Philippine National Police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during the announcement of the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines January 29, 2017. REUTERS/Ezra Acayan

By Karen Lema and Martin Petty
MANILA When Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte summoned his security chiefs to an urgent meeting one Sunday night last month, his mind was already made up.
His military and law enforcement heads had no idea what was coming: a suspension of the police force’s leading role in his signature campaign, a merciless war on illegal drugs.
There was only one reason for the U-turn, three people who attended the Jan. 29 meeting told Reuters. Duterte was furious that drugs-squad cops had not only kidnapped and murdered a South Korean businessman, they had strangled him to death in the headquarters of the Philippines National Police itself.
“He was straight to the point – ‘I am ordering you to disband your anti-drug units, all units’,” said Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was at the meeting in the presidential palace.
Duterte decided that the much smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) would take …