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PDEA defends ‘operational lapses’

Posted by Abi Kwok on February 11, 2009

By Abigail Kwok

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency has defended alleged “operational lapses” by its agents when they arrested three suspects in a high profile drug bust last year.

In a statement, PDEA Director General Dionisio Santiago said that the nine-hour lapse between the arrest and the inventory of the evidence “did not affect the integrity of the evidence confiscated from the boys,” referring to Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph, and Joseph Tecson.

Santiago cited Section 21, Article 2 of Republic Act 9165 which stated that the “apprehending team, having initial custody and control of the seized illegal drugs shall immediately, after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same.”

But Santiago said that the provisions in the law “did not dictate that the items seized be inventoried and photographed right then and there at the place of the arrest in case of warrantless seizures.”

Therefore, Santiago said, the claim that the procedures were “baseless and held no water” was “designed to confabulate matters to veer the mind of the public from the fact that dangerous drugs were seized from [the suspects],” Santiago said.

In a separate interview, PDEA spokesman Derrick Carreon also denied claims by the suspects that they were manhandled by anti-narcotics agents and that they were not drug users.

“Are they saying that we fabricated the drug tests?’ he said.
Santiago said that they were “disheartened” by alleged efforts to discredit PDEA and its agents.


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