Press Release
August 17, 2016

Bills to beef up war vs drugs get Senate attention Thursday

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson, will conduct a public hearing tomorrow, August 18, to discuss several proposed measures aimed at beefing up the administration's war on drugs.

Lacson said the committee would tackle Senate Bill No. 48 which aims to amend the Anti-Wire Tapping Law (Republic Act No. 4200), thus allowing law enforcement officers, with a court order, to wire-tap on violators of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Senator Gregorio Honasan II filed a similar bill (Senate Bill No. 21) to authorize the "wiretapping, interception, surveillance and recording of communications of pushers, manufacturers, cultivators, importers and financiers of dangerous drugs."

In addition to RA 9165 violations, Lacson said crimes of coup d'etat, conspiracy and proposal to commit coup d'etat, robbery in band, brigandage/highway robbery and violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (Republic Act No. 9160) will also be included to the list of offenses wherein law enforcement officers with a court order will not be penalized under the Anti-Wire Tapping Law.

The committee will also discuss a proposed measure authored by Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III which seeks to provide "affordable drug rehabilitation treatment" for Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) beneficiaries. Under Senate Bill No. 8, Sotto said, drug abuse and dependency treatment will be included in the personal services covered by PhilHealth. He said the bill also seeks the inclusion of accredited rehabilitation centers in the PhilHealth coverage.

Sotto cited a 2009 survey which showed that there are 1.7 million drug dependents in the country. Of the number, the survey said, only 2,000 dependents actually underwent treatment and rehabilitation.

"One of the pervading ills at present is rampant drug addiction. What has been overlooked and has not been properly addressed is the rehabilitation of drug dependents, providing for such facilities and medical treatment to ensure their complete recovery and eventual social reintegration," Sotto said.

The committee will also discuss Senate Bill No. 3, also filed by Sotto, which aims to create the Presidential Anti-Drug Authority (PRADA) and Senate Resolution No. 19, filed by Senator Bam Aquino, directing the appropriate Senate committees to conduct an inquiry on effective drug prevention and intervention for the youth.

The committee has invited several guests to attend the hearing including Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Isidro Lapeña, Dangerous Drugs Board Chairman Felipe Rojas, National Bureau of Investigation Director Dante Gierran, Bureau of Corrections Officer-in-Charge Rolando Asuncion, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director General Oscar Albayalde, Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency Legal Officer Melanie Albores, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Legal Division Chief Paulino Moreno Jr. and Philhealth Quality Assurance Group Vice President Francisco Soria. (Apple Buenaventura)

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