Senators cite 'temptation to recycle' seized drugs stored at PDEA

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 29 2020 07:34 PM

Members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) guard a customized cylindrical steel case filled with 500 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) amounting to P3.4 billion on Aug. 7, 2018. ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA— Two senators on Tuesday said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency's (PDEA) failure to destroy tons of illegal drugs still in storage may create a "temptation to recycle" these high-value contraband.

While the PDEA destroyed 2.1 tons of metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) earlier this year, it has yet to get rid of some 355 kilos of illegal drugs, PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva said during his agency's budget hearing in the Senate.

"That's a very valid concern... kasi dito nagsisimula 'yung temptation to recycle (as this is where the temptation to recycle begins) because this involves big amounts of money," Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.

Under the law, the PDEA must secure a court's approval to destroy illegal drugs in less than a day after confiscation to avoid the possible reselling of narcotics.

The delay in the destruction of illegal drugs is due to the failure of some courts to immediately resolve drug-related cases, Villanueva said.

But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon noted that the Supreme Court has "initiated" a memorandum of agreement with PDEA to "facilitate the burning of these illegal drugs."

"The fact of the pendency of the case is not a justification for not implementing the law," Drilon said.

"It is not correct that you are waiting for the order of the court to burn these because there is already an order from the Court Administrator to facilitate this," he said.

Lacson instructed PDEA officials to "secure a copy" of the high court's directive to "expedite" the destruction of dangerous drugs in their inventory.

Among the seized narcotics that PDEA has yet to be destroy are 355 kilos of shabu nabbed from a magnetic lifters in 2018.

Previously, law enforcers themselves had been tagged in selling drugs seized during operations.