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U.S. Fears Drug Money May Taint Philippine Elections

Inquirer.net, Cynthia Balana Posted: Mar 03, 2010

MANILAThe U.S. State Department has expressed deep concern that drug money could affect the outcome of the May 10 elections in the Philippines.

In its 2010 international narcotics control strategy report released in Washington on Tuesday, the state department said the Philippines drug problem continued to pose a significant national threat, despite reports of a possible decline in the supply and demand of illegal drugs in parts of the country. The annual report to the U.S. Congress, prepared in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act, said that foreign-based drug trafficking operations remained the biggest challenge to Philippine law enforcement.

With the upcoming 2010 elections there is fear that illicit narcotics funds may affect election results, the 668-page report said on the section on the Philippines. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has publicly expressed fears that illicit narcotics money could influence the 2010 elections, and has pledged to pursue any evidence of such influence in order to be able to carry out arrests, it said.

The value of illegal drugs trafficked in the Philippines was placed at $6.4 billion to $8.4 billion annually. The top three areas most affected were Cebu, northern Mindanao and Metro Manila.

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