Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region 7 director Jeffrey Bangsa said more than 50 agents all over the country were dropped from the service after being found positive for drug use.
Bangsa attended the anti-drugs prevention and control summit in Dumaguete City recently, and said PDEA does not allow its agents to use drugs and be like addicts just to penetrate drug syndicates.
He said they monitor reports regularly on confiscated drugs being recycled or resold in the markets since a 0.01 gram and one kilogram of shabu confiscated in buy-bust operations carry the same penalty for an accused found guilty by the drugs court.
He said PDEA is doing its best to identify those engaged in recycling of evidences. “If PDEA and other law enforcement agencies find difficulty in getting evidences against syndicates without law enforcement training, how much more if the culprits are law enforcement officers themselves?” Bangsa asked.
If there are strong indications or suspicions that certain PDEA agents are in cahoots with target personalities of illegal drugs, their transfer and isolation is imminent, he said.
He asked for the help of barangay officials and the community to monitor the presence of drug dens, and report these to law enforcement agencies so immediate action can be taken.
Bangsa said PDEA only has 1,895 personnel all over the country, 892 of them drug enforcement officers, with 33 in Region 7, with 279 technical staff, including lawyers, and 733 administrative staff.
He also confirmed that big-time drug syndicate leaders serving in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa are continuously directing drugs operations, with newly-found associates, who are drug convicts from the provinces.
He said drug syndicates have lawyers, who study measures to avoid the law and one of these is to use minors as their cover.They are continuously exploring new methods of concealment to evade arrest, that is why law enforcement agencies are also upgrading their skills to catch them, Bangsa said.
Unfortunately, PDEA has no control over minors as they are under the Department of Social Welfare and Development, he said.
Meanwhile, barangays Looc, Calindagan and Cadawinonan in Dumaguete Cityare still considered as hot spots in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the city, with Cebu City considered as “the hub” in Region 7.
Achieving a drugs-free Dumaguete is a very ambitious, but nothing is impossible with the collective efforts of all sectors, Bangsa added.*JG
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