New police chief to focus on drug trade high-value targets

THE NEW police chief, Lt. Gen. Camilo P. Cascolan, will be focusing on the capture and filing of charges against big-time drug dealers. “We will see to it that we will build up cases most especially against high-value individuals,” he said in an interview over Teleradyo on Wednesday, his first day as head of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Mr. Cascolan also acknowledged that street pushers and users, who have been the main casualties in the government’s controversial anti-drug campaign, should not be killed and instead be tapped as leads to the drug trade’s main players. He is one of the authors of Oplan Double Barrel, which became the PNP’s flagship program in the anti-drugs campaign. Previously designated as the PNP’s deputy chief for administration, Mr. Cascolan is due to leave the service on Nov. 10 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56. With just two months at the top post, he said he still aims to institute lasting changes with the ongoing “cleansing” program for the 209,000-strong police force. — Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR and Gillian M. Cortez

Ban on transfer of inmates to jails extended

THE SUSPENSION on the transfer of inmates to jails has been extended to September 30, the Office of the Court Administrator announced Wednesday. In a circular, Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez ordered the continued ban on the issuance of commitment orders of inmates to prison units of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor). The court administrator cited the different levels of community quarantine imposed around the country. The suspension on moving inmates to BJMP and BuCor units was first implemented in July to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, especially with most facilities operating at congested levels. The first circular was prompted by a request from Interior Secretary Eduardo M. Año and BuCor Director General Gerald Q. Bantag. President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Monday placed Metro Manila, the provinces of Bulacan and Batangas, and the cities of Tacloban and Bacolod under general community quarantine (GCQ) until September 30. The rest of the country is under the more relaxed modified GCQ except for Iligan City, which is under a stricter lockdown. The Supreme Court earlier issued guidelines addressing congestion in jails to prevent coronavirus outbreaks, including the release of indigent inmates through reduced bail or own recognizance. The court also allowed hearings through video teleconferencing while judges have been directed to release inmates who have served the minimum penalty of their sentence and those who have no witnesses for their cases. The Justice department also approved the rules that eased the requirements for the grant of parole and executive clemency to prisoners. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas