Vastavam web: Philippine authorities have seized methamphetamine concealed in tea wrappers and biscuit cans in their second-largest drug haul this year in a sign of how the problem has persisted despite the president’s bloody anti-drug crackdown. Three Chinese nationals and a Chinese-Filipino interpreter were arrested late Tuesday in “buy-bust” raids in an upscale residential enclave and outside a shopping mall in Alabang village in the Manila metropolis, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino said Wednesday.
The drugs with a street value of 1.1 billion pesos (USD 20.7 million) were concealed similarly to seizures in Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, indicating an international drug syndicate was behind the trafficking, Aquino said. Last month, anti-narcotics agents raided a house in Tanza town in Cavite province south of Manila and where they killed two suspected Chinese drug dealers in a gunbattle and seized 1.9 billion pesos (USD 36 million) worth of methamphetamine, a powerful stimulant locally known as shabu, Aquino said. Aquino has called for the return of the death penalty in the Philippines for drug traffickers, better security in the archipelago’s extensive coastlines and more extensive databases of foreign drug suspects for the immigration bureau to deter drug trafficking. Corruption also fosters the drug menace, he said.
“The Chinese will never stop putting up drug laboratories because, firstly, there is no death penalty, and secondly, they can buy anybody,” Aquino said.
“They can buy judges, they can buy prosecutors and eventually they can go home safely.” Critics have warned him against making such public announcements without solid evidence but Duterte said he trusted the government agencies that provided the information. Several of the politicians he named denied they were involved in the drug trade.