Lawmaker seeks stiffer penalty against drug syndicates
THE country’s drug enforcement agencies are supporting the enactment of law that would impose harsher penalty for the top leaders of international and local drug syndicates who are behind the recruitment of Filipino drug mules, according to Rep. Romero Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City).
Quimbo is pushing for the passage of his bill imposing life imprisonment and a fine of P25 million to the suspected leaders of the drug syndicates like the West African Drug Syndicates who are being hunted down by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other police authorities.
Quimbo, author of House Bill 4503 or the proposed “Anti Drug Mule Act of 2012”, said it is unfortunate that Philippine laws against drug and human trafficking have gaps, which drug traffickers abuse to continue their exploitative criminal activities
“This is a great injustice because those responsible and behind these illegal activities remain free,” Quimbo said.
Studies show the reason why the African Drug Syndicate is using the Philippines as their area of operation is because the country has banned the death penalty for heinous crimes including illegal drugs dealing.
Some arrested drug syndicate members in the Philippines can even get out of prison because it has huge amounts of money to facilitate their release.
The study said drug syndicates are evading China because it imposes the death penalty for drug-related offenses.
Quimbo said Filipinos who were lured into drug trafficking are also victims of illegal recruitment and human trafficking and forced to do the illegal job for fear that they may be liquidated by the syndicate.
Drug mules are paid anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 dollars for every successful delivery. A kilo of cocaine now has a market value of P5 million, according to Quimbo.
“The death of Ramon Credo, Elizabeth Batain, and Sally Villanueva in foreign lands shall not be in vain. They were victims of the vicious drug mule scheme of drug traffickers,” Quimbo said, as he expressed confidence the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs would hasten passage of the measure.
The bill defines a drug mule as a person used by another person/s, whether with or without the former’s consent or knowledge, to transport dangerous drugs, of whatever amount and nature, from or through the Philippines to other countries, foreign states, foreign territories or foreign jurisdictions.
Under the bill, if the person used to transport the dangerous drugs is a Filipino citizen he or she shall be considered a drug mule even if the point of origin of the dangerous drugs being transported is not the Philippines or is outside Philippine territories.
“This bill seeks to address these gaps to pave the way for the prosecution of the drug traffickers victimizing countless Filipinos, especially OFWs, and ensure that justice is rightfully served,” Quimbo said.