MANILA, Philippines — The country's police force on Sunday said over 35,000 tablets of highly regulated drugs amounting to more than half a million were seized upon attempts to smuggle it inside the country.
PNP's drug enforcement group said the drugs were found at a cargo facility in Parañaque and were supposedly bound for Zamboanga City.
The parcel contained 26,170 tablets of Diazepam (Valium) seen to various conditions such as anxiety, seizures and withdrawal from alcohol to name a few, and 9,173 tablets of Nitrazepam (MOGADON) that have sedative properties and are used for treating sleeping problems.
Overall, authorities said the confiscated drugs had an amount of P543,297 which apparently came from Pakistan as shipped by "Muztaza and Brother."
DEA's chief, Police Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee, said the diazepam and nitrazepam are including in the United Nations' Single Convention on Pyschotropic Substances under Schedule IV.
The said UN treaty signed in 1971, sought to regulate the use of psychoactive drugs such as the two with 183 countries signing it and the Philippines adopting it in 1996.
Lee added that the drugs were brought to the country without license and product registration from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as import clearance from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-illegal drug campaign, part of his platform that sent him to the country's top post in 2016 from then being a Davao City mayor, has gone continued, four years into his term.
He has long said that the country has developed a narcotics problem, but part of his solution to a supposedly medical issue that is addiction had resulted in nearly 8,000 dead from police operations.
Just this week, the president in an event destroying P7 billion-worth of drugs told cops to be the ones to "shoot first" in anti-drug operations.
"All addicts have guns. If there's even a hint of wrongdoing, any overt act, even if you don't see a gun, just go ahead and shoot him," he said in Filipino. "You should go first, because you might be shot. Shoot him first, because he will really draw his gun on you, and you will die."
His ways had since earned widespread criticism from the international community and human rights groups, but Duterte has vowed that his drug war will persist until he steps down in 2022.
A group of lawyers had since said that charges will meet him once he is out of the presidency and would no longer be immune from suit. — Christian Deiparine
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