Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Bohol sidelines drug-test
Equipment buy proposal

TAGBILARAN CITY, July 4 (PIA)—In the serious drive against drugs, is there really a need for Bohol to purchase special equipment to test illegal substances immediately after raids and busts?

The purchase in question is an expensive special drug test implement that can accurately tell even the qualitative content of a drug sample.    

The question surfaced over the most immediate need to confirm if the bust haul was indeed drugs and not any other adulterating substance, that the quality is indeed high and that the quantity remains unquestionable in after operation reports. 

An incident over a huge drug haul during a raid on a suspected drug personality in Tagbilaran causes so much stir as later laboratory tests results showed the haul was nothing but alum.

This raised eyebrows as accusations of reduced weight and volumes of illegal substances before these evidence get to the crime laboratory have compounded the reasons to test and helped push members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) to determine if, aside from the PNP Crime Laboratory set up, buying special equipment to test drugs is necessary.

Bohol police crime laboratory operatives helping the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in enforcing anti drug operations however said the equipment present now that the PNP Crime Lab in Camp Dagohoy suffices.

The equipment which police authorities propose would be used to determine the purity and degree of adulteration for confiscated methamphithamine hydrochloride otherwise called shabu.

“It can cost millions,” PSupt Nicomedes Olaivar however said.

Wanting to weigh the necessity of the equipment, council members asked how the current tests are done.

Accusations that authorities could have something to do with a possible swap of the confiscated items into something useless, or deducting sizable quantities of drugs from confiscated volume to allow suspects to post bail are rife.

But as to the drugs being adulterated, Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Commander Supt Olaivar admitted that due to the street value of drugs, adding alum to shabu is a usual practice.

Meanwhile, PDEA Bohol agent Maria Chona Egam as well as PDEA 7 Deputy Director Wardley Getalla reported that drugs here are sold as low as P300 per small pack.

Adulterating these with alum increases the weight and simultaneously increases the price, heaping profits, PSuperintendent Olaivar shared to the council.

The SWAT head hinted that the equipment may be needed to perform confirmatory tests [on drugs] prior to a major buy-bust.

As such, he said a gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) test on the purity percentage of a confiscated shabu can help police authorities determine the quality of the illegal substance confiscated.

The GC/MS testing methodology is used to confirm presumptive drug screen specimens by providing the molecules identification and their varying degrees, says LabCorp.com.

But, Bohol prosecutor Macario Delusa clarified that the degree of purity of a substance is not any obstacle to generate a case worth prosecution in courts.

This also means that even if the volume is adulterated, as long as it tests positive for illegal substances, it already warrants the filing of suits.

Meanwhile, PDEA Bohol agent Egam explained that operatives leading the buy busts or the raids are held responsible for the custody of the evidence gathered and are responsible for bringing these to the crime laboratory immediately.

She added that the crime lab does the initial confirmatory tests through re-agents and issues chemists’ findings sufficient for the filing of appropriate cases.


With this, the PPOC believes the acquisition of a GC/MS is not yet a priority, thus the council sidelined the proposal. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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