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Bato eyes Colombia tactics in drug war

Director General Ronald dela Rosa, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), is itching to implement the Colombia strategy in combatting narcotics problems amid the on-going war against proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

Fresh from his five-day invitational visit to the Latin American country which is notoriously known for illegal drugs woes in the past, dela Rosa said he had learned a lot during the discussion and exchange of ideas with his counterparts in Colombia.

“That was a very productive trip. Very professional and I have heard a lot of good practices and hopefully we could use all of these good practices here,” said dela Rosa.

“But I don’t want to disclose it because this may give the drug lords the idea on how to go against these strategies which in turn would render them ineffective,” he added.

He, however, said that the visit was very productive as they even went to the extent of going various areas in Colombia to observe and learn of the strategies which were and continuously being implemented by the police.

While he would not disclose the strategies his plans to localize it, dela Rosa emphasized the need for the whole-government approach in deaing with the problem, especially the Congress.

Dela Rosa also disclosed the synergy between the Executive and Legislative branches of government in Colombia wherein the latter would empower the former in law enforcement campaign against illegal drugs.

For instance, he said the Congress of Colombia gave its police force the power to wiretap on suspected drug lords and drug offenders.

“The police there are equipped with the power to wiretap and they also have the power to forfeit properties of drug lords which are considered fruits of their illegal activities,” said dela Rosa.

In the Philippine setting, wiretapping is against the law and police forces have to secure first the approval of the court to conduct wiretapping activities. The use of information obtained from wiretapping is inadmissible.

The Philippines is also having a serious problem on the issue of forfeiture, as revealed in past cases wherein convicted grafters in the government were still able to keep their properties.

Citing his own experience, dela Rosa said the PNP was able to identify some properties of slain Central Visayas drug lord identified as Jaguar in various places in the country. (Aaron Recuenco)