PNP wants to adopt Colombia’s measures vs drug trade
Fresh from his official trip in Colombia, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Monday revealed that he plans to put up a force similar to that of the Latin American country’s “Search Bloc” to dismantle drug cartels and go after drug lords.
Speaking to reporters at Camp Crame, Dela Rosa at first said he did not want to preempt his plan to establish a force stronger than Colombia’s Search Bloc, a joint team of Colombian police and army formed in 1992 to bring down bigtime drug lord Pablo Escobar.
Nevertheless, Dela Rosa confirmed this. “Gusto mo sabihin ko para maglayasan na ‘yang mga drug lords dito? Maglayasan punta ng abroad? Sige kayong mga drug lords, layas na kayo dahil gagawa pa ako ng mas matindi sa Search Bloc ng Colombia. Bantay kayo ngayon,” he said.
(You want me to reveal it so that the drug lords will flee? Run away and go abroad? Go ahead, drug lords, leave now because I will make a Search Bloc that’s more intense than Colombia’s. Watch out.)
Last week, Dela Rosa, along with Police Director Fernando Mendez Jr., PNP Director for Personnel and Records Management (DPRM) and Senior Supt. Alden Delvo, Senior Executive Assistant (SEA), attended the counterterrorism and counternarcotics exchange conference in Bogota, organized by the US Department of State.
Dela Rosa also cited Colombia’s wiretapping law, allowing operatives to wiretap lines of suspect drug dealers.
“Paano sila naging very effective and efficient? Dahil nga sa mga legislation na ginawa ng kanilang Congress. For example, ‘yung mga sa wiretapping law, equipped ‘yung kanilang kapulisan doon para mag wiretap sa lahat ng mga suspected criminal group members, drug group members. Itong suspected drug trafficker andyan kaagad, kaya sila effective,” he said.
(How did they become very effective and efficient? Because of the legislation made by their Congress. For example, the wiretapping law, their police is equipped to wiretap on the suspected criminal group members, drug group members. These suspected drug traffickers are immediately there, that’s why they’re effective.)
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) proposed to amend the Republic Act 4200 or “Anti-Wiretapping Law” allowing law enforcers to intercept communications only in cases related to treason, espionage, rebellion or sedition and kidnapping and with a court order.
Dela Rosa said he will talk to President Rodrigo Duterte and ask him to prioritize the bill amending the wiretapping law.
“I will talk to the President and request him to sign these bills. Tawag doon priority bills by the President. Sana mapabilis itong mga batas na ito (These are called priority bills by the President. I hope these bills are expedited),” he said.
Seize properties of drug lords
Another technique from Colombia the PNP chief wanted to adopt is the granting power to the police to forfeit properties of neutralized drug lords, those considered “fruits of the crime.”
Citing the case of slain couple Melvin and Merriam Odicta, an Iloilo-based couple allegedly running illegal drug business, and killed drug lord Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, Dela Rosa said the government, if it would adopt Colombia’s laws, could seize their properties, including island resorts.
“Halimbawa, kagaya yung kay Odicta hindi ba. Patay na ‘yung mag-asawa tapos marami silang properties; kung maforefeit iyon, forefeit iyon in the favor of the government ‘yung properties nila. Gano’n ka effective ‘yon. Sino pa bang drug lord na namatay, like ‘yung sa Cebu kay ‘Jaguar.’ Marami tayong na-identify na properties ni Jaguar sa Cebu, Las Piñas, Sorsogon; meron silang mga island resorts na pinagagawa. Dapat ngayon nakuha na natin ‘yun sa gobyerno,” Dela Rosa said.
(For example, the case of Odicta. The couple was already killed but they still had a lot of properties; if those are forefeited, they are forfeited in the favor of the government. It will be that effective. Which other drug lord has already died, like Cebu’s “Jaguar.” We identified many of Jaguar’s properties in Cebu, Las Piñas, Sorsogon; they also had island resorts built. The property should go to the government.) JE
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