Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency director Aaron Aquino said Monday a Manila-based drug queen has been buying seized and recycled illegal drugs from corrupt law enforcers.
“This would be the first time that I will disclose this [information]... that there is a drug queen in Manila buying drugs from law enforcement agencies,” Aquino told the Senate finance subcommittee hearing for PDEA’s 2020 budget.
When asked by Senators Franklin Drilon and Ronaldo dela Rosa to identify the big-time female drug trader to substantiate his claim, Aquino declined so as not to preempt their operation to go after her.
“We will conduct the operation first. We have to neutralize her first,” he told the Senate.
As early as 2018, the PDEA had begun its operation to arrest the drug queen but she managed to evade the law when information reached her ahead of time, Aquino said.
Based on his sources, Aquino said, corrupt anti-narcotics agents would sell confiscated illegal drugs or even plant these as a piece of evidence in fabricated operations.
“There are still reports [of recycling of illegal drugs]. It’s still rampant, especially among operatives down [the line],” Aquino told the Senate budget hearing.
“Usually, the modus is that maybe half of that [confiscated drugs] will be surrendered. The other half will be kept either for future operations [or to be sold].”
At least P22 billion worth of confiscated illegal drugs, of which P20 billion are shabu, have been recorded in the government’s inventory.
In the same hearing, Drug Board Chairman Catalino Cuy said the recycling of illegal drugs was happening because some policemen do not include in their inventory confiscated drugs.
Meanwhile, Aquino also revealed that drug convicts were continuing their drug operations at the New Bilibid Prison.
In fact, they had recorded a conversation on the purchase of 10 kilos of shabu between an NBP inmate and a buyer. He said they had been doing the recording when PPEA still maintained an office at the Bureau of Corrections, so they insisted on its return inside the national penitentiary.
He further said the drug transactions were also happening at the provincial and city jails so these illicit operations must be closely watched.
As this developed, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war against illegal drugs was “failing” based on the admission of PDEA on the recycling of illegal drugs.
He raised his alarm and disappointment over the admission of Aquino that the recycling of illegal drugs was still rampant despite the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs that have killed thousands of suspected drug users and pushers.
“I am disgusted and dismayed by the report of the PDEA that the recycling of shabu is rampant,” Drilon said.
“This is worrisome. This is a decades-old case of bantay-salakay, wherein the people who are given the task of enforcing the law insofar as drug trafficking is concerned are the ones who lead the anomalous practice,” Drilon said.
“Given that admission, I am not very optimistic about the success of the anti-drug campaign in general.”
Drilon praised Aquino for his candor, saying this was needed so there would be a bi-partisan approach to solve the problem.
“We have to put an end to this horrible practice in order to win the campaign against illegal drugs," he said. With Macon Ramos-Araneta