Sotto: DOJ freed 'drug lord'

Posted at 08/27/2013 6:24 PM

MANILA - Senator Vicente Sotto III on Monday accused the Department of Justice (DOJ) of releasing a "big fish" in the illegal drugs industry.

In a privilege speech, Sotto said the DOJ dismissed a complaint against a certain Mark Tan who was caught by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in 2012.

Sotto said PDEA has been investigating Tan's group since 2010 and conducted several test-buys and buy-bust operations.

"But despite all the efforts of the government, we still end up losing these suspected drug lords," Sotto said.

Sotto said the DOJ dismissed the drug pushing charge against Tan for lack of probable cause despite clear evidence against him.

"Kung tutuusin, probable cause lang ang kailangan para masampahan ng kaso si Mr. Tan pero sa resolution ng DOJ, mukhang naging trial court na rin sila," he said.

"The DOJ should have let the court appreciate and weigh the evidence, determine the relevance and the authenticity of the evidence presented," he added.

Sotto said Tan's case is a "very serious and urgent matter."

His proposed solution is the merging of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) into a Presidential Drug Enforcement Authority, which will attack the drug problem through a more wholistic approach.