Informant tells House panel: 30%-70% of seized ‘shabu’ return to streets
MANILA, Philippines — Around 30 percent to 70 percent of “shabu” or crystal meth that authorities had seized during anti-drug operations go back to the streets, an informant told the House committee on dangerous drugs according to Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers.
Barbers, who chairs the panel, said in a statement Tuesday that the testimony of an asset of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) confirms their fears that more drugs are being recycled than inventoried by law enforcers.
“The testimony of the asset confirmed what we have heard all this time. The illegal practice of giving substantial portions of the drugs seized now has a face. In due time, if the evidence warrants, criminal charges will be filed,” the lawmaker said.
“We will not stop until we have unmasked all these crooks in uniform who have doomed so many lives to live in luxury,” he added.
READ: Recycling illegal drugs
In the hearing, legislators urged law enforcement agencies — particularly PDEA and PNP — to clarify with the Supreme Court how illegal drugs should be destroyed after discovering that thousands of kilograms of illegal substances are still under the custody or safekeeping of respective agencies.
According to Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, after a criminal case is filed against drug suspects, the court shall conduct an ocular search within 72 hours. Subsequently, the operating agency should destroy or burn dangerous drugs and equipment within 24 hours.
But during the hearing of the House committee on dangerous drugs, it was revealed that 7,160.79 kilograms of shabu are still in the storage of PDEA while 1,500 kilograms of shabu and 2,000 kilograms of marijuana remain under the depository of the PNP.
Upon hearing this, Antipolo City 2nd District Rep. Romeo Acop questioned why law enforcement agencies have thousands of illegal drugs under their care.
“Matanong ko nga kayo, ba’t nasa inyong custody ‘yang malaking amount ng illegal drugs sa inyong inventory?” Acop asked.
(If I may ask, why is a massive amount of illegal drugs still within your custody and inventory?)
READ: PDEA agents’ arrest prompts probe of drug ‘recycling’
In response, the PNP said it still awaits court orders to destroy the illegal drugs.
“Kaya po naiipon sa PNP Forensics Group ang lahat ng ebidensya dahil hindi po basta-basta pwedeng sirain ng PNP po ‘yun, kailangan po ng court order. And in this case, hindi naman po pwede namin madaliin ‘yang korte kasi may sariling pong schedule ang judiciary po.” Police Brig. Gen. Narciso Domingo said.
(Drugs are accumulating at the PNP Forensics Group because the PNP cannot destroy them immediately. We need a court order. And in this case, we can’t ask courts to hasten because they have the judiciary has its own schedule.)
PDEA echoed the sentiments of the PNP and disclosed other factors affecting the destruction of confiscated dangerous drugs in their inventory.
According to PDEA Director General Moro Lazo, drug destruction facilities need to go through several regulations and safety measures – like in the case of their Quezon City office, the designated destruction facility is still in Cavite, which means that monetary assets and safety precautions are needed. — With reports from MJ Soriano, trainee
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