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Barbers: Informants of successful drug busts being paid with drugs

Informants of the police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency are being paid for successful tips with confiscated drugs that they then sell on the street, House dangerous drugs panel chairperson Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte said Tuesday.

Barbers said this was disclosed by an informant to him during an executive session.

“A substantial amount of illegal drugs hauled, seized and confiscated by the PNP [Philippine National Police] and PDEA are being recycled for the past 20 years. This fact was revealed today by an asset/informant of the two agencies who admitted being given 'basura'—street lingo for shabu—by anti-illegal drug operatives of the two agencies every time they make a bust based on his tips,” Barbers said, adding that the assets are given 30% to as much as 70% of the haul.

"Binibigyan ng shabu o part of the evidence for the assets to sell it to the streets. Kapag naging cash na ito, na-convert na into cash, binabalik na ito sa operatives...Doon siya magkakaroon ng porsiyento," he also said in Tina Panganiban-Perez's report on "24 Oras."

At the House panel hearing, PDEA Director General Virgilio Lazo said that occasionally informants would ask their agents for some of the seized drugs for that purpose, but that they would be turned down. 

"They approached one acquaintance of mine who was also helping me in PDEA...sabi nila, 'Yun, sir, ang kalakaran kahit sa kabila.'...They mentioned the PNP...I want to make it clear that their proposals were rejected outright," he said.

At the same hearing, Police Brigadier General Allan Nobleza replied, "It is not the policy of the PNP to recycle any drugs in any drug operations."

Barbers vowed to pursue criminal charges against those involved in the scheme.

“In due time, if evidence warrants, criminal charges will be filed,” he said.

“We will not stop until we have unmasked all these crooks in uniform who have doomed so many lives to live in luxury,” he added.

Barbers’ revelation was reminiscent of the revelation, during a joint Senate Blue Ribbon and Justice committee inquiry in 2019, that some police officials kept some of the 200 kilos of illegal drugs seized in a drug bust in Pampanga in 2013 to "recycle" them. — BM, GMA Integrated News