With enough funds, PDEA chief sees end to drug scourge in 3 years

Angel Movido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 13 2017 12:51 AM

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Thursday destroyed P10.6 million worth of shabu chemicals and laboratory equipment in Valenzuela City.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said a total of 228 liters of liquid chemicals were destroyed through chemical treatment, while assorted laboratory equipment was smashed. 

These were pieces of evidence confiscated during anti-drug operations that were turned over by drug enforcement agencies and private companies.

Aquino said the agency regularly destroys illegal drugs to disprove any misconception that these drug and non-drug evidence are being recycled or peddled back in the streets.

Aquino meanwhile welcomed President Duterte's order for PDEA to take the helm in the campaign against illegal drugs.

He, however, admitted that the agency still needs all the help it could get from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation due to PDEA's limited manpower and resources. 

Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares said the police will still do their job in providing intelligence reports to PDEA.

Once PDEA requests police assistance in their operations, the PNP Drug Enforcement Group said they are willing to lend their help.

Mijares added that one of the reasons for the President's decision is for the police to focus on investigating on the recent killings under drug operations allegedly involving the PNP.

Aquino said he proposed a P5-billion budget for PDEA in order to purchase high-end equipment for intelligence gathering.

The budget will also include the hiring of additional ‎1,000-1,500 PDEA agents annually. 

If the budget will be granted to the agency, Aquino said he sees an end to the country's drug problem in 2-3 years.

Alleged victims of the administration's war on drugs on Wednesday filed a petition at the Supreme Court to question the legality of the PNP's Project Double Barrel.

Lawyer Chel Diokno, chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group, on Thursday morning said he hopes the PDEA will institute very clear safeguards in anti-drug operations, especially for the lives of the innocent.

Aquino assured the agency will remain transparent to the public and will conduct only legitimate operations.