MANILA - The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agrees with the bill seeking to allow wiretapping to intercept criminal communication on drug-related activities.
In an interview with ANC's Headstart with Karen Davila, PDEA officer-in-charge for public information Glenn Malapad said, to prosecute big-time drug lords, they would have to be caught red-handed or be presented with strong evidence.
"Paano natin makukuha yung ebidensya? Kaya nga po kami umaasang maipasa sa Senado at Kongreso ang pagpapa-amyenda ng anti-wiretapping law," he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has filed a bill that seeks the inclusion of violations of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and five other offenses to the list of offenses wherein law enforcers may tap any device to secretly overhear, intercept, or record private communication to help them catch big-time drug lords.
Malapad admitted, not many big-time drug personalities were among the 64,043 who have already surrendered to the police, but he is hopeful this amendment submitted in Congress can help the authorities crack down on them.
"Sa gayon po, madagdagan kami ng judiciary tools para magkaroon kami ng matibay na ebidensya na ma-pin down ang command and control structure ng sindikato," he said.
Meanwhile, the people who have surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) have to follow the guidelines set by PDEA and PNP, according to Malapad.
After filling up the forms and signing the waivers, they are then ordered to be tested again for drug use. Pushers are also obliged to surrender the drugs in their possession, while users are to undergo rehabilitation.
Their rehabilitation is being coordinated with centers accredited by the Department of Health to ensure free treatment.
PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY
In light of the increasing number of people perishing in the midst of drug operations, Malapad said PDEA presumes regularity and legitimacy of the police operations.
READ: War on drugs: Death toll rising
"Lahat po ng other law enforcement agencies, kailangan ng prior coordination sa PDEA. Meron po kaming system na ipapasok prior sa operations nila para mag-operate sila, authorized silang mag-operate," he said.
If there are questions on their operations, Malapad said they are willing to cooperate with the investigations, including a Senate probe.
"Open po [kami] sa investigation kung sakali mang mag-open si Senator [Leila] De Lima sa investigation para at least, matapos na itong usapin na ito at mailagay sa proper forum at para malaman na rin ng taongbayan kung ano talaga ang nangyayari," he said.
De Lima has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the spate of killings of suspected drug criminals since the start of the Duterte administration.
Malapad clarified, PNP Chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa and PDEA Director-General Isidro Lapeña, both shun vigilantism, and will abide by the law.
"Against po yan sa mga ganyang vigilantism kasi nga, no one is above the law, ika nga. Sa pronouncement nga po ni President Duterte, address the drug problem by all means, pero wag kang mag-a-above the law," he said.
An ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group report found that the body count from May 10 to July 12 had reached 339.
MAP, CHARTS: The Death Toll of the War on Drugs