The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Tuesday said five of its top officials, all with the rank of director, were placed on floating status on suspicion that they are coddling drug dealers.
PDEA director Derrick Arnold Carreon did not name the officials but said they are under investigation and may be charged anytime.
“That is part of our internal cleansing. We have five directors now under probe and they were placed on floating status pending the results of the fact-finding investigation,” Carreon, the spokesman of the agency, said in a news forum in Manila.
“Two of them were just recently sacked. The latest was two months ago. Two were regional heads,” he added.
Carreon said 17 PDEA agents were either dismissed or placed on floating status either for using illegal drugs or coddling drug pushers.
The PDEA is also investigating politicians accused of protecting drug lords.
“We want an airtight case against them to make sure they will be found guilty,” Carreon said.
One of these politicians is Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez. Carreon said Gomez’s case is being handled by the local police.
“For sure, there are politicians acting as drug trade protectors. I was Region 2 head and I can say there are politicians involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs. But they are still under investigation,” Carreon added.
So far, 175 government officials, many of them barangay officials, have been arrested and charged for their involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
Aside from local drug groups, there are three transnational drug organizations operating in the country —a Chinese/Filipino drug syndicate which dominates the market, the African drug syndicate that use airports as entry point of drugs, and the Mexican-Sinaloa drug cartel.
On Monday night, a Malaysian was arrested for bringing in 4.6 kilos of high grade cocaine.
Immigration and Customs officials pounced on Nasruddin Bin Mohd Kasnan, 25, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Customs District III Collector Ed Macabeo said the pellets of cocaine, with a street value of P25 million, were hidden inside chocolate cans.
In October this year, at least five foreigners and a Filipino who came from Brazil were caught carrying cocaine at the NAIA.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said authorities monitored the Malaysian following a tip from the US Drug Enforcement Agency.