New drug enforcement body will 'upgrade' PDEA — Sotto
Senate President Tito Sotto explains his proposal to create a Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority before the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
Senate PRIB/Cesar Tomambo
New drug enforcement body will 'upgrade' PDEA — Sotto
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - October 3, 2019 - 11:49am

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Tito Sotto on Thursday clarified that his proposal to create a new Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority (PRDEA) will not dissolve the existing Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The PDEA and the Dangerous Drugs Board had earlier expressed opposition against Sotto's proposal as it would dissolve both agencies under Senate Bill 3 or the Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority Act.

"The PDEA was my brainchild. I will not see the demise of this agency. As a matter of fact, I will upgrade it," Sotto said during a Senate hearing.

In his second term at the Senate, Sotto authored Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which paved the way for the creation of the PDEA.

Sotto explained that under his proposed measure, there will be six bureaus under the PRDEA. The heads of the bureaus will form the Dangerous Drugs Board.

The Senate leader pointed out that under the current system, the PDEA does not coordinate with the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation on drug cases.

According to Sotto, some prosecutors told him that the reason the dismissal rate of drug cases is at 80% is because agents and policemen do not know how to file cases.

"What is the reason why I want a prosecution arm under the PDEA? Para coordinated na so the Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority will have a bureau of enforcement. Siya lahat ng supervision control over PNP, NBI at 'yung PDEA Academy," the senator said.

Sotto stressed that his proposal to create a PRDEA, which would upgrade the PDEA, will solve the country's drug problem.

"The intention, I assure you, will give us a fighting chance against illegal drugs not like what's happening now," Sotto told the Senate panel.

Under SB 3, the proposed PRDEA will be the primary supervising agency for "proper, more effective and efficient" implementation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

"It shall likewise absorb the policy-making and strategy-formulating functions of the current Dangerous Drugs Board. It shall be under the Office of the President," the bill read.

The proposed measure also specifically indicated that the creation of the PRDEA shall dissolve the existing PDEA and the DDB.

Under Sotto's proposal, the functions of the PDEA will be exercised by the anti-narcotics units of the PNP, the NBI, the Bureau of Customs and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The proposed PRDEA will be composed of bureaus on anti-drug enforcement, anti-drug prosecution, anti-drug prevention, anti-drug rehabilitation and anti-drug policy formulation, guidelines and procedures.

"Despite the various measures currently in place to curtail this social ill, the war against it has not yet been won. Hence, the government is in a continuous search for an effective and efficient means to somehow get us closer to our victory," Sotto said in his explanatory note.

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