www.mapinc.org/safe/v02/n279/a01.html DEATH PENALTY EYED FOR 'ECSTASY' USERS Soon, You Can Die From "Ecstasy." Ecstasy, the drug of choice of scions of well-to-do families and habitues of chic bars, may soon be included in the list of illegal substances that merit the death penalty. Senate President Franklin Drilon said over the weekend the Senate has been rushing the passage of an amended version of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 that would include in the list of banned drugs Ecstasy or its generic names "pharametoux amphetamine, trimethoxy amphetamine, lysergic acid diethylamine, gamma hydroxe buterate" and other similar "designer" drugs. The proposed Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 is being sponsored on the floor by Sen. Robert Barbers, chairman of the committee on public order and illegal drugs. Under the proposed act, mere possession of 10 grams of Ecstasy would carry the penalty of life imprisonment or death, Drilon said. The four main features of the bill are: the inclusion of Ecstasy and similar designer drugs in the scope of the Dangerous Drugs Law; the creation of a Presidential Drug Enforcement Agency ( PDEA ) to strengthen the illegal drugs campaign; the substantial reduction of the quantity of illegal drugs that merits the maximum penalty; and the destruction or burning of shabu and other illegal drugs within 24 hours from seizure or confiscation. As proposed, a person possessing 99 grams or more of shabu shall be meted life imprisonment to capital punishment. Under the present law, one has to possess 200 grams or more to merit the maximum penalty. The prescribed limits for other banned drugs, like opium, heroin, cocaine, morphine and marijuana, are similarly reduced. The proposed PDEA, similar to the United States' Drug Enforcement Agency, is meant to give more teeth to the government's war against illegal drugs. Other police agencies will continue to help in the campaign with the PDEA acting as primary agency. Drilon said the provision on the destruction of seized illegal drugs within 24 hours is meant to ensure that these drugs will not fall into the wrong hands given the inadequate facilities of the government to securely store them. "There have been cases wherein seized drugs got lost or were stolen by some scalawags in the police force," he said. "We want to ensure that seized drugs are not recycled in the market."