The Philippine police chief stopped the use of the national police force in anti-drug operations Monday and disbanded all police anti-narcotics units after the president's brutal crackdown was used as a cover by rogue officers to kidnap and kill a South Korean man for money.
Police Director-General Ronald Dela Rosa told police officers he would use the indefinite halt of anti-drug operations to launch a massive purge of police involved in crimes. A counter-intelligence force would be formed to catch rogue officers and records of those previously implicated in crimes would be reviewed.
"No more drug operations now," Dela Rosa told police officers at the main police camp, without indicating how long the ban would last.
An estimated 7,000 drug-related killings have occurred since President Rodrigo Duterte started his anti-drug crackdown in July, and more than 2,500 of those involved suspects who allegedly fought back and were gunned down in clashes with police, the national police said, adding 35 policemen and three soldiers had been killed.
The scale of the anti-drug campaign has been unprecedented, with officials reporting that more than 7 million houses of drug suspects have been visited so far, prompting more than 1.1 million mostly drug users to surrender and agree to undergo rehabilitation programs.