Sotto: Pass Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority bill to unify programs vs illegal drugs

Published May 24, 2021, 4:05 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III on Monday sought Senate passage of his bill seeking to create a Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority (PDEA) to unify four major illegal drug programs.

The measure, Senate Bill 3, seeks to unify the four major illegal drug programs – enforcement, prosecution, prevention and rehabilitation – into a single government agency, Sotto explained.

‘’Despite the consistent statements of both the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to the subject of buy-bust operations and that both operations legitimate, still several uniformed personnel were killed and seriously wounded due to the incident,’’ Sotto said in his resolution seeking a probe into the alleged misencounter of operatives of the two agencies near a mall in Quezon city last February 24.

Sotto again reiterated the passage of his bill at the close of an hours-long hybrid public hearing this afternoon on the incident by the Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee chaired by Senator Ronald ‘’Bato’’ dela Rosa, a former PNP chief.

He said the alleged misencounter between PDEA and PNP shows the wisdom and ripeness of the passage of his bill.

Sotto said the current PDEA, under his bill, would become a supervisor to PNP drug operations to avoid misencounters.

Dela Rosa said his committee would undertake hearings on Sotto’s Senate Bill 3 after he has submitted his committee recommendations on the ‘’misencounter’’ after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has submitted its findings and recommendations.

Yesterday, the NBI said it has already completed 90 percent of its probe as it awaits results of its forensic investigation, among others.

Sotto said the day that illegal drugs would no longer be in the market is when no one buys them.

He said President Duterte himself has conceded that the multi-billion-peso, illegal drug trade is difficult to stamp out.

‘You may kill a pusher now, a new pusher will appear tomorrow” he added.