Senate President Vicente Sotto III underscored the need for a single agency to tackle and enforce all programs against illegal drugs following the fatal shootout between members of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Quezon City.
“The misencounter between PDEA and PNP shows the wisdom and ripeness of my bill creating a united Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority,” Sotto told reporters in a message on Thursday, February 25.
Sotto referred to his Senate Bill No. 3, which seeks to establish a “Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority” to serve as the “supervising agency for the proper, more effective and efficient implementation” of the Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The proposed Presidential Drug Enforcement Agency will absorb the policy-making and strategy-formulating functions of the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB), thus dissolving both the DDB and its implementing agency, the PDEA.
“It places Enforcement, Prosecution, Prevention and Rehabilitation all in one super body!” Sotto explained.
“This fiasco will not be the last if we do not act on this soon,” he warned.
But in a hearing last October, 2019, the DDB and the PDEA opposed the proposed dissolution, saying it would hamper the “momentum” of the Duterte administration’s drug war. Sotto, on the other hand, maintained that would strengthen the government’s fight against illegal drugs by unifying the law’s major programs.
The bill is still pending before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs. Sotto said he has asked Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the committee’s chairperson, to include it in the Senate inquiry on the alleged “misencounter” between the PDEA and the PNP next week.