Tons and tons of illegal drugs are being seized, but not destroyed. Recycled? Gordon asks

September 25, 2017 - 7:57 PM
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Senator Richard Gordon talks to Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV in an earlier hearing on corruption at the Bureau of Customs. (Senate PRIB file)

MANILA – Senator Richard Gordon on Monday raised his suspicion on the existence of a “fifth column” in the judiciary or in law enforcement agencies “recycling” shabu, given the slow pace of the destruction by authorities of illegal drugs seized in government operations.

“Ang nasunog lamang ng Integrated [accredited government contractor] 4,319 (kilos). My goodness. Ang dami-daming drugs na pumasok. Ibig sabihin nire-recyle [Integrated (IWMI) only destroyed 4,319 (kilos). My goodness. Large shipments of illegal drugs have entered the country. That means it is being recycled],” Gordon said at the continuation of Senate hearings on the P6.4 billion worth of shabu that sailed through the green lane of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

“There is a fifth column either of judges, of policemen, PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), NBI (National Bureau of Investigation). I don’t know. It would be unfair for me to say that. But the records do not lie,” he added.

At Monday’s hearing, Gordon cited data showing that the company accredited by the PDEA to destroy illegal drugs, Integrated Waste Management Inc. (IWMI), only managed to burn a total of 4,319 kilos of shabu from 2012 to 2017.

This amount is too little given the reported large shipments containing shabu that had entered the country, according to Gordon.

Meanwhile, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino disclosed that a total of 1,871 kilos of shabu are still awaiting Court approval for destruction.

Under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002, the confiscated illegal drugs should be turned over to PDEA within 24 hours of seizure.

After a criminal case has been filed, the courts are required to conduct an ocular inspection on the confiscated illegal drug within 72 hours. The PDEA , within 24 hours thereafter, should destroy or burn the seized illegal drugs.

However, this provision of the law had not been strictly followed, both the NBI and PDEA admitted during previous hearings.

In the case of the 604 kilos of shabu confiscated by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in Valenzuela City last May, past hearings revealed that 502 kilos of shabu were still in NBI custody while the rest remains at the PDEA.

Gordon said Filipinos suspect the hand of some government men in recycling shabu because of the dismal record in disposing of confiscated illegal drugs.

“Pagsususpetsahan ng bayan na ang gobyerno ng bayan, lalo na ang PDEA, lalo na ang husgado, lalo na ang NBI, lalo na ang lahat ng kapulisan na mukhang marami pa ring drugs [Filipinos may grow suspicious of the government – especially PDEA, the Courts, the NBI, and the policemem, because it seems that illegal drugs are still plentiful] ,” he said.

He then advised Aquino to monitor suspicious activities within the agency to stamp out illegal drugs.

“Bantayan niyo ang nahuhuli ninyo. Ilan na ang nasusunog baka nire-recycle. Unfair naman sa inyo, unfair sa pulis, unfair sa PDEA, kung hindi nasusunog yon at nire-recycle,” he said.

[Monitor how much of the drugs you seized were burned because it might be recycled. It is unfair to you, the police and the PDEA if it is recycled and not burned.]

Gordon said he is against capital punishment, but in this case, he’d like to say that those behind drug recycling “should be shot a thousand times.”