COCAINE BLOCKS recovered in Philippine waters may be a “diversionary tactic” for another set of smuggled drugs, said House Committee on Dangerous Drugs chair Robert Ace S. Barbers of the 2nd district of Surigao del Norte.
Mr. Barbers said the cocaine blocks may be part of an old modus which involves placing a GPS tracking device in the contraband.
“That’s the old modus operandi of the syndicates. So definitely, they will not waste valuable goods just like that. They probably sent it, following ‘yung kanilang scheme na meron GPS ‘yan tapos ma-te-take up ‘yan ng kanilang local contacts. Siguro nagkaroon ng bulilyaso, ng problema, nagkalat ngayon, that’s one school of thought,” he said in a phone interview. (They probably sent it, following their scheme using GPS, which their contact will later retrieve. Maybe there was a problem that resulted in the scattered cocaine blocks, that’s one school of thought).
“Another school of thought is it could be a diversionary tactic na pwedeng nandiyan ‘yan, kunware nagpalutang-lutang, ‘yun pala, merong dumaan sa atin (the cocaine blocks may be left floating, while another shipment is being smuggled) right under our noses, either in the BoC (Bureau of Customs), in our seaports and our airports,” he added.
For his part, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director-General Oscar D. Albayalde said the cocaine blocks were likely bound for Australia. “I talked with the Australian counterpart, seemingly lumalabas itong na-recover na more than 1,000 kilos of cocaine, from the eastern seaboard of our country, ay parang nangagaling ito somewhere sa Pacific Ocean pero ito ay hindi for delivery sa Pilipinas,” Mr. Albayalde said on Wednesday. (I talked with the Australian counterpart, it appears that the more than 1,000 kilos of cocaine from the eastern seaboard of our country came somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, but this was not a delivery to the Philippines.)
“Accordingly, kasi ang possibility nito ay for delivery ito sa Australia. Isa ‘yun kasi according to the Australian police maganda ang value market, even the market value ng cocaine sa lugar nila.” (Accordingly, the possibility is this is for delivery to Australia. That’s one, because Australian police reported a good value market, even the market value of cocaine in their country).
The PNP chief said similar blocks of cocaine were recovered from some islands in the Pacific last year, which could possibly have drifted towards the Philippine territory. “Doon, sometime June and September, meron din na-recover na the same package of cocaine sa Papua New Guinea,” he said. (Sometime in June and September, a package also containing cocaine was recovered in Papua New Guinea).
Meanwhile, Magdalo Rep. Gary C. Alejano said in a statement on Wednesday that the presence of cocaine blocks is proof of the government’s “failed” war against the illegal drug trade.
“Three years of government’s crackdown on illegal drugs and thousands of drug suspects killed did not deter the continuous entry of drugs in our country,” Mr. Alejano said.
“The drug war is a failure. Ang mga druglords ay patuloy na namamayagpag at ligtas sa mainit na mata ng ating gobyerno dahil mga mahihirap at maliliit na drug suspects naman ang pinupuntirya at pinapatay,” he also said. (The drug lords continue to thrive and are saved from the government scrutiny because only poor and small-time syndicates are targeted).
Sought for comment, Mr. Barbers said “the drug war has been successful all this time. Marami tayong na-a-apprehend, marami tayong nasisiradong mga laboratory. If you will measure the gains of this campaign, obviously, we have a lot of gains to speak about pero failure, san banda magiging failure ‘yung lumulutang na cocaine?” (the drug war has been successful all this time. Many have already been apprehended, many laboratories have been closed. If you will measure the gains of this campaign, obviously, we have a lot of gains to speak about but failure, what about recovering the cocaine blocks is a failure?) — Charmaine A. Tadalan, with VACF