Press Release
November 17, 2010

Pia raises alarm on growing cases of Filipino 'drug mules'

Senator Pia S. Cayetano is calling on the Senate to investigate the alarming increase in the number of cases of Filipinos being victimized by international drug syndicates and used as 'drug mules,' most of them women.

In a privilege speech delivered on Wednesday, Cayetano said 630 Filipinos are currently detained in prisons facing drug trafficking cases. China has the biggest number with 250 detainees, 75 of whom are already on death row.

"What is more disturbing is that majority of the drug mules are women," added the lady senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Youth, Women and Family Relations. She noted that women make up 62 percent, or six out of every ten Filipinos detained abroad for drug trafficking.

She said drug syndicates have been employing individuals to become drug mules in the guise of recruiting them for legitimate work overseas. Drug mules are used to transport illegal drugs through various means, including handling sealed packages, swallowing the substances or hiding these in their underwear, and even surgically implanting the drug packages in their abdominal cavity or placing these inside the mules' genitalia.

She noted that last month, a Filipina was sentenced to death for drug trafficking by the Yogyakarta's Lower Court in Indonesia. Also just last week, a Filipina was arrested for carrying almost two kilos of heroin in Guangzhou, China.

Citing reports from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), she said drug syndicates prefer women drug mules due to leniency in the inspection of women in airports. This in turn makes women prey to the syndicates.

"Drug syndicates have lured our women to allow themselves to be used in this illegal drug trade with a promise of a better life. Filipino women choose to leave the country thinking they have legitimate job offers from drug syndicates. To make it even harder to resist, these drug syndicates facilitate their travel by providing for their plane ticket and even giving them pocket money to spend."

Once they get to their destination, however, the victims are left with no choice but to follow the orders of the drug syndicates for fear that they might get harmed, she added.

"Syndicates even go to the extent of having relationships with Filipinas. Members of drug syndicates con them into becoming drug mules by first courting them through internet chat rooms then making them their girlfriend or wife."

Cayetano is slated to file a resolution directing the appropriate committees of the Senate to investigate, in aid of legislation, the alarming increase in cases of Filipinos, especially women, who are being used as drug mules by international syndicates.

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