HIGH-ranking leaders of the House of Representatives expressed no doubt that the “bloodless” anti-drug operations of President Marcos’ administration will even be more successful as law enforcers launch a reinvigorated campaign, but this time with less casualties.
“The 52 percent significant drop in the number of fatalities, as reported by PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority) is really a welcome development. For several years, we have been the subject of human rights abuses in this part of the world,” Antipolo City 2nd District Rep. Romeo M. Acop, who is the vice chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs led by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, recalled.
The Antipolo congressman, a retired police general who is also a lawyer, was directed by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez to help Barbers and Sta. Rosa City Lone District (Laguna) Rep. Dan Fernandez – chairman of the House Committee on Public Order and Safety – in holding public hearings on drug-related issues.
“We need to craft legislation that would further improve the Philippine National Police’s as well as their other counterparts’ abilities to address effectively – with zero casualty in mind – in going after the drug lords, with the hope of reducing, if not totally eradicating, this menace,” Acop, vice chairman of the Fernandez panel, said.
Acop, a senior administration lawmaker, sits as chairman of the House Committee on Transportation.
PDEA revealed last week that it has recorded a 52 percent decrease in the number of deaths in anti-illegal drugs operations – with only 19 fatalities from July 2022 up to September this year (2023), compared to the 40 death toll for the same period from 2020 to 2021.
Many House members have commended the government’s “bloodless anti-drug campaign,” where anti-narcotic operatives have hauled off a total of about P30 billion worth of shabu since the middle of 2022, when President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. took over Malacañang. “This amount can most definitely finance the elections and victory of drug lords in our political arena,” Barbers remarked.
“It’s a bloodless war. It shows that we can slay the dragon that is the drug menace without lives’ being lost. Violence, if it can be avoided by our law enforcers in the pursuit of suspects, can result to less anger, resentment, desire for vengeance from our people and will likewise negate attention and condemnation from international watchdog groups,” he said.
The amount and sum total confiscated by the government were based on the figures provided by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police’s Drug Enforcement Group.
The 4.4 tons were broken down as follows: 200 kilos of shabu extender in Mabalacat, Pampanga last Aug. 25; 560 kilos from the Subic port that was taken to Mexico, Pampanga last Sept. 24; and the latest, 323 kilos just this October 4 seized in Manila International Container Port in Manila.
Upon Acop’s questioning, NBI Assistant Director Angelito Magno told the Barbers committee during a recent hearing that 200 kilos of drug items in Mabalacat were not shabu but were dimethyl sulfone, a shabu extender, based on laboratory tests they conducted.
Also included in the drug haul were some almost three tons of dried marijuana leaves.
Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. (Pampanga), who, along with Barbers attended the recent burning by PDEA of the confiscated drugs, congratulated authorities for a job well done, as he initiated a House probe to dig deeper into why their district was home to drug operations.
“Our inquiry is in consonance with the bloodless anti-drug campaign of President Marcos which has so far netted a whopping 4.4 tons of shabu worth P30 billion since the Chief Executive started his six-year term on July 1 last year (2022),” he said.
House Deputy Majority Leader Janette Garin of Iloilo also joined her House colleagues.
She expressed support for the successful “bloodless” anti-drug campaign championed by the Marcos administration, noting that for the past 16 months under him, law enforcers confiscated 4.4 tons of shabu,
translating to a street value of at least P30 billion.
“That’s 4,400 kilos of illegal drugs no longer on our streets. This means P30 billion is no longer feeding the coffers of drug peddlers, traffickers, and kingpins. Instead, this money is put to other uses, possibly in more productive endeavors like feeding families and attending to other family needs,” Garin, a doctor and former Health secretary, pointed out.