PHILIPPINE police will return to the frontlines of President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, his spokesman said today, less than two months after they were demoted in response to rising opposition to the crackdown.
"You can go to hell, all of you!"
"I do not want Filipinos to be turned into fools during my time".
To foster closer interaction and stronger bilateral cooperation between Japan and Philippines against illegal drug trafficking, a delegation from Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) on Tuesday paid a courtesy visit to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
"Their visit to the PDEA National Headquarters in Quezon City served as an avenue to showcase PDEA's accomplishments, operational capabilities and facilities for them to have a better understanding of our organization and the current drug trends affecting the national drug situation in the country", PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said.
Duterte, 72, was elected a year ago on a promise to eradicate drugs from society by launching an unprecedented campaign in which up to 100,000 people would die.
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Another 2,290 have been murdered in drug-related crimes, while thousands of other deaths remain unsolved, according to government data.
But in October Duterte announced that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency would replace the police in the drug war following mounting public opposition, including rare street protests, that were triggered by police allegedly murdering three teenagers.
Roque said Duterte recognizes the significant strides PDEA has made in the government's anti-illegal campaign.
However Duterte also repeatedly said he believed the anti-drug agency, with only about 2,000 officers, would not be able to effectively prosecute the crackdown. The police force has about 165,000 officers.
Meanwhile, oral arguments were heard in the Supreme Court for a third day Tuesday on petitions challenging Duterte's war on drugs. But he reinstated the police in March without making major reforms to address the graft issue.
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