The Manila Times



DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. will join the anti-narcotics operations of the Philippine National Police to motivate the police force to do better in battling social ills such as illegal drugs. Abalos made the announcement during a press briefing on Monday, his first day on the job as DILG chief. He also laid out his plans for his first 100 days. “Sasama ako sa drug raids para ma-motivate ang mga pulis natin. Iikot kami sa Pilipinas (I will join the drug raids to motivate our police. It will be on a countrywide basis),” Abalos said. Abalos said he wants to sustain the gains of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. He said he will chase after drug lords in a “people power against drugs.” The DILG chief said the police need help in addressing the causes of illegal drug peddling. “It is necessary to remove the root. What is its root? Unemployment, education, the family,” Abalos said. He said he will ask the help of other government agencies, the church and schools in fighting drugs. Abalos revealed he has been working with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla and all local government units in assigning a city or municipality lawyer who will accompany police anti-narcotics units during their operations. The lawyers will act as witnesses during drug raids and in arresting high-level drug personalities. Abalos said he got the idea from his wife, former Mandaluyong City mayor Carmelita “Menchie” Escio Aguilar-Abalos, who designated a fiscal office representative to back police anti-narcotics operations. He said the move led to easier convictions because it did away with the technicalities that complicate raids and arrests. Abalos gave assurances that the war on drugs he will wage will not be as bloody as that carried out by the Duterte administration because it will involve a comprehensive whole-of-nation approach.