed hope that
the PDEA will again lead the government’s campaign against illegal drugs saying he believes that
controversies hounding the anti-drug campaign will be minimized if operations are solely conducted by
the anti-drug agency.
“Hopefully, time will come na ang mag-ooperate lang sa drug operations eh PDEA. Hindi na mag-
ooperate ang pulis, they will be concentrating more on other crimes such as theft and robbery,
carnapping…” Aquino said.
“Being a member of PNP right now nakikita ko kasi talagang may problema sa Philippine National
Police, talagang marami ang pulis na gumagawa ng illegal activities,” he said weeks before he retired
as Central Luzon police director.
The PDEA is expected to still partner with the PNP, the Armed Forces and other concerned
government agencies in continuing the all-out war on drugs.
Officials said there is also a need for PDEA to fully cooperate with the PNP in conducting
their mission to avoid ‘misencounters.’ At present, the PDEA has 1,791 personnel with only 928 of them
Drug Enforcement Officers (DEOs). Another 85 Agents graduated only last March.
The Agency is also in need of 346 more DEOs to fill its remaining vacant agents’ position.
Officials said they can also tap the help of PNP territorial units in the conduct of anti-
narcotics raids or buy-bust operations although police will not be directly involved in those
operations except in acting as perimeter security only.
PDEA spokesman, Director Derrick Arnold C. Carreon said there is a need for PDEA agents to
first coordinate with local PNP territorial units each time they conduct an anti-drug raid or
surveillance to prevent possible ‘misencounters.’
Carreon cited the possibility that the presence of PDEA undercover officers in an area could be
misconstrued by some and be reported to the local police, thus leading to possible misunderstanding or
worst, ‘misencounter’ in case police rush in the area and confront the PDEA operatives.
Bato’s take on President’s decision
Personally, the PNP chief said he wants to help the President in his war on drugs. “I know deep
inside mga anak ko, they can go to the schools unmolested. Pero ngayon, kung babalik na naman sila,
baka mamolestya anak ko,” said the top cop who will be retiring from the police service this coming
“But if things get worse and talagang hindi kakayanin, so kailangan sabihin ko sa kanya
siguro, Sir pabalikin niyo kami dahil kawawa naman ang pamilya natin. Ako na ang aapela if that time
The PNP chief said that actually, they are winning the war on drugs. “Actually pawala na ang
drugs eh. Drug laboratories na-dismantle na natin, sana ngayon, istriktuhan na ang Customs,” he said
while describing their war on drugs as ‘very challenging.’
However, he said that although police should make a drug-related arrest if the crime is being
committed in his presence and later turn over the offender to the PDEA, he will discourage his people
to exploit those situations.
Why? “Dahil magiging rason na naman nila ’yan lalo na ’yung mga pulis na may mga ibang motibo
na gawin, ’yun pala pinu-project nila ’yung tao kaya dini-discourage ko sila na mag-action sa mga
gano’n,” he said.