Drug trade continues, DOJ exec admits
A senior official of the Department of Justice (DOJ) admitted on Monday that the government had not totally eliminated the illegal drug trade in the Philippines.
“We have not eliminated drug trading in the Philippines,” Justice Undersecretary Antonio T. Kho Jr. said Friday at a press conference.
He noted that even President Rodrigo Duterte “recognized this.”
The campaign against illegal drugs has been a priority of Duterte.
The President has said that drugs were the source of all other crimes in the country. He added that 75 percent of illegal drugs nationwide were traded from within the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).
Members of the police’s elite Special Action Force unit have been deployed to the NBP’s Maximum Security Compound to stop the trade. Senator Leila De Lima and other former officials of BuCor have been charged for allegedly benefitting from the buying and selling of narcotics.
High-profile inmates have been separated from the other inmates and signal jammers have been installed at the penitentiary.
But Aguirre earlier admitted that new leaders had emerged and were trying to revive the drug trade from inside prison. Aguirre’s admission led to the resignation of BuCor chief Benjamin Delos Santos
Kho said drug trading at the national penitentiary had been going on before President Duterte.
“The drug trading in BuCor is a recognized fact. So we are trying to minimize and/or eliminate this up to today,” Kho said.
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran added that “the matter of drug trading is a continuing activity. It is a business and it continues.”
But Kho added that the efforts of government to minimize and eliminate the illegal drugs trade were also continuing.
“This is a continuing effort on the part of the DOJ, NBI and the officers of BuCor… We will continue to courageously implement the mandate of the President,” Kho said.
At the same press conference, Kho and Gierran presented more than 10 kilos of dangerous drugs recovered from an abandoned vehicle in Ermita, Manila, last Friday.
The drugs, according to the NBI-forensic chemistry division, showed positive indication about the presence of dimethoxy methylphenethylanime, an ingredient used in making psychedelic or party drugs.
The NBI also presented to media boxes of contraband surrendered by gang leaders inside the Bilibid. CBB/rga
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