Pubdate: Wed, 28 Dec 2016
Source: Businessworld (Philippines)
Copyright: 2016 BusinessWorld
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Author: Kristine Joy V. Patag


SECRETARY of Justice Vitaliano N. Aguirre II surmises that the government
is winning its controversial war on drugs as he, together with officials
of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), presented yesterday
evidence of what he called the "biggest drug bust" so far in the country.

"Malamang sa malamang, nananalo na tayo. (It's more than likely, we are
winning)," the secretary told reporters when asked for his assessment on
whether the government is winning in its drug campaign that has been
strongly criticized for the alleged rise in extra-judicial killings that
it has spawned.

The NBI, in its statement, said a series of operations over a period of
about four months led to the seizure of 890 kilograms of high grade
methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as shabu, with an estimated
street value of P6 billion.

"Project 'Red Dragon' is a series of anti-illegal drugs operations
conducted under the leadership of NBI Director Dante A. Gierran thru the
NBI- (Task Force against Illegal Drugs)... (which) aims to target,
eliminate, prosecute and convict members of the 'Red Dragon' Syndicate, by
far, the largest local manufacturer and distributor of illegal drugs in
the Philippines," the statement read.

The operations also led to the arrest of ten suspects, three of whom are
Chinese nationals while the rest are Filipinos.

Six of the arrested ten suspects were charged before the Department of
Justice (DoJ) on Tuesday morning.

The suspects were identified as Shi Gui Xiong alias Xiong, 44; Che Wen De
alias Jacky Tan, 44; Wu Li Yong alias David Go, 44; all Chinese. Others
who attended the inquest proceedings were Abdullah M. Jahmal, 33; Salim C.
Araft, 19; and Basher T. Jamal, 19.

The six were arrested in a raid led by the NBI-TFAID last Dec. 23 in a
residential house in Mangga Street, Little Baguio, San Juan.

A total of 101.363 kilograms of shabu packed inside six flowery travel
bags, 529 kilograms of high-grade shabu, 155 packs of white crystalline
substance suspected to be shabu and 65 packs of white powder suspected to
be an ingredient for the manufacture of shabu were seized from the

They face charges for violations of Republic Act 9165, the Comprehensive
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, including sale and distribution,
manufacturing, and possession.

Preliminary investigation on the drug raps against the six is scheduled on
Jan. 3, 2017.

Others who were arrested through Project Red Dragon were: Ansary Candotan,
Jimefe Candotan, Saadoding Monib, and Abubakr Mamarinta. The four were
arrested in an earlier operation of the NBI-TFAID operatives on Dec. 2.


Meanwhile, Philippine National Police Chief Ronald M. Dela Rosa reported
yesterday that about 1.05 million drug users and dealers have
"surrendered" to authorities while 45,041 were arrested and 2,295 killed
in drug-related police operations.

Mr. Dela Rosa said given these numbers, he considers it a "success" how
the police has so far carried out its order from the President to
intensify the campaign against illegal drug use and trade.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte, who has vowed to curb narcotics under his
administration, has previously cited that there is an estimated three
million users in the country and that drug money is so deeply interwoven
into politics.

However, critics, both local and foreign, have called attention to human
rights violations arising from drug-related killings carried out by
authorities as well as suspected vigilantes.

- -- with a report from Jumaine Christene V. Doctolero
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