Under Oplan Tokhang’s police-validated watchlist of suspected drug personalities, around 11,000 people are listed. Police said the number increased by 6.79 percent from December 2017 when there were 10,300 drug suspects in the list.
According to Philippine National Police (PNP) operations Chief Director Camilo Pancratious Cascolan, the increase is normal as validation is a continuing process.
The list includes government officials, politicians, pushers, and users. “Our drug enforcement units will monitor their activities,” Cascolan said.
Cascolan said that the validation process is stringent to ensure only those actually involved in the drug trade are included and avoid implicating people on mere suspicion. “The list will be indiscriminate if we do it that way,” Cascolan said.
At least 50 suspected drug offenders have been killed in anti-drug operations since December last year.
According to PNP deputy spokesperson Superintendent Vemily Madrid, 53 drug suspects were killed in alleged armed encounters with police from Dec. 5, 2017 to Feb. 8, 2018.
“Most of these were service of search warrants and buy-bust operations,” Madrid said.