PDEA wants to wiretap drug lords, financers

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) reiterated on Tuesday the need to wiretap suspected drug lords and their financers to drastically cut the supply of illegal drugs in the country.

PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr., in an interview, said "it's difficult" for the agency to pin down big-time drug pushers and those who finance them because "under our law, we can only arrest those who are in the possession of drugs."

Cacdac was present at the Barangay Anti-Drug Summit organized by Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda and City of San Fernando Mayor Edwin Santiago.

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"How can we arrest the big bosses and the financers when they do not really handle the drugs? They only give orders or some of them only finance the making and distribution of drugs," said Cacdac.

He said that Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, and other members of the House of Representatives "already seemed to be amicable to the idea of wiretapping the phones of suspected drug lords."

Cacdac said that the proposed wiretapping will still be controlled by the courts of law and the PDEA will still seek permission from the Court of Appeals (CA) before the agency could listen to the telephone and cellphone conversions of the suspected drug pushers and financers with their cohorts.

He said that anti-drugs agencies in the United States are allowed to wiretap suspects.

"And why can't we imitate the practice considering our form of government is patterned after the democratic country (US)?"

Cacdac said that 98 percent of the total successful operations against drug pushers in the US were aided by wiretapping.

Lower supply

Asked about the general situation of illegal drugs in the country, Cacdac said, "It's manageable."

Cacdac said that the number of drug users drastically decreased based on the latest report of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

He said the DDB reported that there were at least 1.7 million drug users in 2008 and four years later in 2012, the number decreased to at least 1.3 million.

He said the DDB report on the number of illegal drug users is done every four years and the next one will be released in 2016.

Cacdac said that the PDEA seized 112 kilos of shabu in 2012.

In 2013, the agency confiscated 837 kilos of shabu.

"There was an increase of about 630 percent on drugs seizure if you compare the hauls from 2012 to 2013. The more we confiscate, the more we limit the number of drug activities because supply is cut," said Cacdac.

Director Jeoffrey Tacio, head of the PDEA in Central Luzon, said that that about half of those confiscated by the agency came from operations in the region.

In August 2013, the PDEA raided a subdivision in Subic, Zambales resulting to the seizure of 433.2 kilos of shabu. (Joey Pavia/Contributor)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 24, 2014.

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