More minors in illegal drug trade: PDEA
Drug syndicates taking advantage of law protecting minors?
MANILA, Philippines - More minors are now getting involved in illegal drug activities, said Jose S. Gutierrez, Jr., Director General Undersecretary of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).
From 2003 to date, 854 minors from ages 7 to 17 have been arrested for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act 9165).
In 2011, so far, 85 minors have been caught violating the illegal drugs law.
Of those arrested minors, 34% have acted as pushers as directed by drug syndicates. Others cultivated marijuana plants or worked in clandestine laboratories.
Most of the minors arrested for illegal drug trade worked in Metro Manila and the Central Visayas Region, said PDEA.
On June 10, PDEA turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) a 17-year-old boy caught involved in illegal drug activities. He was caught with 2 adult drug pushers in Makati City on June 7 after search warrants by the PDEA Metro Manila Regional Office (PDEA MMRO) and Special Enforcement Service (SES) were implemented.
According to PDEA, since minors aged 15 and below are exempted from criminal liability by virtue of Section 6 of Republic Act 9344 (Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006), drug syndicates have been taking advantage of minors, who are just turned over to the DSWD when arrested.
Gutierrez, however, said that the 17-year-old boy turned over to DSWD on June 10 will be criminally liable under RA 9344 "if the court finds that he acted with discernment in violating the anti-drug law," PDEA said in a statement.