Monday, May 17, 2021

PNP probes condo marijuana ‘farms’; eyes closer ties with PDEA

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday ordered an investigation into whether drug syndicates have shifted their operations to cultivating marijuana plants in condominiums. 

This, after the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) operatives discovered and seized potted marijuana plants worth some PHP2.2 million inside a condominium unit from a retired US Air Force serviceman and his Filipina live-in partner in Taguig City on Thursday.

“We need to intensify our intelligence gathering kung ganito na ba ang style ngayon ng mga sindikato ng droga, lalo na sa marijuana. Posibleng may iba na ring gumagawa nito dahil mahirap mahuli kung ganitong nasa loob ng condominium (if this is now the modus of drug syndicates, especially those engaged in marijuana. It is possible that others are using the same style because it would be difficult to catch them if they are inside condominium),” Eleazar said in a statement.

Eleazar said the demand for marijuana has increased, quoting Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Wilkins Villanueva.

“Our PDEA chief, Director General Wilkins Villanueva, also said last year that shabu users have shifted to marijuana and even ecstasy due to our intensified operations na rin. Kaya nga po nag-focus rin tayo sa pagpipigil nito at talagang tuluy-tuloy ang operasyon natin dito (So our focus now is to continue our operations against marijuana use),” he said.

He said the PNP will investigate if the retired US airman and his Filipina partner are connected to other drug syndicates.

Eleazar vowed to further strengthen the PNP’s partnership and coordination with the PDEA to stop the proliferation of marijuana and other illegal drugs.

Rules of procedures

On Saturday, Eleazar said he will be meeting with Villanueva to iron out gaps and weaknesses in procedure on coordination and interoperability between the two law enforcement agencies in the frontline of the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

“Illegal drugs syndicates are taking advantage of the weaknesses or gaps in the rules of procedure on coordination and inter-operations between the PNP and the PDEA,” Eleazar said.

Last Friday, the Quezon City Police District Station 4 and PDEA agents nearly figured in another incident of apparent miscommunication in a buy-bust operation in Quezon City.

Fortunately, the inter-agency courtesy and timely communication have prevailed and averted a repeat of a shootout between PNP and PDEA agents along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City last February.(By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

“Kasama ang PDEA, ito ang tututukan natin ngayon para maiwasan na maulit pa (Along with PDEA, we will now focus on this [coordination] so that it (shootout) will be avoided),” Eleazar said. “We will look into this issue beyond coordination concern, ano ba talaga ang problema (what’s the real problem) why this issue keeps on recurring? Kaya nga nag-schedule tayo ng meeting with Director General Wilkins Villanueva, kasama ang ibang concerned officers, para ito mapag usapan at maayos na (That’s why we set a meeting with Director General Wilkins Villanueva, together with concerned officers, to once and for all tackle and fix it).”

Eleazar said there is a need for all government’s drug enforcement units to constantly analyze, discuss, and update the strategies in the campaign against illegal drugs to identify the areas of improvement in the conduct of intelligence-gathering and operations.

He said the two incidents that happened in Quezon City, in February and on Friday, only strengthen the agencies’ resolve to strike hard against the drug syndicates. (

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