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By Karen Lema MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine police commanders met on Tuesday to evaluate the country's war on drugs, the president's spokesman said, thrashing out what law enforcement sources have described as a shift in strategy to increase arrests and cut down on bloodshed. Spokesman Ernesto Abella said a "command conference" was being held to evaluate "Project Double Barrel", as the narcotics crackdown is called, to assess whether there was a need to make adjustments to what he described as a successful campaign. Two sources with knowledge of the matter said under the plan, dubbed Project Double Barrel Alpha, more resources would go into arresting prominent people tied to the drugs trade, such as police, politicians and celebrities.
Thailand's military government has requested the extradition of several people suspected of insulting the monarchy after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the foreign minister said on Tuesday. It has also led to the rise of ultra-royalist vigilante groups who say they will punish anyone perceived to have insulted the monarchy during a highly sensitive time for Thailand. Known by the French term lese majeste, the crime can carry a jail term of up to 15 years for each offense.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit out at the United States on Tuesday, saying he did not start a fight with Washington and it could forget about a military agreement between both countries if he were to be in power longer. Duterte said he was against the presence of any foreign troops in his country and the United States could "forget" an Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the Philippines, if he stayed longer, without elaborating. The United States, he said, should not treat the Philippines "like a dog with a leash", adding to confusion about the future the longtime allies' ties.