PBBM never on watchlist - PDEA

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

January 29, 2024, 9:52 am Updated on January 29, 2024, 9:05 pm

MANILA – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday said President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. was never on the drug watchlist of the agency.

PDEA's remark was in reaction to the statement of former president Rodrigo Duterte, claiming that "when he was the mayor of Davao, he was shown evidence by PDEA that on the list, the name of the President was there."

“Former President Duterte was mayor of Davao from 1988 to 1998; 2001 to 2010; then 2013 to 2016. PDEA, on the other hand, was activated on July 30, 2002. When PDEA was activated, it established its National Drug Information System or NDIS, which is still in existence today,” it noted.

The NDIS is the intelligence database of all drug personalities, gathering inputs from counterparts in both law enforcement and intelligence agencies. Pursuant to its mandate under Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, PDEA regularly conducts intelligence workshops in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies to update the NDIS.

“From its inception in 2002 and up to the present, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. was never in our NDIS. It is worthwhile to note that when the former President took over in 2016, his administration came out with a list, which was then initially called the ‘narco-list, sometimes referred to as the Duterte list’, and upon continuing validation and revalidation, it became the Inter-Agency Drug Information Database or IDID. The name of President Marcos is also not on the said list,” read the PDEA statement.

In a news release of the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the President urged the doctors of his predecessor to take good care of him as the effects of the pain reliever Fentanyl may have adverse effects.

“I think it’s the Fentanyl. Fentanyl is the strongest pain killer that you can buy. It is highly addictive and it has very serious side effects, and PRRD has been taking the drug for a very long time now,” Marcos said, as quoted by the PCO.

“When was the last time he told us that he was taking Fentanyl? Mga (About) five, six years ago, something like that. After five, six years, it has to affect him kaya palagay ko, kaya nagkakaganyan (so I think that is why he is behaving like that). So, you know, I hope his doctors take better care of him than this. Hindi pinababayaan itong mga nagiging problema (problems like this should be taken care of),” Marcos added.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) likewise cleared Marcos.

“On the part of the PNP, we have not seen any document or list with the name of our President included. The inter-agency, and as a matter of procedure, the PNP and the PDEA and other agencies for that matter, we have what is called inter-agency cooperation and that includes those who will validate the reports we receive, and this is not only limited to illegal drugs,” PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo told reporters during a press conference in Camp Crame in Quezon City.

May mga nare-receive tayong reports ng possible involvement ng any person for that matter ay 'yun ay vina-validate natin not only within the confines ng PNP. Kasama natin diyan yung ibang ahensya ng gobyerno. In the case of illegal drugs, definitely kasama ang PDEA diyan (We receive reports of possible involvement of any person for that matter and that is what we are validating not only within the confines of the PNP, we include other government agencies. In the case of illegal drugs, PDEA is definitely included in that),” she explained.

Fajardo also said that PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. has been consistent from the very start as he always reminded police officers to uphold and respect the rule of law.

“On the part of the PNP, we always look at everything that happens sa ating kapaligiran (surroundings) from the perspective of a law enforcer. If there is a clear violation of the law then you expect the PNP will implement and enforce the law. The PNP remains a solid organization behind our Chief PNP, behind this administration,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said they are committed to President Marcos’ call for national transformation even as he assured that the military will be "at the vanguard".

This, as the AFP congratulated the Commander-in-Chief for a successful launch of the "Bagong Pilipinas" national effort.

"In our national effort to usher in this vision, the AFP shall remain to be a highly professional military organization, loyal to the constitution, the Chain-of-Command, and our People," Brawner said.

He also said the AFP will continue to be united, competent, capable, and non-partisan and steadfast and committed in its mandate of protecting the people and securing the state from all threats be it foreign and domestic.

"I enjoin our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines to take to heart the message of our Commander-in-Chief and become exemplars of what it means to be a 'Bagong Pilipino' in a Bagong Pilipinas by remaining focused on our mission, true to the tradition of bravery, duty, loyalty, and sacrifice in our noble profession of arms," Brawner said. (With a report from Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)