Palace defends PDEA against criticisms

Malacañang echoes calls for evidence and names to back accusations that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has failed to go after drug syndicates

INEFFECTIVE? The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency was accused of being unable to control drug syndicates in the country. File photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang showed little interest in accusations against the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on its alleged failure to go after drug syndicates, even defending the agency just a day after an operative made the rounds of media outlets to attack it.

An unfazed Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte shrugged off allegations made by PDEA operative Jonathan Morales and instead cited PDEA’s recent accomplishments in a press briefing on Tuesday, July 9.

“As a whole, the efforts of not just PDEA but other law enforcement agencies that helped them, have been recognized by international partners such that the production of illegal drugs here has lessened. Precisely because PDEA has coordinated with other agencies, it has been credited as a positive step in the fight against narcotics in this particular country,” she said.

On Monday, Morales visited media outlets to hit the agency for sleeping on the job. He said PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr had been ineffective in running PDEA, and the staff had been demoralized.

Cacdac, a retired police general and Philippine Military Academy graduate, replaced Jose Gutierrez Jr in October 2012 after Gutierrez was plagued with extortion accusations. 

Back then, Gutierrez said he would step down quietly if Aquino was dissatisfied with his work. He made the statement following Aquino’s order to investigate the entire agency in the aftermath of charges and counter-charges involving Gutierrez and then PDEA deputy director general Carlos Gadapan.

Cacdac has denied the accusations of demoralization and said the regional director would handle Morales. 

But Valte said the President has not even talked to anyone from PDEA regarding the allegations. She expressed confidence the PDEA leadership would address the accusations, and said PDEA “should deal with the particular allegations that are being raised.”

She also echoed Communications Group Secretary Herminio Coloma, who earlier dismissed the accusations for not having proof.

“Maybe if there were weight in these allegations, like Secretary Coloma said yesterday, provide evidence, provide names so it”s not all gossip and innuendo,” she said. – Rappler.com

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