Drug recycling still rampant in PH – PDEA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2019   •   434

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Aaron Aquino admitted on Monday that drug recycling remains rampant in the Philippines amid the government’s ongoing war against illegal drugs.

Aquino made the admission when he faced senators to defend PDEA’s proposed P2.497-billion budget for 2020.

The PDEA chief said unscrupulous agents of the Philippine National Police and other law enforcement agencies are commonly involved in drug recycling.

“Ang usual na nagiging modus when they seized drugs maybe half of that will be surrendered yun ang ipalalabas nila na yun lang ang na seized nila. The other ones are being kept for future operations or the worst of it is they sell the drugs,” Aquino said.

“Pwedeng pang-plant sir or all other kinds of preparations,” he further stated in response to Senator Panfilo Lacson’s question on whether these illegal drugs are also used in planting evidence in anti-drug operations.

Aquino also revealed they are currently pursuing a female drug lord who has been buying confiscated drugs from government agents.

“Mayroon tayong drug queen dito sa Manila na ginagawa lang ay bumibili ng drugs coming from law enforcement agencies… ‘Pag pumunta ka doon… nagbebenta ka kahit 10 to 20 kilo benta mo, no questions asked bibilhin nila kahit magkano presyo,” he said.

He, however, refused to name the said female drug lord.

“I-neutralize muna naming ang drug queen na ito,” he said.

Following Aquino’s revelation, Lacson said the use of body cameras during anti-drug operations should become mandatory to prevent such incidents.

“When you join the operation at hindi nag-function ang body cam, dapat may automatic sanction, medyo puro alibi ang technical problem,” he said.

Aquino also said that high-profile drug convicts inside the national penitentiary are still involved in illegal drug trading.

“Mayroon kaming taped conversation with a drug lord inside the Bucor, by kilo sir, initially sir she is asking if how much is 10 kilos at sabi ng drug lord, he can give it at P1.3 million per kilo,” he said.

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has urged Aquino to present a detailed report and evidence to support his claims.

“Mahirap ‘yung puro lang tayo can door wala tayong leg to stand sa ganung accusation. Sana mayroon kang report para masabi natin sino yang pulis na nagre-recycle para I will call the attention of the chief PNP,” he said.

Meanwhile, PDEA also raised concern over the P22 billion worth of confiscated illegal drugs that are yet to be destroyed as these are still being used as court evidence.

Lacson said they will invite Supreme Court officials to the next hearing on Monday to discuss the matter.

“We will plead with the Supreme Court to put down judges who refuse to abide by the law that within 72 hours kailangan masira na ang mga drugs na na-confiscate,” he said. RRD (with details from Correspondent Grace Casin)

PHL authorities see int’l syndicate link in P5.1-B shabu seized in Bulacan drug bust

Robie de Guzman   •   June 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities are now looking into the profile and possible network of a Chinese national who was arrested during a Thursday buy-bust operation that yielded around P5.1 billion worth of suspected shabu (crystal meth) in Marilao, Bulacan.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said the suspect, identified as Yuwen Cai, could be a “trusted man” of a bigger drug personality or an international syndicate given the volume of illegal drugs confiscated by the authorities.

Elements of the Philippine National Police and PDEA, together with the Bulacan Police, on Thursday afternoon stormed a warehouse along Reley Street in Barangay Lias.

Yuwen Cai, said to be the caretaker of the warehouse, was arrested during the operation, along with Filipinos Angela Miole Tulio and Ma. Lyn Miole Tulio.

Seized from the suspects were boxes containing 808 kilograms of suspected shabu, which police authorities consider as its biggest drug haul to date.

According to PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva, they are now looking into the Chinese man’s connections to an international drug syndicate, and if he is linked to chemist, Samson Tan who was arrested during a recent raid in a kitchen-type shabu laboratory in Biñan, Laguna.

“Chinese ang nandito eh, ibig sabihin, konektado na ito sa international drug trafficking organizations. Titingnan namin sa matrix namin kung konektado, from him siguro ito yung babagsakan, pwedeng from importation, dito lalagpak,” he said.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Archie Gamboa also said they have a link diagram on the illegal drug’s possible source and where it is supposed to be supplied.

“Meron tayong link dito, kung kanino ito probably source, saan siya i-deliver, sino yung pinakamalaking tao. But of course, we do not want to voice it out to the media, as you remember itong drug is continuing operations, pag i-voice mo yung link nila magti-change sila ng negosyo,” Gamboa said.

The suspects are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Lacson backs appointment of Villanueva as PDEA chief

Robie de Guzman   •   May 27, 2020

Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday lauded the appointment of Wilkins Villanueva as the new director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

In a statement, Lacson described Villanueva as a “good and professional officer who is fit for the job,” and noted his “long career in drug enforcement.”

“The President couldn’t have appointed a more qualified head of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, having served our country for nearly 20 years with the Philippine National Police Narcotics Group and with the PDEA,” he said.

Lacson, a former national police chief, expressed confidence that Villanueva can handle his task of going after drug suspects amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis.

“With the challenge of going after drug personalities amid the new normal posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he indeed has his work cut out for him,” he said.

“I look forward to working with him, being the Senate Finance Subcommittee Chair and Sponsor of the PDEA and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) budgets, among others,” he added.

Villanueva will take over the post previously held by Aaron Aquino, who was assigned by President Rodrigo Duterte to lead the Clark International Airport.

Prior to his designation to PDEA’s top post, Villanueva led the PDEA Northern Mindanao.

Wilkins Villanueva is new PDEA Director General

Marje Pelayo   •   May 27, 2020

Wilkins Villanueva

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Wilkins Villanueva as the new director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), replacing the agency’s outgoing chief Aaron Aquino.

Villanueva, who was assigned as PDEA Region 10 director prior to this appointment, served as the agency’s National Capital Region (NCR) chief.

He also served as head of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) intelligence and investigation service.

In his social post, Villanueva expressed his gratitude to the President for trusting him to lead the country’s war on drugs.

“I will never fail you, Mr. President!” he wrote.

He also thanked Senator Bong Go and former PNP Chief Senator Ronald dela Rosa for the encouragement and support. 

Meanwhile, there was no mention of the nature of Aquino’s departure from the agency.

Nonetheless, he thanked President Duterte for the opportunity to serve.

“I sincerely thank President Rodrigo Duterte for his trust and confidence and for giving me the opportunity to serve our people and his administration,” Aquino said.

Duterte appointed Aquino to PDEA in August 2017.

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