PNP chief doubts ‘diversionary tactics’ on floating cocaine

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde on Wednesday said it is too early to conclude that the floating bricks of cocaine found on Philippine shores were part of diversionary tactics by drug syndicates.

“I don’t see any diversionary tactics as of this time not unless it is diversionary and it’s intended for other countries. It is possible that this could be diversionary pero napakalaking halaga ito para gawin (but it’s too expensive to use it as) diversionary tactics,” Albayalde told reporters.

Albayalde said the cocaine bricks might have been floating for a long time before these have been washed up on the shores of Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, Camarines Norte and Quezon province in a span of one week.

“It is possible that over the months or years na itong nagpo-float at nagkahiwa-hiwalay (that these have been floating and then scattered). It is possible,” Albayalde said.

He said the PNP’s Maritime Group has already intensified monitoring and patrol near coastlines where the cocaine bricks were found by fishermen and coastal residents.

Albayalde said there could be more floating bricks of cocaine in Philippine waters.

The PNP has warned fishermen and residents of coastal towns not to keep cocaine bricks they found from the sea.

Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, said anyone who will keep the cocaine and sell it for easy money would face charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Meanwhile, the PNP has commended fishermen and residents who turned over cocaine bricks to authorities.Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/