Press Release
February 5, 2017

Hontiveros: Bluring police and military functions, a throwback to Martial law times

The plan by President Rodrigo Duterte to let the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) lead the government's anti-drug campaign is not new. PDEA has the mandate to push for efficient law enforcement in the fight against illegal drugs. "Automatic na yan."

However, unless the government's current strategy to respond to the country's drug problem is radically overhauled and the country's security forces are thoroughly cleansed of scalawags, whether it is the PDEA or Philippine National Police (PNP), the anti-drug campaign will continue to be abusive and corrupt-prone.

Hindi lang implementers ang may problema. Mas lalo na ang polisiya.

Also, the government's plan to include the military will add to the already chaotic situation. It will roll back the important gains in security sector reforms in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). It could also lead to unnecessary clashes between the military and PDEA. I am wary that allowing the AFP to implement a flawed and abusive style of war on drugs will only subject it to the same fate as the PNP.

May I remind the government that the military has a different mandate and orientation. It should not be dragged into civilian policing. While the military and PNP are both 'legal bearers of arms' they have different roles and training. The police force is for law enforcement and apprehension. The military is trained for combat duties. To blur these lines is not only dangerous, it is a throwback to Martial Law times. It is a nod to authoritarian leadership.

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