The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Tuesday said it fully supports President Duterte’s call for the revival of the death penalty for illegal drug activities in the country.
PDEA Director-General Wilkins Villanueva said that illegal drug syndicates including those from other countries have plied their trade in the Philippines due to the absence of the death penalty.
“The absence of capital punishment is favorable for drug peddlers who continue their nefarious activities despite being in detention,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva noted that the agency had “intercepted drug transactions perpetrated by convicted high-profile inmates while inside the national penitentiaries’’.
“They have found ways to communicate with the outside world one way or the other, and give direct orders to people involved in the illegal drug trade,” he added.
However, Villanueva said the return of the death penalty should depend on certain quantities of confiscated narcotics.
“Execution by lethal injection is for big-time drug traffickers, and not for the street-level pushers. I strongly suggest that seized drugs weighing one kilogram or more should be the threshold amount,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva added that “PDEA believes that foreign and local drug offenders, including drug protectors and coddlers who were found guilty of manufacturing, trafficking, and pushing of dangerous drugs, warrant the capital punishment’’.
“Tougher penalties will send a clear message and force them to have second thoughts before smuggling and trafficking illegal drugs. They have the luxury to operate in our country without worry because the maximum penalty on our laws is less harsh,” Villanueva said.
President Duterte, in his 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA), has batted for the swift passage of a law reinstating the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes under Republic Act 9165, or “The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002”.
“The death penalty will deter people to be involved in illegal drug trade. It should also save our future generations from the dangers posed by dangerous drugs,” concluded Villanueva.