Police agents are now banned from taking illegal drugs while on an undercover assignment, a police spokesman said Tuesday.
Chief Superintendent Nicanor Bartolome, Philippine National Police spokesman, said PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa issued the directive after learning that majority of the 221 police officers who turned out positive for drug use were undercover agents working on cases against drug personalities.
"That's why PNP chief Jesus Verzosa issued a directive banning operatives from taking drugs, even if they are doing it to monitor drug syndicates," Bartolome told ABS-CBN's morning show, "Umagang Kay Ganda."
Bartolome said several undercover agents take drugs while monitoring drug syndicates. He said agents would have to change this tactic under Verzosa's watch.
The PNP on Monday reported that 221 of the 25,134 police officers who have undergone drug tests in 2008 were found positive for illegal drugs.
Bartolome said the PNP has been conducting random drug tests even before President Arroyo appointed herself as the country anti-drug czar and ordered an all-out war against illegal drugs.
He said that of the 221 police officer found positive for drug use, 80 have been dismissed from the service, 24 were suspended, 10 demoted and have resigned, and two have been dropped from the police's rolls. He said 105 policemen are also facing cases, 26 of them under pre-charge evaluation and 79 are under summary dismissal proceedings.
This year, Bartolome said the PNP is targeting to conduct more drug tests on 25 percent or roughly 30,000, of its total members. The PNP is currently 125,000-strong.
He said the PNP would have wanted to subject all of its policemen to drug tests, but because of "budget constraints" the police organization is forced to conduct drug tests in batches and in a yearly basis.
“The target of the PNP in its random drug test for this year is 25 percent of the total PNP personnel. Right now we have a total of 125,000 members of the PNP. Rest assured that we will continue to put up a united effort in the campaign against illegal drugs,” Bartolome added.
Director Raul Bacalzo, commander of the police's Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF), said the PNP is now applying a "one-strike" policy to police unit commanders who will be caught sleeping on the government's renewed campaign against illegal drugs.
Bacalzo said police commanders will be immediately sacked from their posts if AIDSOTF agents are able to conduct successful anti-drug raids in their areas of jurisdiction.
The police official said the PNP is also implementing a memorandum from Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno that encourages police commanders to solicit the support of local government units in the anti-drugs campaign.
The PNP boasted that in the last six weeks, police have already conducted 311 operations nationwide, resulting in the arrest of 723 drug users and pushers as well as the filing of 613 cases. From January to February 6, police said a total of P208,951,397 worth of illegal drugs were seized.