State Prosecutors set free drug pushers for a fee

July 15, 2009
“Fiscal” charges P200 thousand to free a drug pusher
By Jaime Pilapil

Most drug pushers do not end up in jail after they are arrested, courtesy of the corrupt state prosecutors also known as “fixcals”, the country’s premier anti-drug enforcer said yesterday.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Dionisio Santiago said fiscals demand “grease money” raging from P30,000 to P200,000 in exchange for lowering the amount of illegal drug confiscated from the suspect.

“Instead of Section 5 of R.A. 9165 or better known as Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002, the fiscal will apply Section 11 of the law which is bailable, aside from lowering the penalties and fine,” Santiago told Gazette.

Section 5 states that a person caught in possession of not less than 50 grams of shabu, or 10 grams of ecstacy or 500 grams of marijuana is punishable by life imprisonment or a fine raging from P500,000 to P10 million.

On the other hand, section 11 states that a person caught in possession of less than 5 grams of shabu or ecstacy or less than 300 grams of marijuana is punishable by imprisonment of 12 years and 1 day to 20 years and a fine raging from P300 thousand to P400,000 thousand.

Santiago also urged the Department of Justice, the head agency of the fiscals, to weed out its ranks of corrupt prosecutors.

“It is lamentable that after exerting so much effort in arresting these drug pushers we will one day see them again on the street selling their wares just because of these corrupt fiscals,” the former Armed Forces chief said.

Just last week, the government scored a major blow against operators of illegal drugs after a Pasig City court slapped Amin Imam Boratong and his wife life imprisonment for operating a “shabu tiangge”, few meters away from the city hall.

However, a public perception of corrupt prosecutors could not be blamed. It could be recalled that in the Alabang Boys case which drew much media attention no less than the hierarchy of the DoJ was accused of charging a lower offense to the young men, of course, in exchange of hefty amount of grease money.

The Alabang Boys bribery scandal resulted to a revamp at the DoJ. Its chief Raul Gonzales was eventually given another government post.

Drug addiction is still rampant in the country with over a million drug addicts in 2008, according to PDEA records.

Drug addiction is also a major cause of metal illness in the country today, according to Dangerous Drug Board deputy chief Rommel Garcia.

Garcia, in a separate interview, claimed two of three patients now at the National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City were afflicted with psychosis due to illegal drugs.

“Around 66 percent of our patients at CMH are due to substance abuse or intake of illegal drugs,” Garcia said.

Santiago, meanwhile, has alerted authorities manning the sea and air ports to be extra vigilant for the entry of illegal drugs, particularly shabu, after its supply shifted from production to importation.

“Our relentless drive against shabu laboratories has forced the shabu operators to get their supply from China, Taiwan and even Malaysia. So, our people manning the ports from Batanes to Sulu should be vigilant,” he said.

The scarcity of shabu has also caused to shoot up the price of shabu being pedaled in the street from P1 million to P10 million per kilo nowadays. Santiago added shabu now being sold in the streets are adulterated, making its effect more fatal due to added crystalline-like substances.

Santiago added that marijuana is becoming in demand now that shabu is expensive and scarce. -30-

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