New PDEA-7 di­rec­tor named

A new di­rec­tor has been ap­pointed to lead the Philip­pine Drug En­force­ment Agency in Cen­tral Visayas, two days af­ter the PDEA was or­dered to take the lead in Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion's war against drugs.

The Freeman - - NEWS - And Mae Cly­dyl L. Avila/JMD — Er­mida Q. Mo­radas

Emer­son Mar­gate, for­mer PDEA di­rec­tor in Bi­col re­gion, is set to fill the po­si­tion va­cated by for­mer PDEA-7 di­rec­torYogi Fe­limon Ruiz, who has joined the Bu­reau of Cus­toms.

PDEA-7 of­fi­cer-in-charge Ana Lynn Her­nan­dez-Nob, how­ever, said there is still no def­i­nite date as to when Mar­gate could start his du­ties since he still has other of­fi­cial com­mit­ments out­side the coun­try.

Nonethe­less, Nob said PDEA-7 al­ready re­ceived yes­ter­day a mem­o­ran­dum from the cen­tral of­fice des­ig­nat­ing Mar­gate's new as­sign­ment.

Just last Tues­day, Pres­i­dent Duterte an­nounced that the fight against il­le­gal drugs will now be the sole re­spon­si­bil­ity of PDEA. As a re­sult, the po­lice, which have been tak­ing the lead in the drug war since Duterte as­sumed of­fice last year, have al­ready stopped con­duct­ing all anti-drug pro­grams and ini­tia­tives.

Among Mar­gate's chal­lenges in his new as­sign­ment is the lack of man­power. Ac­cord­ing to Her­nan­dez, PDEA-7 only has a to­tal of 95 em­ploy­ees, only 49 of whom are drug en­forcers.

PDEA-7's ju­ris­dic­tion in­cludes the provinces of Cebu, Bo­hol, Siqui­jor, and Ne­gros Ori­en­tal.

PO­LICE SUP­PORT

The po­lice, for their part, are will­ing to sup­port PDEA's fight against drugs in terms of gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence re­ports, es­pe­cially on high-value drug per­son­al­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Jonathan Ca­bal, chief of the Re­gional In­tel­li­gence Di­vi­sion-7.

“We will help the PDEA in what­ever ca­pac­ity, like in­tel­li­gence-gath­er­ing. Yun na­man ang utos ng re­gional di­rec­tor (Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Jose Mario Espino) natin to co­or­di­nate with the PDEA. We can­not sim­ply shy away from our man­date to re­ally serve and pro­tect the pub­lic,” Ca­bal said yes­ter­day.

But Ca­bal clar­i­fied that po­lice will still con­duct drug ar­rest when a sus­pect is caught red-handed or “in fla­grante delicto,” mean­ing an in­di­vid­ual is found in pos­ses­sion of any form of sus­pected shabu or il­le­gal drug para­pher­na­lia.

“Con­sid­er­ing the fact that a drug trans­ac­tion is hap­pen­ing right in front of our eyes, we can­not turn a blind eye on that,” he said.

Ca­bal also dis­missed the pos­si­bil­ity that the sup­ply of il­le­gal drugs will in­crease in the re­gion with the PNP out of the pic­ture when it comes to drug ar­rests and op­er­a­tions. He said he has to see the trend first.

Asked which agency is bet­ter suited for rid­ding the coun­try of drugs, Ca­bal said he would leave it to the com­mu­nity's best judg­ment.

“If the pub­lic wants the PNP to help or be ac­tive again, it will be the com­mu­nity who will be ask­ing or clam­or­ing. In Re­gion-7, we do things dif­fer­ently. We up­hold the hu­man rights, we re­spect the rule of law,” Ca­bal said.

Mean­while, all drug en­force­ment units in Cebu City Po­lice Of­fice and Cebu Pro­vin­cial Po­lice Of­fice will be dis­banded and aug­mented to other po­lice units for in­ves­ti­ga­tion, traf­fic, or pa­trol.

Cebu City Po­lice Of­fice Di­rec­tor Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Joel Do­ria said his per­son­nel will now de­vote their at­ten­tion to curb­ing mur­der, homi­cide, theft, rob­bery, phys­i­cal in­juries, car and mo­tor­cy­cle theft, and rape cases.

Do­ria as­sured though that Oplan Poke­mon, a weekly drive in­volv­ing all of the 11 po­lice sta­tions of the city, will con­tinue but with a new fo­cus on il­le­gal gam­blers and other city or­di­nance vi­o­la­tors.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF PIA-5

Emer­son Mar­gate (right), PDEA di­rec­tor in Bi­col re­gion, re­ceives a plaque of ap­pre­ci­a­tion from Naga City Dan­ger­ous Drugs Board ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Jose Im­por­tante af­ter a Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Coun­cil en­hance­ment train­ing in Naga City last March. Mar­gate has been named the new di­rec­tor of PDEA-Cen­tral Visayas.

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