House supports wiretapping bill for drug dealers

Image capture from RTVM video via RTVMalacanang Youtube channel.
  • Dangerous Drugs Chairman Robert Ace Barbers stated the proposed amendments for the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 to strengthen the administration’s anti-illegal drug campaign
  • Two proposed amendments permit the PDEA to wiretap drug dealers and to coordinate and make confidential report/recommendation to the Anti-Money Laundering Council
  • Aguirre also proposed that the law enforcers be granted permission to wiretap drug convicts and dealers

With the purpose of strengthening and improving the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, the Committee Chairman of the House of Representatives on Dangerous Drugs stated the proposed amendments for Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 as pre-voted by the committee.

Surigao del Norte Representative and Committee Chairman Robert Ace Barbers yesterday mentioned the proposed changes based on the result of briefings, meetings and consultations the committee had with officials of the PDEA, the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group, Department of Justice and National Bureau of Investigation.

Barbers’ panel would soon endorse the proposed changes which would be contained in a bill to the House.

Two of these proposed amendments permit the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to wiretap drug dealers including their financiers and protectors and to coordinate and make confidential report/recommendation to the Anti-Money Laundering Council in order to initiate action for freeze order, seizure and forfeiture or for investigation, inspection or examination of financial transactions of any person found involved in drugs, including their financiers or protectors.

Other proposals include the aim to achieve legitimate conduct of every anti-drug operation and to avoid illegal practice of planting of evidence, and order all owners-lessors of property to ensure that their place is not being utilized for illegal drug production.

Any sign of illegal activity within their premises should also be reported to authorities.

These proposals aim to improve the administration’s campaign against drugs. For example, the proposal to allow wiretapping promotes the improvement of “law enforcers’ capability and effectiveness in gathering intelligence,” as pointed out by Barbers as per a Philippine Star story.

One of the reasons why the Department of Justice couldn’t monitor mobile phone communications of convicted drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) for further investigations on illegal drug trades is because it is against the law, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II says during the committee hearings.

In addition to that, Aguirre also proposed that the law enforcers be granted permission to wiretap drug convicts and dealers.

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