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Sotto: Soldiers can help in drug war since PDEA’s in charge

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There’s no barring President Rodrigo Duterte from calling on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to take part in the anti-drug operations of the administration, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said Monday (Feb. 6).

“With the supervision and the authority of the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), yes, they can do that. It’s in the law. It’s in the law that created PDEA,” Sotto said referring to RA 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, in which he is the principal author.

The senator quashed concerns raised by colleagues over the possible unconstitutionality of the planned move of the President, a consequence of Duterte’s order disbanding the Philippine National Police’ (PNP) Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) following the death of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo allegedly at the hands of some of its operatives last year.

Sotto said that the law, when it was created, provides an authority which allows PDEA to seek the assistance of any other enforcement agencies of the government.

“And that includes the AFP. Kasi originally talaga ang intention ng pagkaka-create ng PDEA is to be supervisory of all enforcement agencies when it comes to the problem of illegal drugs and therefore there is nothing wrong in tapping the AFP to help the PDEA,” he said.

Provisions of the law states that PDEA will be on top, supervising the anti-drug operations at all times, Sotto said.

“Alam nila (PDEA) yung mga procedures. Sila dapat nag-susu-supervise ng mga enforcement agencies basta’t meron silang operations, pwedeng i-tap nila ang certain group of AFP para tulungan silang i-enforce yung ang mga batas doon sa area na dapat nila puntahan,” the senator said.

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