GMA ORDERS PUBLIC BURNING OF SEIZED ILLEGAL DRUGS

PRESIDENT ARROYO

[PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILSTAR: PLAYING BLIND? President Arroyo passes under a streamer urging her to run in next May’s presidential election as she arrives at the Tabiak Elementary School in Igbaras, Iloilo yesterday. Walking behind her is Iloilo Gov. Niel Tupaz. — REVOLI CORTEZ]

Manila, July 17, 2003 By Marichu Villanueva (Star) President Arroyo ordered yesterday the weekly public burning of illegal drugs seized by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) as well as the publication of mugshots of arrested drug dealers.

"Let us put a face and identity to these people and get the public involved in hunting them down," Mrs. Arroyo said in a statement that detailed fresh initiatives in her renewed campaign against illegal drugs.

Mrs. Arroyo also allowed PDEA director general Anselmo Avenido to publish the names and photos of arrested drug suspects and other information leading to the arrest of wanted drug dealers, "subject to any need to temporarily embargo information affecting ongoing operations."

She particularly ordered PDEA to set aside a regular day of the week for the public burning of drugs, raw materials and equipment "so that these cannot be recycled for illicit market by unscrupulous law enforcers."

"I want a strict accounting of drugs confiscated and drugs destroyed to the last gram," Mrs. Arroyo said.

"Once charges are filed covering a drug stash, the latter must be immediately destroyed, save for the amount needed to be used as evidence in court," she said.

Mrs. Arroyo issued the statement a day after police seized some 500 kilos of ephedrine, a key ingredient in the manufacture of shabu in a residence at Horseshoe Townhomes in Quezon City. - With AFP


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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