New Bilibid narcos join drug trade, frustrate PDEA

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 12 2018 02:58 PM

MANILA- Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Aaron Aquino on Friday expressed frustration over "new players" in the illegal drug trade.

This, after a drug bust in a condominium in Mandaluyong City yielded suspects who revealed that suppliers of narcotics are from the New Bilibid Prison. 

"Marami pong new players. Imbes nababawasan, lalong lumalaki," Aquino said.

The PDEA chief noted that Friday's drug bust is the fifth one where arrested suspects claim that illegal drug suppliers are from the national penitentiary.

"And nobody knows who are these people. Hindi namin kilala. Yun nga yung nakakafrustrate. Sabi ko nga kahit magkanda kuba yung mga pulis natin at mga ahente natin sa PDEA para anuhin ang isang barangay, kung tone-tonelada naman yung pumapasok useless eh," Aquino lamented.

(We don't know these suppliers. That's frustrating. As I said, even if policemen and PDEA agents break their backs to clear a village of drugs, if tons more come in then it's useless.)

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File

Asked about a possible solution to the problem, Aquino suggested an overhaul in the system within the national penitentiary.

"Hindi ko alam eh. Ang nakikita ko lang solusyon is wasakin ang buong NBP. Ilipat yan sa isang ideal facility," he said.

(I don't know but the only solution I see is to destroy the whole NBP and transfer it to an indeal facility.)

Aquino's comments come amid the Philippine National Police's looming return to the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

The PDEA chief welcomed the news, admitting that his 3,000-strong agency is having difficulty taking on the problem of drugs on their own.

"Natutuwa ako na bumalik ang PNP kasi admittedly, nahihirapan kami sa barangay wala kaming tao dyan. And its good that they're back to the campaign [against] illegal drugs," he said.

(I am happy that the PNP is back because admittedly, we are having difficulties in villages since we have no personnel there.)

The PDEA was given the lead role in the government's anti-narcotics campaign on orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The directive came amid mounting criticism faced by the PNP over alleged abuses and suspicious killings in the drug war, including controversial teen deaths.