BUSTED. Law enforcement officers account for the PHP8.5 million worth of ecstasy tablets seized in a controlled delivery operation in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna on Dec. 21, 2022. The PNP on Friday (Dec. 23, 2022) said suspect Joy Bautista was arrested during the operation. (Photo courtesy of PNP)

MANILA – Authorities have arrested the recipient of a shipment containing PHP8.5 million worth of ecstasy tablets in a controlled delivery operation in the province of Laguna, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Friday.

In a statement, PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said the suspect Joy Bautista was arrested in a joint operation by the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 4-A (Calabarzon), Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit, PhilPost-Inspectorate, and the local police at a gasoline station beside Merryland Subdivision in Barangay Dita in Sta. Rosa City on Wednesday afternoon.

Bautista yielded one parcel containing about 5,032 pieces of pink tablets suspected to be ecstasy, a blue clipboard, a parcel receipt form, a fake school ID, a tax identification number card, and one mobile phone.

The suspect and the confiscated items were brought to PDEA 4-A for documentation and proper disposition.

Bautista would face charges for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Meanwhile, Col. Redrico A. Maranan, acting chief of the Public Information Office, warned the public against using party drugs, especially during this Yuletide season when night concerts and parties are common.

Mahigpit po nating pinapa-alalahanan ang lahat na umiwas po tayo sa mga ganitong gawain gaya ng paggamit ng party drugs sapagkat wala itong magandang maidulot sa katawan at ilalagay lamang nila sa kapahamakan ang kanilang mga sarili oras na nasa impluwenysa na sila ng bawal na gamot na ito (We strongly remind everyone to refrain from such activities as using party drugs because this does nothing good to the body and only puts one in harm's way once under the influence of illegal drugs),” Maranan said.

PH, Brunei fortify anti-drug campaign

In a related development, the PDEA and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of Brunei Darussalam signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on combating illicit traffic and abuse of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, new psychoactive substances, controlled precursors, and essential chemicals.

In a separate statement, PDEA said the MOU focuses on cooperation to combat the illicit traffic and abuse of narcotic drugs – those listed in the schedules annexed to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Officials of the NCB of Brunei Darussalam, headed by its director Dato Paduka Mohammad Zalani, joined PDEA Director General Moro Virgilio Lazo and other top PDEA officials in the ceremonial signing of the MOU on December 14.

The pact aims to promote cooperation between the NCB and PDEA through information exchange and collaboration in investigations involving nationals of both countries, including investigations related to money laundering activities, as well as investigations on trafficking, smuggling, retail, and other aspects of the drug trade.

As part of the exposure visit of the Brunei delegation, the group visited the Dangerous Drugs Board, the ASEAN Training Center for Preventive Drug Education, and the Department of Health’s Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City. (PNA)