Thursday, September 08, 2011
MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 8, 2011) - Filipino Senator Franklin Drilon expressed alarm over the apparent inaccurate data being presented by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency regarding illegal drugs, warning that any unaccounted illegal substances could lead to “recycling” and be readily available to the public.
“We want to find out the accuracy of the inventory of the seized drugs particularly shabu, cocaine, extasy and other dangerous drugs in the possession of PDEA. We want a very accurate count because this is a source of recycling that’s why we required a report,” Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.
Drilon's statement came following the committee's Wednesday deliberation on the proposed P679.777 million budget of PDEA.
He cited the so-called “Samar cocaine,” where a total of 2,000 kilograms of high-grade cocaine bricks were believed to be dumped by a Chinese vessel bound for Guangzhou, China off the waters of Samar in 2009, but only 571.73 kilos were recovered by authorities.
“What happened to the 1,428.27 kilos? It would appear that no extra effort was being undertaken in order to recover this high-grade cocaine and it would appear that our authorities are at a loss as to where the balance is,” he asked.
At the same time, Drilon said Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was not being fully implemented, as the PDEA is still holding on to a sizeable number of illegal drugs.
As of June 30, 2011, 275,828.888 grams of crystallized shabu and 96,242.8 milligrams of liquid shabu are in the custody of PDEA, but only 8,953.55 grams of shabu have been destroyed as of July 22 this year.
It was also revealed during the hearing that the anti-illegal drugs body has a total of 13,338.003 grams of cocaine and 1,169.485 grams of ecstasy in store.
Under Section 21 of the law, within 72 hours after filing of criminal case, the courts shall conduct ocular inspection of the confiscated drugs and the PDEA shall proceed with the disposition of the seized drugs within 24 hours.
But Alvaro Lazaro, PDEA’s chief legal counsel, faulted the courts, saying that the agency cannot dispose of the seized chemicals pending issuance of courts orders that instruct them to destroy the illegal drugs.
“The danger of recycling is always there,” said Drilon. “I am very disappointed that while the law is being detailed, it is not being enforced.”
Drilon said the issue is a “very serious matter,” pointing out that he would take it up during the budget hearing of the judiciary next week.