THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) warned Monday drivers of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) from being used as unwitting conduits for the transport of illegal drugs.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino issued the warning following the arrest of certain Jovet Atillano, alias OJ, 32, who allegedly sold illegal drugs online, during a buy-bust operation conducted by agents of PDEA-Special Enforcement Service (PDEA-SES) in a condominium unit in Mandaluyong City on September 19.
Based on the investigation, he said Atillano has hired the services of TNVS drivers in delivering illegal drugs concealed inside packages right at the doorsteps of his customers.
"Before they know it, the drivers have become unwitting couriers of illegal drugs. We are urging TNVS drivers and operators to exercise due diligence to ensure that they will not be used to transport any contrabands," Aquino said.
Services offered by local TNVS, such as Grab and Uber, are doorstep express deliveries using cars and motorbikes which are covered by insurance and real-time tracking and notification alerts, he noted.
"Drug syndicates have learned to utilize the mobile-based application of transport network companies to deliver their illicit goods. They will register using fictitious names and pre-activated SIM cards to avoid detection in case the delivery went amiss and intercepted by authorities. Unaware, the poor driver will likely suffer the dire consequences," he added.
Aquino said his office is seeking the assistance of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and TNVS to find ways to stop this new trend of drug trafficking. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)