Lapeña tells Customs personnel to keep off seized drugs
All illegal drugs seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) would be handled exclusively by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Customs commissioner Isidro Lapeña said Wednesday.
“To avoid glitch in drug operations, make way and let PDEA stand in front because when it comes to drugs, they know better,” Lapeña said in a statement.
“The apprehending officer must follow the law stated in RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” Lapena added.
This after he issued Memorandum 2017-11-004, which establishes protocols in handling dangerous drugs (DD) and controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs) within the jurisdiction of the bureau.
The memorandum ordered all suspected DD and/or CPECs discovered by way of regular course of work at the BOC be immediately reported to the Customs Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force (CAIDTF) for proper coordination with PDEA.
“All shipments found to contain DD and/or CPECs within the jurisdiction of the BOC and intended for controlled delivery, the PDEA shall be the lead agency,” the memo said.
Lapeña, who led the PDEA before taking charge of the BOC, noted that the PDEA is the lead in law enforcement agency in drug apprehensions.
The BOC has been embroiled in hot water after P6.4-billion illegal drug shipment from China has slipped past through the agency.
Former Customs chief Nicanor Faeldon and other former BOC officials are facing criminal charges over the smuggling, which has been the subject of simultaneous congressional investigations.
A string of complaints have also been lodged against the officials before the Department of Justice.
“Ignorance of the law excuses no one. Let us follow the law and the proper protocol. However, let me also urge our BOC operatives to be always on tight guard so that we can suppress all drug importations right at the port of entry,” Lapeña said. /cbb