WITH the recent drug bust operation by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-10 (PDEA-10), it has scored more in its fight against the proliferation of illegal drugs.

Rosemarie Bajao, information officer of PDEA-10, said an estimated P836,978 worth of shabu and marijuana plant has been seized by the agency from January to March this year.

The estimated amount came from the reported 119 grams of shabu and two marijuana pieces captured in 26 buy-bust operations in the region for the first three months.

Bajao told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that this is higher compared with last year's first quarter.

The agency has not yet summed up the second quarter operations.

On Tuesday, PDEA agents seized P14-million worth of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu during a controlled delivery operation in Iligan City.

Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac, Jr., Director General of PDEA, said that two suspected drug couriers were also arrested during the operation on June 3 conducted by elements of PDEA-Northern Luzon, in coordination with PDEA-National Capital Region.

However, the worth of the illegal drugs depends on the street value or the price when these were put to sale in the market.

'If we will base the current statistic mas dako ang last year sa first quarter," Bajao said.

In terms of drug-related cases, Bajao is disappointed with how suspected drug dealers were freed due to courts' decisions.

"Kita dakop ng dakop diri, sila buhi pud ng buhi (While we were busy with arrests, they were also letting them go)," she said of the justice system in the region.

Jaime Umpa, regional director of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) in Northern Mindanao, defended the courts handling the said cases. The NPS is the prosecuting arm of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

"Kung mo-file mo kanang lig-on, ayaw nang hinay (They (PDEA) have to make sure that their case is founded before they file)," Umpa said of the evidences provided by PDEA.

Umpa added that cases can be dismissed when the prosecution team lacks sufficient evidences, or the buy-bust operation is not accompanied by DOJ representatives, media, or barangay officials.

In section 21 of the Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive dangerous Drugs Act, the presence of these personnel must be observed in drug raids.

However, Umpa admitted that there can be instances that no representatives are present because of the lack of manpower of NPS and urgency of the operation.