Duterte: Illegal drug ‘recycling’ still happens

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) — President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed that the "recycling" of illegal drugs by some police officials is still happening.

Speaking to reporters in Malacañang Tuesday, Duterte said while he has no evidence of such incidents, the illegal activity is still happening.

"Well, I have no have evidence. Kaya nga sabi ko sundan na lang muna ninyo. ‘Yan ang — hindi naman talagang outright. Pero ‘yung mahuli nila, for example 20 kilos, ang i-report na lang niyan 10 kilos. Tapos may award pa ‘yan sila. Tapos ‘yung iba i-recycle, ipagbili nila. Marami ‘yan. And it’s so prevalent. I’d — with the present setup of government, hindi mo makuha ‘to,” he said.

[Translation: Well, I have no evidence. That’s why I told you just follow the trail. The offense is not outright. But the illegal drugs that they seized, for example 20 kilos, they just report 10 kilos. Then they still get an award. And it’s so prevalent. With the present set-up of government, I can’t catch them.]

Duterte made the remarks after Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director-General Aaron Aquino revealed during a Senate hearing that the recycling of illegal drugs seized during buy-bust operations is still rampant among some corrupt cops.

During the hearing, Aquino said, "When they seize drugs, maybe half of (those) will be surrendered or 'yun lang ang ipapalabas na 'yun lang na na-seize nila [they will say that's all that they have recovered]. The other ones are being kept either for future operations or the worst of it they sell the drugs.

Meanwhile, PDEA Director Derrick Carreon told CNN Philippines’ The Source. Tuesday that an alleged "drug queen" was also buying ‘recycled’ drugs, and she ran and won during the 2018 barangay elections.