As of February 2, 2018, the Philippine National Police did not receive any complaints and reported deaths on the relaunched Oplan Tokhang since January 29.
“Wala pa naman talagang death during Tokhang operations. So far, wala pa namang complaint,” said PNP Spokesperson Chief Supt. John Bulalacao.
Under the new set of rules, Tokhang operations can only be conducted by vetted “tokhangers,” Bulalacao said.
“Before any policeman could become a tokhanger, he must be properly vetted by the intelligence office of his particular station or district or provincial command. So there should be validation on the possibility of his involvement in illegal drugs,” Bulalacao said.
The Tokhang operations can only be conducted from Monday to Friday, from 8a.m. to 5p.m. Also, not all policemen may go to a person’s house and knock.
Bulalacao said, Tokhang is the “lower barrel” of the administration’s Oplan Double Barrel, which was launched on December 2017, or the anti-illegal drugs campaign. The upper barrel are police operations focusing on high-value targets.
The Oplan Double Barrel have recorded 47 deaths since its launch. The latest recorded death was on February 2, when police were conducting a buy-bust operation in Tondo, Manila, which led to an encounter after alleged drug personality Kenneth dela Cruz tried to fight back.
“Initially nagtago siya, hinahanap siya ng pulis, and then suddenly he fired a gun that forced the police to retaliate, hitting him,” said Bulalacao.
The said operation was not under the re-launched Oplan Tokhang, Bulalacao siad.
“Ang incidents lang na magkakaroon ng deaths ang Tokhang is when the police went to a house, knocked and talked to a suspect, tapos ‘yung suspect ay nagtapon ng granada o binaril kaagad ‘yung police,” Bulalacao said.