A MUCH stronger ‘intelligence-driven’ partnership between the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) under President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s administration will help win the country’s new tact versus illegal drug trafficking and abuse as well as rogues in uniform, officials assured yesterday.
PNP chief, General Rodolfo S. Azurin Jr. and PDEA chair, Director General Moro Virgilio M. Lazo have also affirmed their much stronger efforts to arrest illegal drug trade in the country and at the same time go after misfits and scalawags in uniform, regardless of their rank and stature.
The two officials have time and time again underscored the importance of cooperation among all law enforcement agencies to ensure the successful implementation of the national anti-drug campaign, this time anchored well on having an efficient drug supply and drug demand reduction program.
The two organizations also agreed to strengthen their collaborative efforts in order to deal decisive and crippling blows to organized local and international drug syndicates, including going after scalawags in drug law enforcement.
Director General Lazo said that as a testimony to the strong partnership between PDEA and the PNP, a buy-bust operation conducted by the police force inside the PDEA Southern District Office along A. Bonifacio Street in Barangay Upper Bicutan, Taguig City led to the arrest of three PDEA men and their civilian companion last week.
“The operation was properly coordinated with PDEA, an indispensable requirement before drug law enforcement units can carry-out anti-drug operations,” said Lazo, a member of Philippine Military Academy ‘Maharlika’ Class of 1984.
According to the official, the “PDEA-PNP alliance stands in solid ground and remains committed as ever.” “All those years built on trust and confidence continue to bear fruit,” he added.
Last December 5, the chief of the PDEA Southern District Office and two of his men were arrested by agents of the National Capital Region Police.
Confiscated during the sting at the PDEA South District Office were more than P9 million worth of shabu, NCRPO director, Brigadier General Jonnel C. Estomo said.
According to the NCRPO chief, members of the NCRPO Regional Drug Enforcement Unit were behind the operation which led to the arrest of PDEA Southern District Office chief Enrique Lucero, PDEA Agents Anthony Vic Alabastro and Jaireh Llaguno and their civilian companion identified as Mark Warren Mallo.
Recovered during the sting were three small knot-tied plastic sachets containing around 100 grams of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ worth P680,000; a big self-sealing plastic containing around 1..250 kilos of shabu valued at P8.5 million, the P100,000 worth of boodle money topped by a marked P1,000 bill, a digital weighing scale and an unlicensed firearm.
Brig. Gen. Estomo said members of the NCRPO-RDEU and their Regional Intelligence Division under Colonel Romano V. Cardiño conducted the buy-bust operation following weeks of surveillance.
“PDEA is doing an internal investigation to get to the bottom of the case and determine the ones culpable,” Lazo said in the aftermath of the arrest of the three PDEA personnel.
He added that he has also ordered the shoring up of their internal counter-intelligence efforts to preserve the Agency’s integrity and moral ascendancy to serve the public.
Operatives from the PNP Drug Enforcement Group, the Southern Police District, the Taguig City Police Station and the 35th Special Action Company of the PNP Special Action Force provided full support to the NCRPO agents.
The suspects are facing non-bailable charges for sale and possession of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Following the arrest of the three PDEA men, Director General Moro Virgilio M. Lazo underscored their strict internal cleansing program and assured that the three PDEA men will face the full force of the law.
“There is no room for any irregularities in our agency. Very sad but we will continue to do our mandate no matter who they are,” the PDEA chief told the Journal Group.
Director General Lazo, a retired police general clarified that the long firearms seized from the accused were PDEA-issued guns except for a pistol with a defaced serial number.
A separate case for violation of RA 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 will also be filed against the PDEA member who yielded the weapon.
Prior to the arrest of the three PDEA men, Gen .Azurin had underscored the strong partnership between the PNP and the PDEA which he said has resulted in the arrest of over 13,000 offenders, 1,531 of them considered as ‘high-value targets’ since the start of the administration of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong R. Marcos Jr.
According to the top cop, their stepped-up campaign against illegal drugs netted the 1,531 ‘HVTs during the first 100 days of the Marcos administration alone.
Since President. Marcos Jr. took over the presidency in July 2022, the Department of Interior and Local Government had said that a total of 22,646 drug personalities have been arrested in 18,505 anti-illegal drug operations conducted by the PNP nationwide.
Those operations also led in the confiscation of some P9.7 billion worth of shabu and other illegal drugs.
“This notable breakthrough is a result of consistent and smooth coordination between the PNP and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) drug enforcement units for the past three months wherein 12,321 anti-illegal drug operations were conducted nationwide,” Gen. Azurin said as he vowed to forge a more stronger relationship with the PDEA.