MANILA (UPDATED) — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said it destroyed on Thursday some P19.9 billion worth of illegal drug evidence seized in its operations.
The PDEA said the 3.7-ton narcotics haul was the "largest recorded quantity of dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals." It was destroyed through thermal decomposition at a waste management firm in Cavite, the agency said.
It said some P18.4 billion worth of shabu made up the bulk of the destroyed stockpile. It also included around P36.8 million worth of marijuana, P2.1-million cocaine, and P1.3 million worth of club drug ecstasy.
Representatives of other agencies were present during the destruction of the narcotics, which was "in compliance with the guidelines" under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the PDEA added.
"Today’s event is not just about destroying these drugs; it is also about sending a message of hope and inspiration to those who are trafficked or victims of drug menace," PDEA director general Moro Virgilio Lazo said.
"The destruction of these drugs is a powerful symbol of our commitment to this fight which represents the hard work and dedication of our law enforcement officers."
The destroyed narcotics included 500 kilos of shabu seized from Chinese nationals in Candelaria, Zambales in 2021, and 990 kilos of shabu confiscated from a police intelligence officer last year.
DRUGS AS REWARD?
The agency recently denied accusations that it gave informants a portion of seized illegal drugs as a reward.
"To the best of my knowledge, it has never been a prevailing practice in the PDEA reward system," Lazo told a Senate hearing on Wednesday.
He explained how difficult it would be to carry out the supposed scheme since the seized drugs are heavily-guarded, from the laboratory to the evidence vault.
"Guarded, every room, everywhere may CCTV. Sa loob ng lab may CCTV din... Papasok na yan sa vault, sa evidence room, yung evidence room may 3 padlock at biometrics," he said.
(Every room is guarded, there are CCTVs everywhere. There is also a CCTV in the lab. The evidence room has 3 padlocks and biometrics.)
The International Criminal Court is looking into the deaths of thousands of drug suspects in the previous Duterte administration's anti-narcotics crackdown.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has vowed to continue the drug war but with a focus on prevention and rehabilitation.
— With a report from Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News