Politicos behind seaborne drugs?

February 16, 2019

A HOUSE leader appealed to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP)  to conduct a deeper probe into the recovery of 77 blocks of suspected cocaine estimated to be worth P500 million that washed ashore in Dinagat Island and Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte.

Chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers expressed disappointment over the proliferation of drugs in the country despite the massive campaign against the scourge.

Reports said that some 37 blocks of cocaine were fished out off Dinagat Island on Thursday while 40 cocaine blocks were recovered along the coast of Bgy. Pacifico, San Isidro, Siargao Island on Friday.

Barbers likewise said it is very alarming and frightening that his province could be or has become a dumping ground of illegal drugs by foreign and local drug syndicates.

The solon from Surigao del Norte expressed fear that the illegal drugs recovered in Siargao and Dinagat Islands, and other places have a connection to “narco- politics” because they happened in the midst of election period.

“It is an open secret in my province that some politicians are involved, directly or indirectly, in illegal drugs operations. And it is not far-fetched to think that people involved in this have heightened their illegal activity and use their loot for election purposes in the May 2019 elections,” Barbers said.

Barbers asked PDEA Chief Aaron Aquino and PNP chief Oscar Albayalde to dig deep into the identities of those who dumped the cocaine in the seas, what boat or ship they used, and who the intended local recipients of the illegal cargo are.  

Last week, some P5.4 million worth of cocaine was found floating off the shores of Vinzons, Camarines Norte. A recent buy-bust operation in a Tampa, Cavite warehouse also yielded P1.9 billion worth of shabu believed to have been brought to the country through “shipside smuggling.”

Chief Superintendent Gilbert Cruz, CARAGA PNP Regional Director, said  foreign drug syndicates usually use or attach GPS (global positioning system) on their illegal cargoes, dump them at Philippine shores, and retrieve them later using their local contacts.

“We believe that the strings used to tie the cocaine blocks recovered in Dinagat and Siargao Islands broke loose and (the drugs) were later washed ashore,” he said.

The most recent incidents include the discovery of 28 sealed packs of high-grade cocaine worth P162 million by two fishermen in Lucena, Quezon in April 2017; 24 kilos of cocaine bricks worth P125 million by a fisherman in Matnog, Sorsogon in January 2018; and 18.8 kilos of cocaine worth P79 million in Divilacan, Isabela in February 2018.