2 tons of shabu set to go up in smoke

Published July 20, 2020, 12:00 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is set to destroy some two tons of shabu that were seized in various police operations since October last year.

PNP chief Police Gen. Archie Gamboa said they are now coordinating with the courts handling their cases to expedite the inspection and immediately schedule dates of destruction.

The destruction was a result of the decision of the Supreme Court through Court Administrator Midas Marquez who issued a directive reminding the courts that confiscated illegal drugs must be destroyed within 72 hours after the filing of the case.

The Supreme Court, thru the Office of the Court Administrator, issued Circular No. 118-2020 last July 15 reminding all Regional Trial Courts to strictly comply with the requirements of Section 21 (4) of Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) on the immediate destruction of illegal drugs confiscated during police operations.

RA 9165 provides that “after the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within 72 hours, conduct an ocular inspection” of the confiscated, seized illegal drugs or precursor chemicals, and “through the PDEA, shall, within 24 hours, thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same, provided, that a representative sample, duly weighed and recorded, is retained.”

The SC circular also advised lower courts to prioritize issuance of destruction orders of seized drugs amounting to five kilograms or more.

Gamboa explained that he pushed for immediate destruction of illegal drugs to dispel suspicions that seized illegal drugs are just being recycled by erring policemen.

“So in order to erase this kind of thinking, then I found it logical for the immediate destruction of confiscated illegal drugs in the soonest possible time,” said Gamboa.

Currently, Gamboa said there are more than two tons of illegal drugs at the PNP Crime Laboratory offices, the designated depository of all the seized illegal drugs.

The PNP chief said the priority of his meetings with court officials are the two judges who are handling the confiscated 800 kilos of shabu in Bulacan and 300 kilos of shabu in Parañaque City last month.

“We will plead to them to schedule right away the inspection and then issue the order to destroy so that after that then we will be able to destroy these evidence. Hopefully we will be able to do this in a week or two,” said Gamboa.