SC asked to declare war vs drugs illegal

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Duterte ordered the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to be the "sole agency" in charge of his war against drugs.

Carlos said the PNP's Drug Enforcement Group, a national operational support unit with the mission and function to be the lead unit in police anti-drug operations, remains.

In a petition, the Free Legal Assistance Group asked the SC to issue a Temporary Restraining Order against the PNP Command Memorandum Circular No. 16-2016 on "Oplan: Double Barrel". Dionardo Carlos said the PNP will follow the President's order and will focus instead on addressing crimes and on cleansing its ranks.

Since the crackdown, more than 1,300,000 suspects have surrendered and at least 113,900 arrests have been made, the Phillipine police said.

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No less than PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino headed the operation on Thursday involving the destruction of 3.8 million grams of solid chemicals and 228 liters of liquid chemicals estimated at P9.6 million.

The police have been heavily criticised for their brutal way of handling drug-related arrests.

The PNP's Drug Enforcement Group will now be limited to intelligence production and monitoring.

Last January, Duterte detached the PNP from the war on drugs following the death of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo allegedly in the hands of the policemen, inside the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

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Duterte did not explain in his memorandum why he pulled out the PNP from the anti-drug operations but police have lately been under heavy fire for alleged rampant abuses especially in the extra-judicial killings of children and minors that have drawn nationwide anger and indignation.

"What happened is the street distribution of networks of drugs lords already degraded so we now target higher echelons of the syndicates, as well as their protectors in government", he added.

"If there is good intelligence information, they will pass them to PDEA", he said.

"PDEA will also lead in the establishing a broad anti-drug coalition, working with agencies - LGUs (local government units), civil society, the Church, business, academe and media to push prevention and rehabilitation initiatives", he added.

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Thousands of suspected drug addicts, mostly from poor communities, have been killed in the anti-narcotics campaigns since July 2016.

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