For as long as there are users and buyers, there will always be a steady supply of illegal drugs in the country even with government’s strong efforts to go after drug dealers.
The admission came from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7), following the arrest of yet again, another big-time suspected drug supplier, with still millions’ worth of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) to sell.
“Considering the quantity of shabu we got from him, he should be a high-level drug supplier,” PDEA-7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz said in a press conference on Thursday, referring to the P6 million worth of shabu confiscated from a suspected drug supplier in Barangay Agus, Lapu-Lapu City at past 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Asked why kilos of shabu are still sold in the market despite the government’s relentless campaign against illegal drugs, Ruiz said: “The supply is there.”
“As long as there are buyers, there will always be supplies,” he said.
Ruiz called on local government units to implement programs to help rehabilitate drug dependents.
“There should be activities to divert the attention of drug users so they would no longer give into their cravings. If we do this, there will be no drug peddlers because who will sell if there are no buyers?” he said.
PDEA-7 agents earlier arrested 56-year-old Rogelio Romo, a resident of Barangay Agus.
Ruiz said they earlier received information regarding Romo’s illegal operations, prompting PDEA-7 agents to conduct surveillance operations in the area for two weeks.
When they validated the report, the agents hatched an entrapment operation that led to Romo’s arrest.
The suspect did not resist. He later refused to give any statement to the media.
Seized from Romo’s possession were one kilo of shabu valued at P6 million, two digital weighing scales, assorted drug paraphernalia, and 170 live ammunition of a 5.56 mm rifle.
The prohibited substance was placed inside a gold-colored tea bag believed to be brought in from China.
Charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, particularly for selling prohibited drugs, will be filed against Romo.
The offense is non-bailable.
“This is a significant seizure. I hope this would lessen the supply of illegal drugs here,” Ruiz said.
PDEA-7 will also conduct an investigation to find out why Romo had several rounds of ammunition in his possession.
Next month, about 400 new agents will help PDEA-7 in conducting operations.
“Hopefully, we can conduct more operations once the new agents start working with us,” said Ruiz while he begged off from revealing the current number of PDEA-7 agents as a matter of security protocol.
While PDEA-7 is ready to take on the drug war, Ruiz admitted it only has enough manpower to handle “high-value targets.”
“Our aim now are just the high-value targets,” he said.
On orders of President Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa disbanded the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) and ordered all policemen to stop conducting anti-drugs operations following the death of Korean businessman Jee Ick-Joo at the hands of rogue policemen inside Camp Crame.
Jee was taken from his home in Angeles, Pampanga last October 18, 2016 by policemen of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group in the guise of a drug operation. It was later revealed that the businessman was killed inside the police headquarters in Camp Crame on the same day he was abducted.
PDEA has always been the lead anti-drug law enforcement agency responsible for preventing, investigating and combating any dangerous drugs in the country since 2002.
But Ruiz said the police provided them with a huge lift in trying to curb illegal drugs.