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PDEA destroys over P19.9B worth of illegal drugs

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Thursday said it destroyed over P19.9 billion worth of illegal drugs in Cavite, the largest recorded quantity of dangerous drugs burned so far.

The PDEA said it destroyed at least 3.7 tons of illegal drugs amounting to P19,965,441,929.59 on Thursday at the Integrated Waste Management, Inc. (IWMI), Barangay Aguado, Trece Martires City, Cavite.

The drugs were seized from various operations conducted by the PDEA together with counterpart law enforcement and military units, according to the agency.

Among those destroyed were the following:

  • 2,715,151.4251 grams of shabu worth P18,463,029,690.54
  • 306,787.0243 grams of marijuana worth P36,814,442.92
  • 407.7200 grams of cocaine worth P2,160,916.00
  • 340.8424 grams of ecstasy worth P1,353,813.27
  • 15.6000 grams of diazepam worth P604.50
  • 1.0823 grams of nitrazepam worth P23.00 and other confiscated drugs

The PDEA said the pieces of drug evidence were destroyed through thermal decomposition or thermolysis, which involves breaking down chemical compounds with the use of tremendous heat. 

“The destruction of the dangerous drugs is in compliance with the guidelines set on the custody and disposition of seized dangerous drugs under Section 21, Article II of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002,” the agency said in a statement.

Personnel from the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), local officials of Barangay Aguado, Trece Martires City, Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies joined the destruction of dangerous drugs.

On Wednesday, House dangerous drugs panel chairperson Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte said that informants of the police and the PDEA are being paid for successful tips with confiscated drugs that they then sell on the street.

“If you have one kilo apprehended, 30% goes back. Yung asset kasi meron siyang link with the users and the drug lords. So kaya pala paulit-ulit, balik-balik yung droga sa kalsada or yung illegal substance sa kalsada,” he said in JP Soriano’s “24 Oras” report on Thursday.

(If you have one kilo apprehended, 30% goes back. The asset has links with the users and the drug lords. That's why drugs or illegal substances keep showing up on the streets again and again.)

PDEA director general Moro Virgilio Lazo said there were informants who would for a cut of the seized drugs. He, however, said he refused.

Senators then questioned Lazo why he didn't press the informants. Lazo said he is trying to contact these informants again.

“Para tanungin sa kanila kung willing ba nila i-divulge yung mga tinutukoy nila na mag nagbibigay sa kanila ng confiscated drugs as a form of reward,” Lazo said.

(To ask them if they are willing to divulge those who were giving them confiscated drugs as a form of reward.)

The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PACC) expressed support for the investigation.

“Hindi naman masamang magbigay ng reward dun sa mga impormante but hindi drugs and it should be properly documented,” PACC undersecretary Gilberto Cruz said.

(It's not bad to give a reward to informants, but not drugs and it should be properly documented.)

The PDEA said all seized drugs undergo thorough investigation to confirm that these are all illegal drugs.

The illegal drugs are placed in the PDEA Laboratory Evidence room, which has three thick walls, CCTV, and a biometrics panel for anyone entering the room, and only three officials hold three keys to open the main door.

“So hindi pwede na isa lang ang magbubukas, dapat yung tatlo. Tapos three layers yung physical security niya, yung pader naka three layers siya,” PDEA laboratory service director Randy Pedroso said.

(It's not possible for only one to open, it must be three. Then his physical security is three layers, the wall is three layers.)

In 2021, the Supreme Court released guidelines stating that authorities may request the court for the immediate destruction of drugs, even though no criminal charges have been filed against the drug suspects.

Despite the guidelines from the High Court, many illegal drugs were stored in the PDEA’s evidence facilities waiting for the orders before destroying them. —with Richa Noriega/VAL/BM, GMA Inegrated News