Local execs note why QC drug use up but arrests down
MANILA, Philippines—Saying that drug use was up while arrests were down due to the deactivation of anti-drug operatives based at police stations, several barangay (village) officials have urged the Quezon City government to revive the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs (SAID) units.
“Barangay officials have lost [their] partner-policemen at the grassroots level,” a barangay chair told Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte at the sidelines of the death anniversary tribute to Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. in Quezon City on Thursday.
“Young people are using marijuana and ‘shabu’ but police stations are not conducting raids because they don’t have a SAID,” the barangay official added.
The Office of the Vice Mayor oversees the city’s Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council.
Belmonte said that Chief Supt. Richard Albano, director of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), suspended the SAID five months ago after he discovered that it had become a source of corruption at the station level. Since then, the campaign against illegal drugs has been centralized under the QCPD’s District Anti-Illegal Drugs (DAID) unit.
“Even if you [provide] information to [DAID policemen], there are only a few of them so they cannot respond to the problem at the barangay level,” another barangay official told the vice mayor.
Belmonte, meanwhile, said that she also believed that the SAID units should not have been suspended. “We should instead replace the erring policemen with people who have integrity and are strongly against illegal drugs,” she added.
Sought for comment, Albano said that policemen could still arrest drug suspects as long as there was proper coordination with barangay officials. He added that he suspended SAID units after he discovered that some arresting officers were being paid off by drug suspects.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.