Lacson hit PDEA, BOC for ‘dishonesty’ in drug seizure ops
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday called out the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) for ‘dishonesty’ in one of its recent drug seizure operations.
He was pertaining to the recent seizure of 146 kilos of crystal meth or “shabu” inside a warehouse in Malabon City. The drugs were concealed inside a shipment of tapioca starch and aluminum pallets.
Lacson pointed out that PDEA and BOC placed the shipment on auction, purportedly to “draw out possible members of the drug syndicates who may be interested in bidding on the drug shipment.”
He stressed that the shipment should not have auctioned the shipment. Instead, it should have been destroyed under the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act or Republic Act No. 10863.
“In this case, prohibited goods, including the shabu contained in 114 bags inside the aluminum pallets with tapioca starch, as provided in Section 1146 of this Act, should be destroyed, and therefore should not have been offered for sale in a public auction,” Lacson said in a privilege speech.
The senator also took issue with authorities’ line of reasoning that it falls under a strategy called “controlled delivery.” He pointed out that the operation went completely different from the nature of “controlled delivery.”
“Controlled delivery, my foot! What we know from experience and knowledge of the procedure in “controlled delivery” is that this investigative technique targets specific consignees under the supervision of authorized project officers basically for the purpose of gathering evidence against the person/s involved in smuggling-related offenses,” Lacson said.
“Did Customs and PDEA officials really expect the owners of this shipment to actually participate in the said public auction knowing fully well that forfeited and seized commodities undergo 100% physical examination prior to disposition?” he added.
Lacson also revealed that it was the winning bidder who reported that drugs were inside the shipment.
Quoting a report from PDEA, Lacson said the shipment “[does] not contain any dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals.”
It was auctioned because the content was said to be “perishable by nature,” he added. “It does not take much to figure out the holes in the plot that some not-so-smart characters in these agencies tried to fabricate but failed miserably.”
“Simply put, this is a case of dishonesty with the intention of misleading the public,” he added. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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