Short stint, high value: New PNP chief targets 'big fish' in drug war

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2020 11:12 AM

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MANILA - Incoming Philippine National Police chief Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan said Wednesday he would go after "high-value" targets in the country's drug war during his short stint at the top post.

Cascolan will lead the PNP until his retirement in November. He will succeed Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, who retires Wednesday after nearly 8 months in the post.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, Cascolan’s “mistahs” or classmates include his predecessors, former police chiefs Gamboa, Oscar Albayalde and Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa.

He was among those who authored Oplan Double Barrel, which became the PNP’s flagship program in the war against illegal drugs.

"Atin pa rin pong paiigtingin ang anti-drug campaign natin. Atin pong titingnan na ang high-value individuals ay sila ang dapat maaaresto. Ang case build up ay hindi lang dapat sa maliliit," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(We will intensify our anti-drug campaign. We will see to it that high-value individuals will be arrested. Our case build-up shouldn't be only for small-time drug suspects.)

"May mga huli huli po tayong maliliit na tao pero as much as possible gagamitin po natin sila para mahuli ang malalaking isda."

(We will catch small-time drug suspects but as much as possible we will use them to catch big fish.)

Cascolan said the PNP would also focus on its internal cleansing, citing the launch of the "Lead, mentor, discipline" seminar for its personnel.

"Hindi naman po natin makaila na may mga kamalian," he said. 

"Meron din po tayong evaluation ng ating mga unit at kada indibidwal, opisyal man o hindi. Titingnan po natin kung tama po ba ang tinatahak ng ating mga tao."

(We cannot deny there are mistakes. We will evaluate our units and individual policemen, whether they are an official or not. We will observe whether they are taking the right path.)

The drug war will not spare anyone who violates the law, even Chinese nationals, according to Cascolan.

"Ang anti-drug campaign natin ay walang pinipili kahit sinuman. Kahit sinuman ho ay aarestuhin namin basta vinaiolate niya po ang anti-drug campaign," he said.

(Our anti-drug campaign is not selective. We will arrest anyone who will violate the anti-drug campaign.)

The incoming PNP chief said he would also see to it that policemen would abide by the laws they are enforcing when asked about Metro Manila Police chief Major Gen. Debold Sinas getting off the hook after he violated quarantine measures in April.

"I will see to it that everybody who implements the law shall be disciplined and should also follow the law we’re implementing," he said.

"Kapag sinabi nating i-lead natin ang tao (When we say lead the people), we should set the example. When we say we mentor, we teach what is righteous."

Cascolan, meantime, said high-value drug targets and rapists should be among those included in the proposed reimposition of death penalty.

"We are law enforcers, whatever is implemented by government we will follow," he said on the issue.

Some 8,663 drug suspects have so far been killed under the government's anti-narcotics war, according to a report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights citing official figures.