Drilon hits PDEA over unaccounted drugs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2011 06:47 PM | Updated as of Sep 08 2011 02:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Franklin Drilon expressed concern over the data presented by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) regarding the number of illegal drugs in its custody.

Drilon required an accurate inventory of confiscated drugs from PDEA, as unaccounted illegal substances could be a source of “recycling.”

“We want to find out the accuracy of the inventory of the seized drugs particularly shabu, cocaine, ecstasy and other dangerous drugs in the possession of PDEA. We want a very accurate count because this is a source of recycling, that's why we required a report,” Drilon said on Wednesday, after the Senate Finance Committee deliberated on the proposed P679 million budget of PDEA.

Drilon, chairman of the committee, cited the cocaine-dumping incident in Samar in 2009, where 2,000 kilograms of cocaine bricks were believed to be dumped by a Chinese vessel headed to Guangzhou, China.

The ship’s crew allegedly disposed of the drugs after being warned of an anti-drugs operation against them.

However, only 571.73 kilos were recovered by authorities.

“What happened to the 1,428.27 kilos? It would appear that no extra effort was being undertaken in order to recover this high-grade cocaine and it would appear that our authorities are at a loss as to where the balance is,” said Drilon.

Drilon added that Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was not being fully enforced because a large number of illegal drugs are still in custody of PDEA.

Under Section 21 of the law, PDEA must dispose of seized drugs within 24 hours, after the court conducts an ocular inspection of the confiscated drugs.

“The danger of recycling is always there. I am very disappointed that while the law is being detailed, it is not being enforced,” he said.

According to PDEA’s data, 275,828.888 grams of crystallized shabu and 96,242.8 milligrams of liquid shabu were in the custody of PDEA, but only 8,953.55 grams of shabu have been destroyed as of July 22, 2011.

PDEA also has a total of 13,338.003 grams of cocaine and 1,169.485 grams of ecstasy in custody.

Meanwhile, PDEA's chief legal counsel Alvaro Lazaro said the agency cannot immediately dispose of the seized substances due to pending issuance of court orders.