MANILA - Drug smugglers should face the death penalty, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said Monday, following the seizure of some P1.8 billion worth of high-grade shabu in the capital.
The 276-kilo drug haul wrapped in tea packaging came from Vietnam and was found Friday inside a 40-foot container at the Manila International Container Port.
No one was arrested over the drug shipment, for which the Golden Triangle drug syndicate is suspected to be responsible, said PDEA Director Aaron Aquino.
"Sana ma-restore back iyung death penalty natin kasi kung hindi, tingnan mo naman, when we Filipinos commit drug violations sa ibang bansa, there's so much harsh law. Patay kung patay ang Pinoy sa labas," he told radio DZMM.
(We hope that death penalty would be restored because look at the situation, when we Filipinos commit drug violations in other countries, there's so much harsh law. Filipinos are killed.)
"Pero sa atin, anong nangyayari? Meron lang life imprisonment," he added.
(But when drug smugglers are caught here, what happens? There's just life imprisonment.)
Convicted drug smugglers, he said, often continue their illegal activities even from behind bars, where they forge connections with other detainees and expand their business.
The Golden Triangle syndicate allegedly responsible for the drug shipment operates across Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe and the US, said Aquino.
The tea packaging in the latest drug haul is similar to the wrappers used for some P1.1 billion worth of drugs earlier seized in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa, he said.
Four Chinese nationals were arrested in the Alabang operation, said the official.
"Karamihan ng gumagawa ng droga -- kundi man karamihan, halos lahat na siguro -- ay puro mga banyaga... tulad ng mga Chinese. Sila naman talaga ang nagfa-facilitate ng mga drug laboratories. Wala ka namang makitang Pinoy na nagma-manage," he added.
(Majority of drug manufacturers -- if not most, then almost all -- are foreign nationals like the Chinese. They are the ones facilitating drug laboratories, you wouldn't see Filipinos managing these.)
PDEA will meet with Customs officials about the identity of the latest drug haul's consignee later Monday, said Aquino.
He said he has also urged the Customs bureau to install new x-ray equipment to thwart drug smuggling at sea and airports.