PNP chief Cascolan pushes for drug war revamp

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan said the government’s drug war needed a revamp.

The new PNP chief also vowed that the organization under his watch would not allow human rights violations in the country.

“Our Double Barrel program has accomplished its mission to account drug pushers and drug users,” Cascolan said at the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) headquarters in Camp Delgado here yesterday. It was his first visit to Western Visayas as the PNP chief.

Cascolan was one of the police generals who created Oplan Double Barrel. It consists of two main components: Oplan Tokhang and Oplan HVT. Tokhang is characterized as the lower barrel approach, while HVT, which stands for high-value targets, is described as the police’s high barrel approach.

The operation was launched in 2016 when President Rodrigo Duterte became the President. Oplan Tokhang was tagged in the killing of several small-time drug pushers.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s Real Numbers said a total of 5,810 people were killed in anti-drug operations since Duterte’s drug war began four years ago.

Cascolan admitted that some police officers went overboard and violated the rule of law and human rights.

“Some personnel abused their authority. That’s why we have pending cases to be evaluated,” the PNP chief said.

PNP chief Cascolan pushes for drug war revamp

Under his leadership, Cascolan said, he would focus more on “big-time” drug traffickers. He added relentless internal cleansing in the PNP will continue under his term.

“The police must without corruption, never violate human rights, and avoid being involved in illegal drugs,” the PNP chief noted.

Cascolan will only lead the PNP for a period of two months. His term will end on November 10 when he turns 56, following PNP’s mandatory age limit.

Earlier, rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported the number of deaths related to the administration’s  increase amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carlos Conde, HRW – Asia Division researcher, said killings related to the ’s war on drugs increased by 50% from April to July 2020 compared to the previous four-month period.

The data was based on the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) latest report that a total of 5,810 people died during the anti-illegal drug operations since President Rodrigo Duterte won the election in 2016.