No more big drug labs in PHL – PDEA

The supply of illegal drugs in the Philippines is primarily coming from abroad as there are no longer huge drug laboratories in the country, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Friday after leading the biggest destruction of confiscated illegal drugs worth PHP13 billion in Trece Martires City, Cavite.

“Actually, we have not monitored any big drug laboratory in the country right now. The drug supply in the country is coming from outside and we are working with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Customs to put a stop to this,” PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva told reporters.

Villanueva added authorities are also addressing the “demand side” of the narcotics problem in the country by clearing barangays of illegal drugs.

“While we are doing it, we provide corresponding action on the demand side kasi parati kong pinipilit kasi, kung walang (because I always insist that if there is no) demand, definitely, di na magpapapasok ‘yan kasi di na siya (they will no longer transport because it is no longer) profitable,” Villanueva said.

Meanwhile, Villanueva said Friday’s destruction was the biggest in terms of volume in the history of PDEA under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Majority of the confiscated drugs to be destroyed were from the different anti-drug operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement units.

From July 1, 2016 to present, a total of PHP41.39 billion worth of illegal drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals have been destroyed under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“I would like extend my gratitude and sincere appreciation to the Philippine National Police, other law enforcement units and different Regional Trial Courts (RTCs) through our RTC Judges and court personnel for the expeditious disposition of these illegal drugs that is no longer needed as evidence in court,” Villanueva said.

The destruction of the dangerous drugs is in compliance with the guidelines set on the custody and disposition of seized dangerous drugs required in Section 21, Article II of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002.

“We want to assure the public that PDEA, as the lead agency in the national anti-drug campaign, adheres to transparency, gives credence to accountability that strictly follow the existing laws and rules, to dispel the public notion that these illicit items are being reused, recycled or sold back in the streets. That scenario will never happen,” Villanueva pointed out.

The destruction of the illegal drugs which was attended by PNP chief Archie Gamboa, Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Catalino Cuy and Supreme Court (SC) Administrator Jose Midas Marquez.

For his part, Gamboa said a big chunk of the shabu which was destroyed was the 827 kilograms and 374 kilograms seized during the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) operation in Marilao, Bulacan and Trece Martires City, respectively.

Among the illegal drugs destroyed through thermal decomposition were 1.93 million grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride, also known as shabu worth PHP13.18 billion, over 77 grams of marijuana worth PHP9.35-million, 9,213 grams of cocaine worth PHP48.83-million and 3,240 grams of ecstasy worth over PHP11-million.

Others included substances such as ephedrine, ketamine, methylephedrine, diazepam, MDA and liquid shabu.

To do away with suspicion that seized illegal drugs are being recycled back to the market by some erring cops, Gamboa had coordinated with Marquez to fast track the process of destruction of seized illegal drugs.

In response, the SC issued a directive reiterating to courts the existing policy on the destruction of confiscated illegal drugs within 72 hours after the filing of the case. PNA.GOV.PH