He said Duterte's memorandum order was "in response to a clamour from the public to restore to the PNP and other law enforcement agencies the responsibility of providing active support to the PDEA".
"There has been a notable resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes committed", Roque said as he read the order.
However, the PDEA official admitted that they hope to see PNP leading the war against illegal drugs after observing the extensive drug problem and scope of coverage of operations in the province.
"The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) shall remain as the policymaking and strategy formulating body in the planning and formulation of policies and programs on drug prevention and control", Roque added.
After a growing sentiment of opposition pushback against Duterte's anti-drug campaign and facing accusations of police abuse, the president chose to shift his policy and made the announcement on 12 October that the PDEA would be taking the reins from the PNP.
Duterte's drug war has been met with widespread criticisms following the deaths of minors Kian Loyd delos Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz, who were both gunned down by police officers during separate operations in Caloocan City in August.
On October 10, Duterte removed police from this fight amid criticism from rights activists and United Nations officials, who referred to thousands of drug suspects killed during a national anti-drug campaign. "It has been the desire of PDEA that PNP will return in the fight against illegal drugs", PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said.
She added: "We are hopeful that [the PNP] will follow the lead of the [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency], that previous operations in the past months have resulted to more apprehensions rather than alleged cases of extrajudicial killings, and more on big-time suspects rather than small-time suspects". "May the justice of God come upon those responsible for the killings!" the statement said.
However, human rights groups have pegged the number at 13,000.
The October 10 suspension was the second time Duterte removed police from the anti-drug campaign. "And therefore, the NBI, PNP, AFP, BOC, Philpost and other agencies involved in Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force shall resume in providing active support to PDEA", the proclamation further states.
He said the president's restoration of the police in the drugs war may have also been emboldened by the unwillingness of either US President Donald Trump or fellow Asean leaders to publicly challenge the drug war slaughter during the Asean 2017 Summit, which the Philippines hosted in November. Duterte said in a speech, referring to human rights groups, Catholic bishops and priests who had urged an end to the killings.