Press Release
October 23, 2006

Drilon hits Dangerous Drugs Board's plan to
buy luxury vehicles worth P7.5 million

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Franklin M. Drilon lashed at the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) for its plan to spend over P7.5 million next year to purchase luxury vehicles.

According to the proposed 2007 budget of the DBB, Drilon noted, the money to buy the luxury vehicles will be sourced from the agency's Special fund that supposed to support the government's various drug rehabilitation centers, Drilon said.

"Why do you need to purchase luxury vehicles? How does that help policy formulation on dangerous drugs?" Drilon asked DDB head Secretary Anselmo Avenido, during the finance committee hearing on the proposed P56.563 million budget of DDB.

Drilon said DBB records showed that the agency's special account came from the earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes and the Philippine Racing Club amounting to over P70 million each year. It is provided for in their respective charters that a certain portion of their gross receipts shall be used for the rehabilitation of drug addicts, he noted.

"They are proposing to buy one Toyota Camry and six Toyota Innova units. This has nothing to do with drug rehabilitation. Maybe for the rehabilitation of DDB board members but certainly nothing to do with the rehabilitation of drug dependents in the drug centers all over the Philippines, " Drilon said.

Drilon also said he will not hesitate to recommend a P1 budget for DDB if they could not explain and could not stop the purchase of these luxury vehicles, which is contrary to Administrative Order No. 3 prohibiting the purchase of luxury vehicles.

Drilon was shocked to find out from Avenido that the board's support for rehabilitation centers would include more than P7.5 million to purchase seven luxury vehicles.

"How can you make a proposal using an account for the maintenance of drug rehabilitation center for purchase of luxury vehicles? Do you think this is proper?" Drilon asked Avenido.

"I've been told, Your Honor, that the board and the secretariat do not have enough vehicles for the pursuit of their functions," Avenido replied.

Earlier, Drilon announced that he was withholding approval of the proposed 2007 budgets of the DDB and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) totaling to P740 million for next year until the two agencies could explain what happened to the over 1,906 kilos of missing seized shabu, estimated to be worth P3.8 billion.

Drilon found that the total shabu seized was 3,730,744 grams and 461,260 grams have been destroyed and burned. At the end of 2004, PDEA have an inventory of only 3,269,484 grams of shabu.

"But if you look at the beginning balance of 2005, per the report of PDEA for 2005, the beginning balance is only 1,362,793 grams. Therefore from December 31, 2004 to January 1, 2005 shabu inventory was reduced by 1,906,690 grams or 1,906 kilos worth P3.8 billion. I am asking these two agencies to account for these unaccounted for seized shabu," Drilon said.

Drilon also discovered that PDEA have seized 110 tablets of ecstasy as indicated on page 16 of their 2005 report, which suddenly disappeared on page 23 of the same report.

"I am asking them to explain all of these because it would appear that something fishy is happening. This is the rationale behind Section 21 the Dangerous Drugs Act, or the so-called Drilon amendment, that requires the immediate burning of the seized shabu within a 24 hour period. This is not being followed," Drilon said.

Drilon also urged Undersecretary Dionisio Santiago, who assumed leadership of PDEA five months ago, to look into this discrepancy in their inventory of seized illegal drugs.

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