Death for Drug Traffickers

Mindanao representatives, Rufus and Maximo Rodriguez, pushed for HB 1213, a similar measure filed in the previous Congress prescribing a harsher penalty for foreign drug traffickers.   This measure seeks to amend R.A. 9165 or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002” by adopting the higher prescribed penalty, including death, of the national law of a foreign drug trafficker, to diminish its prevalence thereby limiting the establishment of foreign drug cartels in the Philippines.

Mindanao representatives, Rufus and Maximo Rodriguez, pushed for HB 1213, a similar measure filed in the previous Congress prescribing a harsher penalty for foreign drug traffickers.   This measure seeks to amend R.A. 9165 or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002” by adopting the higher prescribed penalty, including death, of the national law of a foreign drug trafficker, to diminish its prevalence thereby limiting the establishment of foreign drug cartels in the Philippines.

The grim news about the execution last July of a 35-year-old Filipina caught carrying at least six kilos of heroin in China in 2011 brought to the fore once again the issue of Filipinos being recruited in the trade and trafficking of illicit drugs. Based on DFA records, the number of Filipinos detained around the world for drug-related offenses has reached 696 as of August 2013, with 212 Filipino drug couriers imprisoned in China.

The authors said that, “while there is no reason to question the laws of foreign countries, we must ensure that our countrymen do not suffer the short end of the stick.” They also said that there is a need to amend our laws to ensure that foreign nationals caught in violating our laws on drugs are convicted of the harshest penalties their national law imposes. 

However, RA 9346 banned the imposition of death penalties in the Philippines. Ironically, foreign drug traffickers suffer lesser penalties when caught here in the country while Filipinos abroad caught of drug trafficking stare death in the face despite pleas from the Philippine government.

According to the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime (PCTC), marijuana, shabu, and ecstasy remain the preferred drugs by drug users. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) pointed out that some areas of the country are conducive for marijuana cultivation, especially in Northern Luzon, Eastern Visayas and Mindanao. Since 2010, drug syndicates established small-scale laboratories and kitchen-type clandestine laboratories to lower the risk of detection of shabu production. Medium-type to kitchen-type shabu laboratories have resorted to operations in villages, condominiums and other private properties due to the lower risk of detection these locations provide.

PDEA conducted nationwide operation from January to December 2012 and arrested at least 10,159 persons - 5,724 are drug pushers while 1,965 are users. Last December 2013, PDEA officials reported that a Mexican drug trafficking ring - Sinaloa drug syndicate headed by one of the world’s most wanted men - has penetrated the Philippine market and seized 84 kilos of shabu in Batangas. 

As a Catholic nation, death penalty has always been a moral issue tossed around in previous Congresses. Despite the spate of heinous crimes in the country, the Aquino government still rejected the revival of capital punishment and believes that “this is not the only solution to deter crimes”. If penalty of life imprisonment failed to prevent heinous crimes such as drug trafficking from happening in the country, we should brace ourselves for we are endangered by these crimes every day.   

 

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