News Release

PBBM’s drug war approach nets ‘biggest drug haul’ in PH without shedding blood, losing lives

Over two tons of shabu with an estimated market value of PhP13.3 billion were seized on April 15 by the Philippine National Police (PNP) at a checkpoint in Barangay Pinagkrusan, Alitagtag, Batangas.

It was the “biggest drug haul in Philippine history” without shedding blood or lives lost, according to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“This is the biggest shipment of shabu na nahuli natin, but not one person died. Walang namatay, walang nagputukan, walang nasaktan. Basta’t in-operate natin nang dahan-dahan, ‘yun naman dapat ang approach,” President Marcos told reporters.

President Marcos said that respecting human rights even in drug war operations is what matters most in his administration while ensuring to put an end to illegal drugs operations and the entry of prohibited narcotics into the Philippines.

He added that the illegal drugs seized did not originate from the Philippines.

“Para sa akin, ‘yun dapat ang approach sa drug war na ang pinaka-importante is matigil natin ang pag-ship ng mga drugs dito sa pagpasok sa Pilipinas. Pero the one thing that’s clear, pinasok ito, hindi ito galing dito sa Pilipinas,” he said.

P/Major Luis De Luna told reporters that they were conducting a regular checkpoint in Barangay Pinagkrusan on April 15, 2024, Monday when they flagged down a suspicious passenger van, resulting in the seizure of the illegal drugs.

“Mayroon po kaming regular checkpoint na isinasagawa dito sa Bayan ng Alitagtag, as part of the intensified crime prevention. So, part of it, pina-flag down po namin ang mga sasakyan,” P/Major De Luna told reporters.

“Kung mayroong suspicious, sina-subject po namin for inspection po. Kagaya po ng nangyari dito sa pangyayaring ito, ‘yun po ang naging resulta, nasabat po namin ang ganitong kalaking halaga po ng shabu po,” he added.

The driver of the passenger van was arrested and charged for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and is currently under police custody while P/Major De Luna refused to give further details pending investigation of the case. Police did not identify the suspect.

President Marcos said that his administration is serious about the illegal drugs campaign as he assured the Filipino people that they will run after illegal drugs syndicates including the powerful ones, or even those connected with the government, or politicians.

He emphasized that illegal drugs have no place in his administration.

“Patuloy talaga, marami talaga tayong nahuhuli. This is the approach that we are taking to drug war. Ang ating ginagawa, we take apart, binabaklas natin ‘yung mga sindikato, kahit sinuman ang nakita natin may kasabwat, may kasabwat dito sa drug trade kahit sinuman,” he said.

“Kahit pulitiko na powerful, o pulis o kung sinuman ay talagang iniimbestigahan natin kaya’t nagkaroon ng ganitong klaseng mga operation at nakahuli tayo ng kalakilaki na 1.8 tons,” the chief executive added.

President Marcos said that the government’s anti-illegal drug operation will continue as he emphasized that “there’s no silver bullet” to this operation.

He added that the government will also expand its illegal drug program, including working closely with the Interpol and with the intelligence and drug agencies around the world including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

While running after illegal drug syndicates is the main focus of the administration’s illegal drugs program, President Marcos said that they will ensure that all drug operations are still within the bounds of the of law “so that the cases can be filed and the syndicates can be identified.”

“There’s no other solution but to keep doing this,” he said.

Asked if he intends to shift tactics in the illegal drug operation, President Marcos said that he does not see any reason to change the way how the law enforcers are conducting their operations, citing the success of the recent operation in Batangas.

“It’s the most successful approach to the drug war, so far. So, why change it? We won’t change it; we’ll continue to do what we are doing … and the reason I think is that so far we’ve been able to see such a big amount of generally shabu or methamphetamine,” he said.

“So, we’ll keep going, we just keep doing what we’re doing,” he added.

Records showed that this is already the biggest drug haul, surpassing the previous record of 1,589 teabags of shabu worth PhP11 billion seized in Infanta, Quezon in March 2022.

Government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign from July 2022 to December 2023 showed there were already 36,803 operations conducted resulting in the arrest of 49,700 drug suspects, of which, 3,284 are considered high value targets. |PND