Some of the cocaine dumped by drug syndicates off the Eastern Samar coast last December may have drifted to nearby coasts and other islands, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Saturday. The two tons of high-grade cocaine bricks, contained in big packets and allegedly dumped by a Chinese seagoing vessel near Eastern Samar, may have also drifted to nearby provinces due to wind movement, PDEA Director-General Dionisio Santiago said in a statement. “While it was logical to assume that Samar was the most probable and nearest destination of the cocaine bricks, we overlooked the fact that during that time when the cargo was thrown overboard, the south-easterly monsoon and Pacific winds (amihan) were so strong," he said.
This page requires a higher version browser The weather condition may have also caused the sacks of illegal drugs to burst and disintegrate while at sea — the reason why authorities would probably not be able to recover the entire two tons of cocaine, according to Santiago.
The PDEA chief said that more than 500 kilograms of cocaine have already been recovered by the agency since the start of the year. Just last week, 131 bricks of high-grade cocaine were recovered by authorities from locals who voluntarily turned over the illegal drugs they picked up from nearby shorelines.
Inspector Alex Robin, chief of police in Llorente town where the first few bricks of cocaine were recovered, said some of the locals are still holding on to the illegal drug. “Ang iba, gusto nila itago, kasi may mga tao na pumupunta rito na gusto bilhin. Umaabot ng P20,000 hanggang P50,000 ang presyo (Some want to hold on to the bricks, because there are outsiders who come in and offer to buy these at prices ranging from P20,000 to P50,000)," he said in an interview aired over GMA News’ “24 Oras." PDEA Eastern Visayas chief Julius Navales meanwhile said that some of the drug syndicates who have bought the cocaine from residents even posed as members of the agency. “Kalimitan dito, maraming nagpapanggap na PDEA, but in fact, ito rin ang sindikato rito sa lugar (The usual thing here is that many are posing as PDEA agents, but in fact they belong to the syndicate)," he said in a separate television interview. Santiago, for his part, appealed to residents who are still in possession of the illegal drugs to immediately turnover the cocaine bricks to authorities. “We are reiterating our call for anyone in possession of these cocaine bricks or sachets to immediately turn them over to PDEA and police authorities so that they can avail of the minimal rewards and avoid criminal liabilities. We are serious in our efforts to suppress the spread of this illegal substance. Do not wait for the long arm of the law to catch you," he said. Just last Sunday, three people, including the nephew of Eastern Samar Conrado Nicart, were arrested by police in Metro Manila for allegedly offering to sell cocaine recovered from the province. (See: E. Samar gov's nephew, 2 others nabbed for selling cocaine)
—Andreo C. Calonzo/JV, GMANews.TV