Protecting the source of information

Opinion Sideglance

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde is correct in his assumption that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) may have vital information about an alleged P6.8-billion pesos worth of shabu may have slipped through the country via four magnetic lifters found in Cavite recently.

This is actually an offshoot of an earlier interception by the PDEA, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) last August 7 of a magnetic lifter at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) which contained more or less 500 kilos of shabu.

It can be recalled that the BOC disputed the subsequent report by the PDEA that another four magnetic lifters found in Cavite two days later after the above first interception also contained shabu and which was later on spirited out by Chinese looking individuals.

In a House congressional inquiry on the matter the BOC disputed the report of the PDEA and said that chemists who conducted swab tests on the four magnetic lifters found in a warehouse in General Mariano Alvarez town in Cavite yielded negative results for the presence of drugs.

On the other hand the PDEA is maintaining its position that the said four magnetic lifters contained around 6.8 billion worth of shabu.

Just yesterday PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde has urged the PDEA and the BOC to stop the blame game regarding the matter but also surmised that the PDEA may have information that indeed the said shipment of shabu has entered the country.

From an intelligence operation standpoint it may well be true that the PDEA has information relative to the said shipment of shabu and since they are the primary agency task with combatting illegal drugs then logic will tell us that they possess more intelligence data on illegal drugs than the BOC. In fact it would not be farfetched to believe that the intercepted 500 kilos of shabu from the MICT was in fact actionable intelligence that originated from the sources of PDEA.

But just like in the media where you need to protect your sources of critical information, the PDEA, PNP and the BOC merely announced that they were able to intercept a shipment of shabu contained in a magnetic lifter at the MICT without further going into the details of how they were able to sniff out the shipment much less pinpoint with accuracy the exact location of the illegal drugs which, per news reports were contained in tightly sealed packages that would have deterred detection by the authorities.

The war on drugs in the country has reached a new level of sophistication on the part of drug syndicates with their use of large sealed metal containers that at first glance would not be suspected of containing the illegal drug shabu. Of course along with that level of sophistication is the deviousness and audacity of these drug groups in attempting to slipped into this country their illegal product.

Albayalde is also correct in saying that instead of PDEA and the BOC blaming each other it would certainly be better for them to simply do their jobs better in discovering and preventing the entry of illegal drugs in our country.