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Dela Rosa: Drug syndicates coming back with a vengeance

Drug syndicates are back and they have returned with a vengeance, Senator Ronald Dela Rosa said.

In a privilege speech on Monday, Dela Rosa cited the arrest of a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency officer and agents caught with a kilo of shabu in Taguig.

He also raised the case of the member of the Philippine National Police-Drug Enforcement Unit whose arrest led to the confiscation of P6.7 billion worth of shabu in Manila.

Dela Rosa said the policeman was one of the "ninja cops" who was assigned to Mindanao early in the Duterte administration in 2016.

"Ako ngayon ay nagtataka bakit ito naibalik sa Metro Manila at ginawa pang intelligence officer ng PDEG-[Special Operations Unit National Capital Region] at tuluyang lumaki pa ang kanyang papel in the proliferation of illegal drugs," Dela Rosa said.

"Indeed, drug syndicates are back and they are coming back with a vengeance," he added.

GMA News Online is seeking comment from the DILG and the PNP.

"Ninja cops" refer to police officers who are themselves in the illegal drug trade, usually by supposedly "recycling" confiscated drugs to sell back on the street.

Dela Rosa, a former Davao City police director, was then-President Rodrigo Duterte's first PNP chief, appointed on Duterte's first day in office and serving in the position until 2018. He was at the forefront of the administration's war on drugs throughout much of Duterte's term.

Dela Rosa said he admired the programs of the Department of Interior and Local Government and PNP against drugs and crime such as the Buhay ay Ingatan, Droga ay Iwasan, or BIDA campaign.

BIDA is said to be a more holistic program which aims to solve the drug problem by addressing the supply and demand. 

"I admire and support these innovative programs, I know that with their full and proper implementation we will continue to see our country improve its law and order," Dela Rosa said.

"When I see our men and women in uniform, I cannot help but feel proud of what we have achieved in President Duterte's tenure but also look forward to what we can accomplish in the years to come. But while I anticipate, I admit that I also worry, Mr. President," he added.

Dela Rosa claimed that under Duterte, many syndicates were dismantled and many criminals were sent to jail, but that some are trying to make a comeback.

The lawmaker challenged the PNP to protect their colleagues in the force after an ambush that killed two cops in Dau, Pampanga.

Dela Rosa said the Flores drug syndicate was allegedly behind the death of the two policemen.

He said there was no time to be complacent on the part of the police.

"[With] the slightest distraction that we commit, these traitors among our ranks will grab all the opportunities to enrich themselves even though this would entail the destruction of lives, theirs included," Dela Rosa said. —NB/BM, GMA Integrated News