‘Shabu’, marijuana amounting to P13.2 billion seized from March 6-19 – DILG
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday reported that “shabu” (crystal meth) and marijuana amounting to at least P13.2 billion were confiscated by law enforcement agents from March 6-19.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said this was the biggest illegal drug haul by the administration in a two-week period.
The DILG said the big portion of the illegal drugs was seized at a police checkpoint in Infanta, Quezon, where authorities blocked three vans loaded with an estimated P11 billion worth of shabu on March 15. The 10 passengers, including the vans’ drivers, were arrested.
The two-week illegal drug haul also included the P1.08-billion shabu which the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) confiscated in Valenzuela City. A Chinese national and a Filipina were arrested during this operation.
All in all, Año said there were 1,794 drug raids from March 6-19, resulting in the surrender of 61 suspects, arrest of 2,471, and death of two.
“Dahil sa mabilis na aksyon at pagpupursigi ng PNP at PDEA, maraming kabataan, pamilya at kinabukasan ang naisalba mula sa perwisyo at salot na dulot ng iligal na droga,” Año said in a statement.
“I urge our drug enforcement agencies to further intensify their operations and target big drug syndicates so we can protect and save our people and our country from the ill effects of illegal drugs,” he added.
Año’s report comes after PDEA’s recent announcement that marijuana is becoming the dominant illegal substance being abused, overtaking crystal meth or shabu.
This also comes just months before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends. One of the campaign promises of Duterte during his 2016 presidential run was to end the illegal drug trade in the country in just six months.
As of December 2021, PDEA said that over 6,215 drug suspects were killed for allegedly fighting it out with operatives.
But human rights groups, which have criticized the bloody “drug war” of the Duterte administration, believed that the number of casualties is way bigger.
The drug war-related killings also led to complaints being filed against Duterte and several other officials before the International Criminal Court (ICC), with petitioners insisting that the brutal anti-drug drive was a crime against humanity.
In September 2021, the ICC pre-trial chamber authorized the start of the investigation on Duterte’s war on drugs acting on the request of former prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Around two months after, however, the ICC granted the Philippine government’s request to stop the investigation claiming that the justice system in the country is fully functional.
To date, three police officers have been convicted in just one drug war case which involved teenager Kian delos Santos, who was not the original target of the anti-drug operation but summarily executed nevertheless in Caloocan City.
The three police officers were found guilty of murder by a Caloocan City court in 2018 after closed-circuit television footage showed delos Santos pleading for his life at a dark corner where the policemen dragged him.