PDEA warns public anew over fake agents, says arrests made with court orders | Inquirer News
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PDEA warns public anew over fake agents, says arrests made with court orders

/ 12:01 AM February 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has reminded the public to be vigilant over individuals pretending to be anti-narcotics agents, saying that there are ways to discern legitimate operators from fake ones.

To start, PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva said in a statement on Friday that real PDEA agents are always armed with search warrants or arrest orders from the court when it conducts operations.

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Aside from that, operations are coordinated with local officials like local governments and police offices.

“Our operations are always coordinated with the local police and the conduct of search operations are always armed with search warrants issued by court,” Villanueva said, after a suspected kidnapper and his accomplice who were killed in a police operation were found to be fake PDEA agents.

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“I encourage the public to be vigilant and report to PDEA any similar incidents involving suspicious individuals masquerading as PDEA agents,” he added.

According to Villanueva, the suspects who were killed in a shootout with police in Botolan town of Zambales were involved in kidnap-for-ransom activities.  They were traced as acquaintances of another fake PDEA agent who was caught doing an illegitimate operation in Taguig’s Barangay Ususan.

“The slain suspects reportedly belonged to the same group of men and women who wore PDEA uniforms rushing to arrest a man in Ususan, Taguig last February 4, 2018. The incident was caught in CCTV footage,” Villanueva noted.

Last February 2018, a group of men were apprehended after they identified themselves as PDEA agents but sped off when they were asked for identification cards.  The group, riding in two vehicles, managed to avoid arrest after leaving one car behind and other pieces of evidence like money, illegal drugs, and guns.

However, some of them were arrested in subsequent operations.  As a result, both PDEA and the Philippine National Police (PNP) issued warnings back then to be wary of people pretending to be PDEA agents.

PNP said in a March 2018 report that the group launched ‘operations’ wearing dark green uniforms similar to what PDEA uses.  The group’s tactic was to arrest people and accuse them of being involved in the drug trade, while trying to extort money from them in exchange for their freedom.

Villanueva warned fake PDEA agents as well, saying that the mere unauthorized wearing of PDEA uniforms is already punishable under the Revised Penal Code.  He also urged people victimized by these scheme to seek help from PDEA itself.

“Maari po kayong magsumbong sa pamamagitan ng ‘Isumbong Mo Kay Wilkins!’ facebook page o di kaya pwede po kayong tumawag o mag-text sa aming mga hotline numbers 09953547020 at 09310278212,” Villanueva said.

JE

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TAGS: anti-narcotics agents, arrest orders, Botolan, Director General Wilkins Villanueva, fake agents, PDEA, PDEA agents, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Phil‎ippine National Police, Philippine news updates, PNP‎, search warrants, Zambales
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