A November 26, 2017 Panay News article reported Philippine antidrug officers pounced on an alleged pot plantation in San Enrique, Iloilo. 45-year-old American national Ryan C. Roxas was busted for growing marijuana. Could our island province of Guimaras be the next PDEA, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, target?
Law enforcement seized 14 fully grown marijuana plants from the American’s backyard.
Roxas was arrested by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Region 6 operatives.
Acting on a tip, PDEA agents headed to Roxas’ location, according to PDEA regional director Wardley Getalla.
“We have confirmed that the suspect had been cultivating marijuana since arriving from the United States seven years ago,” Getalla said.
Marijuana leaves and seeds also discovered
Aside from the fully grown marijuana plants, PDEA agents also seized four dried marijuana plants and a steel container with dried marijuana leaves and seeds inside.
Weighing some 300 grams, the items in the steel container had an estimated street value of P100,000, 2,000 US Dollars.
Marijuana is classified a dangerous drug under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, or Republic Act 9165.
As defined by the law, marijuana, which is also called “Indian hemp,” among other names, “embraces every kind, class, genus, or species of the plant Cannabis sativa L.”
The American has Filipino roots
Roxas was detained at the custodial facility of the PDEA Region 6 in Iloilo City.
He is facing charges for violation of sections 16 (Cultivation or Culture of Plants Classified as Dangerous Drugs or are Sources Thereof) and 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs) of RA 9165.
Roxas had Filipino parents but was born in the United States.
Roxas said he planted marijuana for personal consumption despite knowing that it is illegal do so in the Philippines.
But intelligence information reaching the PDEA says otherwise – aside from using the prohibited drug himself, Roxas would also sell some to other users in San Enrique and the neighboring towns, Getalla said.
“Based on the reports we have gathered, the suspect had just sold around 1 to 2 kilos of marijuana,” the PDEA official said.
Roxas did not resist arrest.
The Daily Guardian reported the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) was first to learn that 40 to 50 marijuana plants were being grown in Roxas’ backyard and tipped off the PDEA.
“He could have uprooted a good number of plants before we made the search,” Getalla said.
Guimaras next PDEA target?
Could Guimaras, the island province we call home, be the next PDEA target?
Is it possible that reports of alleged expat marijuana plantations and foreign pot dealers in Guimaras have reached the local PDEA via drop boxes for tips on suspected drug dealers?
The drop boxes for tips were set up by the DILG, The Department of Interior and Local Government, all across the Philippines.
While the DILG is in the process of suspending these drop boxes, it wants to continues its own war on drugs, “Masa Masid,” from which the drop boxes originated.
The Masa Masid was a barangay-based program against crime, corruption and illegal drugs which encouraged volunteerism, while the drop boxes were intended for community feedback enabling people to take an active role in ensuring peace and order. (Source: The Inquirer)
You’re NOT in Kansas anymore
Some foreigners like Roxas seem to be confused.
You’re not in Kansas, anymore, not that weed is legal in Kansas.
But the point is, marijuana is illegal in the Philippines.
While the focus might be on shabu, meth, all illegal drugs are included in the war on drugs.
That includes marijuana plants, leaves and seeds.
Think about it. Do you really want to spend the REST OF YOUR LIFE IN A THIRD WORLD PRISON?
According to Filipino law or to be precise the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002” the penalties for possession of tiny amounts of marijuana carry mandatory minimum sentences of 12 years and cultivation of some cannabis plants will get you a life sentence.
Sale and supply can even carry a death sentence; however this is commuted to a life sentence due to the abolition of the death penalty after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. (Source: zamnesia.com)
Marijuana’ pack seized
After I posted the above article, the Panay News ran this story from nearby Iloilo City:
“Suspected dried marijuana was seized from a resident of Barangay Progreso, Lapuz district.
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operatives arrested the 24-year-old Vince Niel Vasquez on Friday evening, December 1, 2017.
Vasquez sold 5 grams of the substance to an undercover agent for P1,000 at around 11:30 p.m., the PDEA said.
A smartphone was also seized from him.
Vasquez, who was unemployed, admitted selling marijuana.
Facing a charge for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the suspect was detained at the PDEA Region 6 custodial facility.”
Well, I suppose Vasquez doesn’t have to worry about being unemployed now. It looks like he’ll have free room and board for a long time to come.
Do you think the PDEA is only targeting shabu (meth) dealers? Guess again.