Press Release
February 22, 2006

To lead Senate probe of drug abuse in the country and Pasig shabu mart

Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, will lead the Senate inquiry tomorrow (February 23, Thursday) at 1:30 pm on the worsening incidence of drug abuse in the country as well as the issues surrounding the recently raided shabu (metamphetamine hydrochloride) stalls in Pasig City.

"There is no question about it drug abuse remains a clear and present danger in our society. Besides the use or abuse of illegal drugs, it spawns other problems such heightened criminality. More often than not, criminals are also hooked on drugs. Thus, these two menaces of the society come hand in hand," says Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party.

The public hearing tomorrow will be conducted by Villar's committee jointly with the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and is an offshoot of the Senate Resolutions separately filed by Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Bong Revilla.

According to Villar, "Like criminals, drug syndicates are becoming more and more aggressive. For instance the shabu-selling shanties discovered and raided in Pasig are just a stone's throw away from a police precinct and just 500 meters away from a police headquarters."

Villar cites though, "We will not zero in solely on the Pasig shabu mart, we will probe the rampant and continuous proliferation of illegal drugs in the country. Besides shabu, which is still the most commonly abused drugs, there are other dangerous drugs the abuse of which we also need to closely watch. These include ketamine which has become popular among youngsters as a 'party drug'."

Santiago's Senate Resolution 442 directs Villar's committee to conduct an inquiry on the liabilities of certain public officials for the operation of the alleged drug compound in Barangay Palatiw, Pasig City. Meanwhile, Revilla's Senate Resolution 446 directs the committee to investigate the seemingly uncontrolled proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.

Expected to attend tomorrow's hearing are: Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Arturo Lomibao; PNP NCRPO Director Vidal Querol; PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force Head Marcelo Elle Jr.; Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Director General Anselmo Avenido Jr.; Pasig Mayor Vicente Eusebio; Barangay Sto. Tomas Chairman Jesus Viray; Former PNP Eastern Police District Director Oscar Valenzuela; Former Pasig City Police Chief Raul Medina and other PNP officers.

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