DAVAO CITY -- One error or a violation of the anti-drug operational procedure by one police precinct will cause the relief of the police station chief. When two precincts committed errors, it will cause the relief of the Chief of Police while the relief of two police provincial or city directors will cause the head of the regional director.
This is now the tough challenge for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to follow the police operational procedure detailed in the supplemental guidelines for the conduct of operations against illegal drugs or the Oplan Double Barrel.
“We have our drug enforcement unit in a precinct so when something happens they will be relieved…not just wrong but mali ang (mistake) procedure, the precinct commander will be relieved, two precinct commanders, the chief of police will be relieved and that goes to cops, PDs (provincial directors) and RD (regional directors),” said PNP Deputy Director General for Operations Camilo Pancratius Cascolan during the AFP-PNP press corps weekly forum at the Royal Mandaya Hotel Wednesday.
Cascolan stressed that in other areas where there were no precincts the chief of police would be the sole accountable person and responsible.
“This is for us to monitor, supervise and give guidance to the DEU (Drug Enforcement Unit) members,” he added.
The new guidelines signed by PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa on January 19, detailed the system on drug operation that included the presence of a prosecutor for on-site inquest proceedings for the immediate filing of the case.
This would be done after each operation, said Cascolan, who was in Davao City for the coordination meetings and preparations for the launch of the simultaneous exercises dubbed Task Group Southern Storm.
Cascolan said, “Everything should be done systematically.” He said the guidelines pointed out accountability and responsibility of the police chiefs especially over the work of the DEU.
He said all unit leaders must cover and supervise the drug operations.
Cascolan said the chiefs of police would be administratively and suspended immediately for a violation of the operational procedure in anti-drugs operation.
DEU is composed of eight police officers with PO2 as a lowest rank member. Each police precinct has DEU so with city, municipality, provincial and regional police offices. The anti-drug operations are still in close coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
DEU members have been trained, have undergone re-orientation and seminars to ensure the anti-illegal drug operation is done accordingly.
They were briefed on the implementation of RA 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), the rule of law and police operational procedures regarding arrest and conduct of the operation.
Cascolan said no PO1 would become members of the DEU.
He said all members of the DEU were carefully selected and no derogatory records, including records of connections to illegal activities. The members were subjected to vetting.
As to the use of body cameras, Cascolan said it was “highly encouraged”.
But in the meantime there is no government-issued body camera available yet.
Cascolan said the PNP would need P300-million for body cameras for all police units nationwide and a system so that every operation could be viewed real-time.
On the other hand, the guidelines for Oplan Tokhang is still being perfected.
Cascolan admitted it had been going back and forth, getting suggestions and comments from stakeholders.
Cascolan clarified that Tokhang (Toktok Hangyo or Knock and Plea) was not an operation but it was a Police Community Relations (PCR) activity.
Initially, Cascolan said the draft Tokhang guidelines also detailed the conduct of the activity.
For example, if a person is on the list it will be subjected to evaluation by city, municipality, province, region police offices, and the barangay anti-drug abuse councils. From the barangay the list goes back to the region.
Given this, Cascolan said, “PNP is going high. We will be able put it (Oplan Double Barrel and Tokhang) in proper perspective.” PNA
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