Senator says ‘drug recycling’ shows Duterte campaign is failing

Franklin M. Drilon Corporation Code

OPPOSITION Senator Franklin M. Drilon, a former justice secretary, expressed alarm and disappointment over the admission of Director General Aaron Aquino, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), that recycling of illegal drugs is still rampant despite the administration’s bloody war on illegal drugs that has killed thousands.

The lawmaker said Mr. Aquino’s admission that confiscated drugs were being recycled with the assistance of law enforcers is a sign that the campaign against illegal drugs, the cornerstone of the Duterte administration, is failing.

“I am disgusted and dismayed by the report of the PDEA that recycling of shabu is rampant,” he said.

“This is worrisome. This is a decades-old case of bantay-salakay, wherein the people who are given the task of enforcing the law insofar as drug trafficking is concerned are the ones who lead the anomalous practices,” he added.

“Given that admission, I am not very optimistic about the success of the anti-drug campaign, in general,” Mr. Drilon said.

Mr. Aquino told senators during his agency’s budget hearing yesterday that one way to prevent the recycling of illegal drugs is to conduct joint police, PDEA and Armed Forces operations for better accountability.

PDEA has seized P10 billion worth of illegal drugs from January to August this year and still has illegal drugs worth P22 billion in their inventory, P20 billion of which is crystal meth, Mr. Aquino said.

Village, youth elections to proceed

NEXT year’s village and youth elections will proceed in the absence of a law deferring these, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) told senators.

“Until Congress passes a law on the postponement, we are proceeding with our elections,” Comelec Commissioner Antonio T. Kho told senator during a hearing on the agency’s 2020 budget.

Preparations for the 2020 elections have begun starting with voter registrations, which will run from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30. While the Comelec had not spent on anything yet, it is in the process of procuring materials for the polls, Mr. Kho said.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff A. Abas told lawmakers Congress should hasten the passage of a measure postponing the elections because the agency can’t cancel orders due to legal issues.

The Comelec’s approved budget for 2020 is P9.8 billion but officials have sought an additional P2.2 billion for other programs. — G.M. Cortez

Ex-NYC chief withdraws as youth representative

FORMER National Youth Commission (NYC) Chairman Ronald Carlo L. Cardema wants to withdraw his nomination as Duterte Youth Partylist’s first nominee after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed him for being ineligible.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon noted back in June that the partylist still had a pending case over the eligibility of 34-year-old Mr. Cardema as a youth representative.

Under the law, only those who are 25 to 30 years old are allowed to run for the position.

Last month, the Comelec dismissed Mr. Cardema’s nomination for committing “material misinterpretation” in his qualification as a nominee. Mr. Cardema filed to substitute his wife Ducielle who was the initial first nominee of the partylist prior to her withdrawal to make way for Mr. Cardema. — Gillian M. Cortez