PDEA arrests 15 drug suspects in separate anti-illegal drug operations

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 16, 2019   •   1025

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has arrested 15 drug suspects in anti-illegal drug operations in Makati and Quezon City on Tuesday (July 15).

Authorities conducted the operation in Barangay Olympia in Makati City. They seized around 25 grams of suspected shabu and over 100 grams of marijuana estimated to be worth P185,000.

PDEA Regional Special Enforcement Team served a search warrant against group leaders, Almer de Ocampo alias Inday and Ronald Ariola alias Elbi.

Authorities said they have been monitoring the activities of these suspects including their cohorts. A total of 12 individuals were arrested.

Meanwhile, three others were arrested in the anti-illegal drug operation in Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City.

The suspects were identified as Matthew Oliveros (20 years old), Wennalyn Oca (20), John Sobrepena (22).

Authorities seized around one kilo of marijuana with a street value of P120,000.

The 15 suspects will face charges for violating Republic Act no. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.—AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Trust: important element in appointing people in government – Ex-PNoy

Maris Federez   •   November 20, 2019

Former President Benigno Aquino III

MANILA, Philippines – Former President Benigno Aquino III questioned the Duterte administration’s motives in appointing Vice President Leni Robredo to be the country’s anti-drug czar.

Ex-PNoy said he could not comprehend why the vice president was given the big responsibility, such as that of a drug czar, when the administration apparently does not trust her.

He added that the administration shouldn’t have given such an important position to the vice president if there is no trust between her and the appointing power.

In a memorandum signed on October 31, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte designated Robredo as co-chairperson of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) alongside Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) chief Aaron Aquino.

Initially, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the appointment was a Cabinet-level position that gives Robredo oversight function over drug enforcement agencies and offices until the end of her term on June 30, 2022.

In an interview on Monday (Nov. 18), however, the President stated that Robredo’s appointment is not a cabinet-level position. (with details from Asher Cadapan Jr.) /mbmf

PNP agrees with PDEA not to give Robredo list of high-value drug targets

Maris Federez   •   November 18, 2019

PNP Officer-in-Charge PLtGen. Archie Gamboa

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) will conform with whatever decision the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will come up with on furnishing Vice President Leni Robredo a copy of their list of high-value targets, in her capacity as co-chair of the Inter-agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD).

This after PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said that he is ready to present the said list to Robredo but only on closed-door meeting in the presence of personnel with security clearance.

Aquino has earlier refused to have the vice president furnished with the copy as it may compromise their operation, saying “the list is considered classified information that is why not everybody must have a copy of it.”
 
He added that if the list is given to the vice president, they will not have a way of knowing who else might see and learn of its content.

“Sa pinaka simpleng explanation — kapag binigay namin ang listahan kay VP Robredo hindi na namin alam kung sino sino ang magkakaroon ng access sa listahan. That will compromise our negation operations,” Aquino said.

Aquino also cited the “need to know rule” in law enforcement where not everybody is given access to sensitive and classified information.

Meanwhile, PNP Officer-in-Charge PLtGen. Archie Gamboa said Robredo’s request may already be immaterial as the ICAD decides as a collegial body.

“Fine, if you want to review the law enforcement campaign. But would it really matter if you know who are on the list? So yes, I adhere to what PDEA Director General says,” Gamboa said.

The PNP chief once again advised VP Robredo to focus on the advocacy and the rehabilitation aspect of the campaign against illegal drugs.

Gamboa said the vice president must entrust the aspect of law enforcement to the agencies that have full know-how on the matter.

“Why would the VP not take the advocacy and the rehabilitation? Law enforcement and prosecution or on the justice could be best left to those who know it.” (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

ICAD’s Aquino expresses support for Co-Chair Robredo, admits feeling ‘awkward’

Marje Pelayo   •   November 7, 2019

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino (R) and Vice President Leni Robredo (L)

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Inter-Agency Council on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) have signified their support for the agency’s co-chairperson Vice President Leni Robredo.

Dangerous Drugs Board Chair Catalino Cuy said they expect that Robredo will contribute improvements to the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and is confident that the system will be free of any political motives.

“ The war on drugs is black and white. It has no political color. The success of anyone is our success,” Cuy said.

“Iyan ang target natin kaya nga ‘whole of nation’ approach dito. We welcome lahat ng sector, how much more the VP? The more na kailangan din natin ng kanyang view,” he added.

(TRANSLATION: That is our target, that’s why it is a “whole of nation” approach. We welcome all sectors, how much more the VP? We need her views all the more.)

Aside from DDB, other agencies who expressed support for Robredo were the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“Ang partisipasyon ng Vice President ay napakalaking bagay. Dala niya ang kanyang opisina (The Vice President’s participation is a big contribution. She carries with her the) office of the vice president,” said PNP Spokesman PBGen. Bernard Banac.

“Siya mismo ay magiging isa sa mga inspirasyon natin at ang ating kampanya laban sa ilegal na droga ay magiging matagumpay (She herself will be among our inspirations and our campaign against illegal drugs will be a success),” he added.

ICAD is comprised of four clusters – the enforcement cluster, the justice cluster, advocacy cluster, and the rehabilitation and reintegration cluster.

Cuy said they cannot identify exactly what the role of the Vice President will be as the drug czar since they are still waiting for a schedule to meet with her.

But the official said, whichever of the four clusters Robredo wishes to focus on, she definitely has their support.

“The DDB will be willing to give the full assistance and support to the Vice President,” Cuy said.

“We are willing to give briefing for her of the anti-drug strategy being implemented,” he added.

Meanwhile, PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino expressed his full support for Robredo though he admits that it would feel different working with the Vice President.

 “The help of Vice President Robredo is very much appreciated especially in terms of harm and demand reduction efforts. We are ready to assist the Vice President in her new task. After all, the objective is the same — to eliminate the drug problem in our country.” he said.

“While this is a welcome development for the illegal drug campaign, personally I cannot help but feel somehow awkward to have the second-highest elected official of the country as my co-chairman,” he added.

For now, the DDB and PDEA are waiting for a call from Robredo to be able to start the discussion on her roles inside the agency. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

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