House to probe `basura’ hand-off between PDEA and assets

The House of Representatives has launched a motu proprio into the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s alleged scheme of giving its police assets a portion of illegal drugs seized as a “reward” for their successful operations.

The congressional investigation was prompted by PDEA director general Moro Virgilio Lazo’s revelation during the House committee on drugs dangerous hearing last week on proposed bills to strengthen the 2002 Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Surigao del  Norte Rep. Ace Barbers, the panel’s chairman, egged on Lazo to name names and expose inside stories in the agency, with an assurance of the House’s support and protection.

“This reported scheme by former as well as current PDEA officials and operatives is worse than the drug deals themselves as it recycles the drug hauls and continues the cycle of marketing and peddling of illegal drugs in the streets,” Barbers said at his panel’s first motu proprio on Tuesday.

Two informants disclosed during the panel’s executive session that the PDEA and the Philippine National Police would hand them “basura,” or shabu, every time their tips led to an arrest, which can range from 30% to 70% of the haul.

The assets confirmed that over the past 20 years, the drugs hauled, seized, and confiscated had been recycled.

“The testimony of the asset confirmed what we have heard all this time. The illegal practice of giving substantial portions of the drugs seized now has a face. In due time, if the evidence warrants, criminal charges will be filed”, Barbers said.

The revelation, he said, will go a long way in the succeeding hearings.

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