PDEA bares rising involvement of public officials in illegal drug trade

By , , , on February 25, 2015

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MANILA — There has been a significant increase in the number of elected officials and other public servants involved in the illegal drug trade last year, a trend the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) described as “alarming.”

“It is alarming that more and more government officials and law enforcers are getting involved in illegal drug activities when they are supposed to implement the law, maintain peace and order in their area and promote the well-being of the people,” PDEA Director General Arturo Cacdac Jr. said.

PDEA’s 2014 annual report showed 190 public officials — 56 elected, 49 law enforcers, and 85 government employees — were arrested for drug-related offenses.

“This is 37.68 percent higher than the year 2013 where 138 government officials were arrested for violating the anti-drug law, and the highest since 2011,” Cacdac said.

Of the elected officials arrested, one was a municipal councilor of Matanog, Maguindanao, while the rest were either barangay chairmen or council members.

The highest ranking law enforcer was a police chief inspector, the equivalent of a major in the military.

The Ilocos region accounted for the most number of arrested government personnel, with 25, followed by Eastern Visayas with 22.

The most number of arrested law enforcers came from Zamboanga Peninsula. Northern Mindanao accounted for eight.

Meanwhile, PDEA is encouraging the public to report drug-related information and activities occurring within their respective communities.

The agency has provided a PDEA 24/7 Text Hotline which features Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Solution System, automatic forwarding of Short Message Service (SMS) to anti-drug units, automatic answering of queries under the FAQ section, as well as the automatic sorting of SMS and automatic follow-up on forwarded messages.

According to Cacdac, the PDEA 24/7 Text Hotline is the fastest, most secure, and most affordable system for concerned individuals to relay drug-related information to the authorities.

The system would allow a venue accessible to all to report to PDEA any suspected illegal drug activities in their neighborhoods.

“Through the text hotline, the citizenry will be encouraged to work hand in hand with PDEA in enforcing the anti-drug law by passing timely and reliable information 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Cacdac said.

Last year, PDEA acted on 5,846 cases of drug-related reports received through the hotline and responded to a total of 1,847 reports received through other media such as telephone call, referral from other officers, e-mails, letters from concerned citizens, targets of opportunities, walk-in informants and reports from action agents.

For people who want to report illegal drug activities through the PDEA text hotline, the agency encourages the public to simply text the names of the drug users or pushers and the complete address to 0999-888-7332 for Smart users, 0925-573-7332 for Sun, and 0927-915-0616 for Globe.

To verify the status of reports, the person may send STAT and the REFERENCE NUMBER to any of the above numbers.