Duterte allows police to go back to drug war

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) — President Rodrigo Duterte allowed the police and other government agencies to return to the drug war, but under supervision of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Roque said the Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Armed Forces, and other agencies would again provide active support to PDEA which will stay in charge of the controversial campaign as required by law.

But Roque clarified the President's order does not say if the police force can resume Project Tokhang.

"That's not covered by the document. It says PNP and all other agencies can participate in the anti-illegal drug operations," he said. "They can participate now, whereas in the past, they were told they cannot do it."

The police welcomed the development, saying they follow the President's order.

"PNP will utilize body cameras, will put more focus on internal cleansing, allow other sectors to join/witness the ops for transparency," PNP Spokesman CSupt. Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.

President Duterte ordered PDEA on October 10 to take over anti-drugs operations in the wake of  allegations of police abuses. As of October 2017, PNP records show almost 4,000 have been killed in such operations.

Human rights groups have pegged the number at 13,000.