PHILIPPINE National Police chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar sought the immediate destruction of more than P1 billion worth of shabu seized by PNP and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency agents in separate buy-busts in Cavite and Parañaque City last Saturday.
The top cop ordered PNP Drug Enforcement Group director Brigadier Gen. Remus B. Medina to fully coordinate with the PDEA headed by Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva in seeking court approval for the immediate destruction of the huge volume of shabu.
The two separate drug operations which resulted in the arrest of two big-time Chinese drug traffickers on record became the biggest drug haul of the PNP and the PDEA in a single day operation this year.
“We will be coordinating with the PDEA in convincing the courts that will handle the cases that we filed in connection with these two operations to destroy these confiscated illegal drugs in the soonest possible time,” said Gen. Eleazar.
“Ito naman ay naayon sa kautusan ng ating Pangulo na dapat ay sirain na kaagad ang mga nakukumpiskang ililgal na droga sa loob ng isang linggo after the operation. At dapat lang namang gawin ito upang maalis na ang mga pagdudada tungkol sa nakukumpiskang iligal na droga,” he added.
The PDEA-PNP operations last Sunday resulted in the confiscation of 155 kilograms of shabu worth P1.054 billion and the arrest of two Chinese nationals identified as Zhuzun Chen and Man Kuok Wong.
Chen was arrested in a sting n Baclaran, Parañaque City while Wong was nabbed along the Aguinaldo Highway in Imus, Cavite. Aside from the large volume of illegal drugs which were placed inside tea packages, cellular phones and vehicles were seized from the two suspects.
The seized 155 kilograms of shabu are currently under the custody of the PDEA. On the other hand, in the cases of police operations, confiscated illegal drugs are placed under the custody of the PNP-Crime Laboratory.
Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, states that ‘after the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within 72 hours, conduct an ocular inspection” of the confiscated, seized illegal drugs or precursor chemicals and ‘through the PDEA shall within 24 hours thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same’, provided, that a representative sample, duly weighed and recorded is retained.
But since the law was passed, the provision of the law was not properly observed during the previous administration since it usually took months and even years before confiscated drugs were destroyed, thus triggering speculations of drug ‘recycling’ in the past.
Gen. Eleazar said they want to take advantage of the Supreme Court circular issued in July last year that reminds all Regional Trial Courts to “strictly comply” with the requirements of Section 21 (4) of Republic Act 9165 on the immediate destruction of illegal drugs confiscated during police operations.
The same Supreme Court Circular also advised lower Courts to prioritize issuance of destruction orders of seized drugs amounting to five kilograms or more: “In cases where the illegal drugs seized are physically brought to the court, the court shall issue the order of destruction thereof within 24 hours therefrom.”
The PNP chief commended the police teams of the National Capital Region Police Office who worked closely with the PDEA and other police units for the successful anti-illegal drug operations.
“When there’s close coordination among law enforcement units, an operation becomes highly successful and effective. Kung magpapatuloy ang ganitong mga operasyon, nasisiguro kong mas mapapadali ang pagsawata natin sa iligal na droga,” he said.
“This latest seizure of illegal drugs only shows that the PNP and the PDEA remain relentless and on track in the war on drugs,” Gen. Eleazar said.