PDEA asks Lazada to explain alleged sale of drug paraphernalia

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Thursday asked online shopping company Lazada to explain why drug paraphernalia are allegedly available for sale on its platform.

PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino said they discovered the availability of illegal drugs paraphernalia on Lazada after a buy-bust operation at a hotel in Pasig City hotel on Thursday. He said the drug suspect admitted to buying his "tooters," a cylindrical device used to snort powdered drugs, from Lazada.

"We need an explanation from the Lazada side, why are they selling these particular paraphernalia? The mere fact they are selling this one is unauthorized. It’s illegal," he said in a media briefing.

He said the tooter can’t be used for any other purposer than consuming illegal drugs. He raised the possibility that illegal drugs are also sold on the online shopping platform.

"It was found out for the first time na ang tooter nao-order sa Lazada. So nung una we don’t believe them until we found these items on Lazada. So kung merong mga improvised tooter na binebenta itong mga 'to, most likely, baka meron na ring droga na binebenta roon," Aquino said.

[Translation: It was found out for the first time that tooter can be ordered from Lazada. At first we did not believe them until we found these items on Lazada. So if they are improvised tooter being sold there, most likely, they may also be selling drugs there].

Aside from the alleged availability of illegal drug paraphernalia on online shopping platforms, Aquino said drug pushers are getting more clever. He said illegal drugs can now be delivered using the delivery app Lalamove. He said the buyer can pay the seller using the online money transfer platform GCash so they don’t have to meet in person.

"If you want to order drugs from them, gumagamit lang ng gcash. Online pa rin para maka-order ng drugs sa kanila," he said.

[Translation: If you want to order drugs from them, they just use GCash. You can order drugs online from them].

In a statement Thursday, Lazada said they were aware of PDEA's investigation on "alleged sales of drug paraphernalia on shopping platforms."

The company said they took concerns about products sold on their platform very seriously, explaining sellers "signify and declare" that they are fully compliant with laws.

For their part, Lalamove said their partner riders are strictly ordered not to accept illegal items.

"Unfounded claims that bring disrepute to the Lalamove platform not only hurt partner drivers who work very hard to provide for their families, but also SMEs that rely on it to support their needs," the company said in a statement.

Both companies said they would cooperate with authorities in the investigation.

CNN Philippines is striving to get a comment from GCash.

CNN Philippines' Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.