SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon warned officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that they could face life imprisonment or even death for failing to properly account for seized illegal drugs.
Drilon issued the warning after learning that the 605 kilos of “shabu” seized by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) in May and 898 kilos of illegal drugs in San Juan city in December had not been properly turned over to PDEA for proper disposition.
At the resumption of the Senate blue ribbon committee hearing on the P6.4 billion “shabu” from China on Thursday, NBI Deputy Director Vicente de Guzman 3rd admitted that they still have in their possession 502 kilos of shabu, which was part of the shipment that was released from Customs undetected.
Only 100 kilos of the shabu shipment have been put under the custody of PDEA which, Drilon said, should not be the case.
“Under the law it is PDEA who shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs seized or surrendered for proper disposition. Why is this not being followed?” Drilon asked the NBI official.
De Guzman, in his response, told the committee that there was a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between NBI and PDEA that allowed for such an arrangement.
But Drilon, who also served as justice secretary, insisted that a MOA has no power to change a law.
He added that under the law, seized or recovered drugs must be turned over to PDEA for forensic examination within 24 hours and once the case has been filed in court, should be destroyed to prevent recycling.
Apart from the BOC shabu shipment, NBI also admitted that a portion of the 800 kilos of shabu confiscated in December 2016 in San Juan City (Metro Manila) was still in their possession.
“Under the law failure to account [for]confiscated or seized illegal drugs is subject to punishment of life imprisonment or death if available,” the senator added.