PDEA tallies over 1,000 arrests, zero deaths under new chief

Bea Cupin
PDEA tallies over 1,000 arrests, zero deaths under new chief
The PDEA, the country's lead agency for all anti-illegal drug efforts, nets over P228.81 million in drug and non-drug evidence during its new chief's first 100 days

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) conducted over 3,476 anti-illegal drug operations and netted over P228.81 million in drug and non-drug evidence in the first 100 days of its new chief, Aaron Aquino.

In a press release on Aquino’s first 100 days, the country’s primary anti-illegal drugs enforcement agency said of these operations, over 1,321 suspects were arrested, leading to 2,063 drug cases filed.

But there’s one statistic that wasn’t present in PDEA’s release to media: death of suspects in the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations. The PDEA tallied no deaths in Aquino’s first 100 days. 

From October 11 to December 5, 2017, PDEA was tasked as the sole government agency in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. Aquino was appointed to the post in September 12, after former chief Isidro Lapeña was appointed head of the Bureau of Customs.

Both Lapeña and Aquino are retired police generals.

Prior to his post as PDEA chief, Aquino was regional police chief of Central Luzon. The Philippine National Police (PNP), which had taken a lead role in Duterte’s drug war, has repeatedly been criticized for the bloodshed in its conduct of anti-illegal drugs operations.   

During its stint as the sole agency for anti-drug efforts, the PDEA conducted 2,214 anti-drug operations leading to the arrest of 771 suspects, and the confiscation of P173.83 million in drugs and non-drug evidence. Over 1,448 drug cases were filed by the agency.

Other agencies, including the PNP, has since been re-allowed into the drug war. (READ: PDEA chief on PNP’s drug war return: ‘I hope they change their guidelines first’)

The PDEA also noted the following statistics in their “first 100 days” report:

  • 33 high-value targets arrested 
    • 6 foreign nationals 
    • 15 elected officials 
    • 7 uniformed personnel 
    • 21 government employees
    • 52 drug group members
    • 3 armed group members
    • 19 listed personalities
    • 24 drug den maintainers
    • 184 other HVTs
  • 30 high-impact operations, including 10 high-volume seizures 
  • 547 barangays declared drug-free from September 12, 2017 to December 20, 2017

Aquino wants to recruit at least 500 new drug enforcement officers to the PDEA every year and wants to expand the agency by adding 81 provincial offices and 5 district offices.

The PDEA has also been asking for additional funding from Congress to purchase more firearms and other equipment for its operations. – Rappler.com

Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.