The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) took part in a workshop with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to learn the basics of following the “money trail” of illegal drugs sold by cartels and syndicates.
“The efforts and resources used by PDEA in tracking down and arresting illegal drug dealers and manufacturers will just definitely go to waste if we cannot freeze the assets of these criminals while they are being prosecuted,” PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said in a statement on Saturday.
“We cannot just go on arresting and filing the cases while the drug lords are freely using drug money to buy their way out of prison,” Aquino added.
Aquino said PDEA needs to strengthen its intelligence operations and investigations of financial institutions, thereby necessitating cooperation with AMLC in busting drug rings.
The PDEA chief reiterated that the agency’s financial investigation unit must undergo intense training to understand the financial systems of the government including banks and financial regulation institutions.
“In this manner, we will have a fighting chance to follow the drug money, assess and identify the trail, secure documents and evidence and make a strong case to freeze drug money before it gets to the mainstream economy,” Aquino said
Aquino said the four-day workshop on financial investigation is timely because it is “crucial” to the success of operations against the multi-billion peso illegal drugs industry.
Thirty-five personnel from PDEA and AMLC took part in the workshop held in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan from Novembet 20 to 24.