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PNP Chief Is More Concerned About Rule of Law Than New Drug War Strategy

During his inaugural press conference as the new Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil emphasized the importance of adhering to the rule of law in addressing the country’s drug problem.

Marbil dismissed the notion of initiating a new “war on drugs” to achieve a drug-free status, stating that eradicating illegal drugs falls within the purview of law enforcement duties.

“I believe there is no need for a drug war. This is simply part of our responsibility—to eliminate drugs. I am not the only chief PNP who shares this view,” Marbil asserted, addressing reporters.

The term “drug war” gained prominence during the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte, who spearheaded an aggressive anti-drug campaign.

Marbil expressed his reluctance to adopt the term “drug war,” emphasizing a focus on achieving drug-free communities rather than engaging in what he perceives as a warlike approach.

“I prefer not to characterize our efforts as a drug war, as it may imply a confrontational stance. Our goal is clear—we aim for 100 percent drug-free communities,” he elaborated.

When asked about his strategy for addressing the drug issue during his tenure, Marbil underscored the importance of accountability and transparency among police officers.

“I prioritize accountability and transparency among our policemen,” Marbil emphasized.

He emphasized the need for a region-specific approach in tackling illegal drugs, highlighting the shift away from previous mandates that set generalized targets for drug-related arrests across police regional offices.

“This is not about competing to make the most arrests. It’s about addressing the root problem. Simply increasing arrest numbers doesn’t solve the issue,” Marbil pointed out.

In another development, Brig. Gen. Alden Delvo, the police director for Davao, instructed police commanders in the city to provide evidence validating armed encounters resulting in the deaths of drug suspects.

Marbil also implemented a strict policy prohibiting police officers on beat patrol from using cell phones while on duty, emphasizing the need for focused attention and minimizing distractions.

Furthermore, Marbil outlined plans to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technology in crime prevention and solution efforts, highlighting the PNP’s commitment to a five-year development plan centered on AI tools and strengthening the Anti-Cybercrime Group’s capabilities.

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