By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel on Thursday advised the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to focus on the sources of drugs besides the street-level pushers as he expressed hope that drug suspects would be arrested alive.
“Mga supplier ang ating unahin. Kasi for sure sa baba hindi naman bebenta ang negosyo, sumakay lang siya sa negosyo… Yung mga big-time manufacturer, yun ang habulin natin kung walang 100 kilos eh, di walang 100 grams na dinidistribute sa daan (Let’s deal first with the suppliers as street-level pushers won’t succeed without supply. We must go after the big-time manufacturers as without 100 kilos, there would be no 100 grams to distribute on the streets),” Pimentel said.
“Ang ating posisyon mahuli, maaresto at makulong (Our position is, we arrest and jail them),” he added.
Pimentel stressed this as the Senate is mulling the transfer the P900-million proposed fund of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) war on drugs to the PDEA now that President Duterte has given the sole authority to conduct illegal drug operations to the latter.
Pimentel said they will review the PNP’s proposed P131.3-billion budget to possibly transfer the P900-million allocation for its illegal drug operations to the PDEA.
Pimentel said he and his colleagues have started talking about the matter, especially to make sure that the PDEA has sufficient funds after the President’s latest assignment.
In the Senate version of the 2018 national budget, the PDEA was given a budget of P2.5 billion.
The Senate chief said the drug war fund “may be totally removed” from the PNP. He, however, said exceeding amounts would have to be transferred for “more important projects” such as housing and social services.
Pimentel allayed concerns and assured the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs will remain “all-out” despite the PNP losing the drug enforcement function to PDEA.