House leader seeks deadline in capturing drug traffickers

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The Philippine authorities should set a target date in capturing foreign and local drug traffickers in the country, a House leader said on Friday.

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Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. of Dasmarinas, Chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusements, made the call in light of the National Bureau of Investigation’s decision to alert the Bureau of Immigration over the possible entry of foreign hit men in the country whose mission is to liquidate members of the illegal drugs cartel.

“There must be a clear objective and a definite timeline. A simple cat and mouse approach against these drug lords will not be effective.  Within the timeline, periodic evaluation and assessment must be made in order to find out how the government is faring against the war on drugs,” Barzaga pointed out.

The authorities have scored at least three huge drug bust operations the past two months: the seizure of 84 kilos of shabu worth P420 million in Lipa City, Batangas on Christmas day by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) found to be linked to Sinaloa which is a Mexican drug cartel syndicate, the National Bureau of Investigation busting drug laboratories in separate condominiums in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City and Makati City which netted P100 million worth of cocaine, shabu and ecstacy tablets and the police nabbing of P1.3 billion worth of methamphetamine in Manila.

At least six people were arrested in these three drug busts.

But despite such string of successful operations, Barzaga underscored that state forces should not let their guards down and instead ensure that cases are filed against the suspects en route to their prosecution.

“The series of arrests being made by the police and other law enforcement agencies only show how huge is the supply being peddled in the market. The large supply of drugs in the market only shows that we are remiss in guarding our airports and seaports and because of our laxity, drugs can easily be brought into the country,” Barzaga argued.

If drug trafficking is left unabated, Barzaga warned that the country could suffer the fate of Mexico wherein the Mexican government was forced to seal a deal with vigilante leaders called “self-defense” groups and incorporate them into its quasi-military units called the Rural Defense Corps in going after top-dog drug lords.

“By recognizing the vigilantes and allowing them to operate, the government is relinquishing its duties to the people and admitting that it is powerless to do its job,” Barzaga added of Mexico’s experience. LLANESCA T. PANTI

 

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