MANILA, Philippines — Some 35 Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) personnel underwent a workshop in a bid to strengthen their financial investigation capability to uncover drug money trail and prevent drug lords from using their money and influence to evade punishment.
PDEA Director General Aaron N Aquino said the workshop is timely because “the purpose of this activity is truly very crucial to the success of our operations against the multi-billion pesos illegal drugs industry”.
“The efforts and resources used by PDEA in tracking down and arresting illegal drug dealers and manufacturers will just definitely go to waste if we cannot freeze the assets of these criminals while they are being prosecuted,” Aquino said during the four-day workshop on Financial Investigation that was also attended by personnel from Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan from November 20 to 24.
“We cannot just go on arresting and filing the cases while the drug lords are freely using drug money to buy their way out of prison,” Aquino said.
He said PDEA needs to improve its intelligence operations, investigation procedures and collaboration with all types of financial institutions and AMLC.
The PDEA chief added that PDEA’s Financial Investigation Unit must undergo intense training in understanding the financial systems of the government and take a closer look in the circles of compliance officers, legal counsels, bankers, regulators, prosecutors, accountants, other law enforcement officers, and information technology professionals.
“In this manner, we will have a fighting chance to follow the drug money, assess and identify the trail, secure documents and evidence and make a strong case to freeze drug money before it gets to the mainstream economy,” Aquino said.-PNA