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Bato eyes probe on ‘recycling’ of seized drugs

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Tuesday said he is planning to conduct a Senate hearing following reports that some police personnel were apprehended for allegedly “recycling” confiscated drugs.

During the House dangerous drugs panel’s deliberations last February 21, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Moro Virgilio Lazo revealed that “it happens before the evidence is submitted to our evidence room or to our laboratories.”

“Isang innovation na ginagawa not only of the drug community kung hindi yung drug enforcement community yung binanggit ni Director Lazo doon sa hearing sa House of Representatives wherein hindi na raw nag dole out ng cash reward instead of rewarding cash, ‘in-kind’ na raw binibigay sa mga informant o police o PDEA asset na yun,” Dela Rosa said  during the Senate committee hearing on public order and dangerous drugs.

(Another innovation done not only by the drug community, but also the drug enforcement community, which was mentioned by Director Lazo in the House hearing which he said that cash rewards are no longer doled out, instead of rewarding cash, they are said to be given “in-kind” to those informants or police or PDEA assets.)

“Kung magbigay sila ng impormasyon in exchange for that information hindi na yung cash rewards na to be approved by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) kung hindi immediately hatian na doon on the ground doon sa 30% seized or confiscated contraband yung droga which is very bad, very unacceptable, and nakaka-highblood pag-iisipin mo yun,” he added.

(In exchange for that information, they will immediately divide or give 30% of the seized and confiscated drugs and not the cash rewards that are needed to be approved by the DDB. It is very bad, very unacceptable, and my blood temperature goes high just thinking about it.)

Dela Rosa advised the PNP, PDEA, and DDB to be prepared in answering his questions on the said hearing.

“Kaya I’m conducting another hearing pertaining on that at sana handa kayo (I will conduct another hearing pertaining on it, be prepared) the PNP, PDEA, DDB to answer this seemingly, unscrupulous practice that is being done by our drug operatives that will come in another hearing,” he added.

According to the PNP, five police personnel are already facing charges.

Not to fear ICC probe

Meanwhile, Dela Rosa remained firm on his stand not to fear the resumption of the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s probe into former President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

Dela Rosa, the national police chief at the height of the drug war under the Duterte administration, said the campaign against illegal drugs was pursued for the future of the youth.

“Noong panahon ko nakafocus ako pagdating sa welfare ng pulis isa lang ang requirement ko kay President Duterte noon sabi ko lang, ‘Sir doblehin mo yung sweldo ng pulis para mabawasan yung problema natin’ which is ginawa naman niya talaga yung mga small nitty-gritty hindi ko na masyadong pinapansin dahil nakatutok ako sa war on drugs,” he said.

(During my time as national police chief, I was focused on the welfare of the police. I only had one requirement for President Duterte. I just said, “sir, double the salary of the police to reduce our problem,” which he really did. The small nitty-gritty, I don't care about it anymore. I’m more focused on the war on drugs.)

“Eh tignan mo ngayon na ICC ako dahil sa war on drugs na yan pero hindi naman tayo takot diyan maniwala kayo diyan. Ginawa naman natin ‘yun mga pulis, diba ginawa naman natin ‘yon para sa future ng kabataan na hindi sila magkaproblema sa droga,” he said.

(Look now, I'm currently under ICC investigation due to the war on drugs but we are not afraid of it. We did that, the police, for the future of the youth so that they will not have problems with drugs.)

The former PNP chief said this campaign against illegal drugs was for the welfare of the public, encouraging the police not to be afraid of the ICC probe.

“Hindi naman yun pangsarili natin para naman yun sa kapakanan ng general welfare. Kaya fight tayo, tuloy pa rin ang laban, huwag tayo matakot dyan sa mga investigation ng ICC na yan,” he added.

(It is not for us, it is for the sake of the general welfare. So let us fight, let's not be afraid of those ICC investigation.)

Last January, the ICC authorized the reopening of an inquiry into the Duterte administrations war on drugs.

In 2018, Duterte pulled the Philippines out of the Hague-based tribunal's Rome Statute, with the withdrawal taking effect in 2019 after the ICC began a preliminary probe into the allegations of state-sanctioned killings in his war on drugs.

Officially, 6,181 people were killed in Duterte’s drug war but rights groups say that up to 30,000 may have been killed. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News