MANILA — A tip coming from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) led to the seizure of estimated PHP60 million worth of illegal drugs by the operatives of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Manila, NBI official said on Monday.
In a press conference, NBI Director Dante A. Gierran said the seized drugs showed to the media were more than 10 kilos of dangerous drugs in Ermita, Manila last Friday.
Gierran said personnel of the NBI’s Task Force Against Illegal Drugs conducted the operation after BuCor sought assistance from the NBI to arrest a group that is allegedly involved in large scale selling of illegal drugs in Metro Manila.
Under orders from Director Gierran, NBI-TFAID operatives coordinated with the BuCor officials for the implementation of counter action against the aforesaid group resulting in the seizure of the illegal drugs.
During the conduct of the operation, the NBI operatives found the illegal drugs with a street value of PHP60 million inside an abandoned vehicle parked along the sidewalk in Ermita, Manila.
NBI spokesman Ferdinand Lavin said no arrest was made during the joint operation on Friday evening since the illegal drugs were found to have been abandoned.
“The packs of methamphetamine were found in an interception operation in Ermita, Manila where a car was found to have been abandoned,” Lavin said.
Justice Undersecretary Antonio T. Kho Jr., also present in press briefing, said they are still investigating if the seized illegal drugs came from inside the national penitentiary.
He said the operation showed that coordinated work between the NBI and the BuCor would yield more fruits in the campaign against illegal drugs.
“We have an informant and this is the result of the coordinated work between the BuCor and the NBI,” Kho said in the same briefing.
He said that the NBI and the BuCor has an agreement to further enhance their coordination in the anti-drug campaign.
Both the BuCor and the NBI are attached agencies under the DOJ.
Campaign against illegal drugs trade has been at the forefront of President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority. The President repeatedly say that drugs is the source of all other crimes in the country. He added that the source of 75 percent of illegal drugs traded nationwide came from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Members of the police’s elite have been deployed inside Bilibid’s Maximum Security Compound to stop the trade. Senator Leila De Lima and other former officials of BuCor have been charged in court for allegedly benefitting in the trade.
High profile inmates have been separated from other inmates while signal jammers have been installed inside.
But Aguirre earlier admitted that new leaders have emerged and is trying to revive the illegal drugs trade from inside prison. Aguirre’s admission led to the resignation of BuCor Chief’s Benjamin Delos Santos.
Kho said drug trading inside the national penitentiary has been going on even before President Duterte.
Kho assured that the government’s effort to minimize and totally eliminate illegal drugs trade continues.
“This is a continuing effort on the part of the DOJ, NBI and the officers of BuCor… We will continue to implement courageously the mandate of the President. We want to assure the public that our commitment to the President on his drug campaign promise remain and we pursuing aggressively,” Kho said.
The DOJ chief considered the neutralization of drug syndicates inside the NBP as one of his biggest accomplishments during his one year term in office, a resurgence of such groups inside the facility should be dealt with immediately.
Aguirre noted that 70 to 75 percent of illegal drugs in the country were being trafficked from inside the NBP prior to the assumption of the Duterte administration. with Vanessa Panesa (OJT)/PNA