CUSTOMS Commissioner Isidro Lapena has issued a protocol on the handling of illegal drugs to avoid operational glitches similar to the controversial P6.4 billion shabu shipment that entered the country undetected.
Lapena’s directive, contained in Memorandum 2017-11-004, establishes the correct procedures on how Customs operatives should handle dangerous drugs (DD) and controlled precursors and essential chemicals (CPECs) within the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
Under the memorandum, all shipments that are suspected to contain DD and/or CPECs should be reported immediately by the concerned unit to the Customs Anti-Illegal Drugs Task Force (CAIDTF) for proper coordination with the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
Under the law, the PDEA, which Lapena headed before being appointed Customs chief, is the lead agency in all anti-drug enforcement operations, and responsible for the efficient and effective law enforcement of the dangerous drugs law.
Former Customs Chief Nicanor Faeldon and other BoC employees are facing simultaneous investigations at the Senate and House of Representatives on the alleged mishandling of the 605-kilo methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) from China.
“To avoid glitch in drug operations, make way and let PDEA stand in front because when it comes to drugs, they know better,” the Customs chief said. WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL