Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday expressed his support to President Duterte’s directive for all law enforcement agencies to immediately destroy all seized illegal drugs next week.
“Given what we have seen in the past as disturbing cases of recycling of billions worth of shabu by so-called ninja cops, it is about time that the three branches of government act as one in plugging the loopholes in the implementation of the law” Drilon said in a statement on Tuesday.
It was the Senate minority chief who authored the provision in the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 that mandates the immediate destruction of seized illegal drugs.
He said it is high time that the three branches of government plug the loopholes in the implementation of Section 21 of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Drilon said he would question the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the judiciary each year for failing to immediately destroy confiscated contrabands.
This year, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) issued Circular No. 118-2020 which now requires judges to strictly comply with the procedure outlined in Sec. 21 of the law.
The Circular further advises judges to prioritize seized dangerous drugs amounting to five kilograms or more. The senator pointed out that the law is clear and precise as to when seized illegal drugs should be destroyed but the implementing agencies simply disobeyed the law.
“The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 strictly mandates that the court should conduct an ocular inspection of confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs and paraphernalia within 72 hours and subsequently within 24 hours, the PDEA should proceed with the destruction of the seized evidence,” the former justice secretary explained.
But he noted PDEA has not been following this provision, putting the blame on the failure of the judges to issue the order to destroy them. The agency admitted that they are still in their possession illegal drugs seized as far back as 2010.
“These inexcusable delays give rise to the cases of recycled seized illegal drugs in the country and undermine the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs,” Drilon said.
“Indeed, the courts play a crucial role in the timely destruction of the confiscated dangerous substances, and ultimately in preventing the possible recycling of the illegal substances,” Drilon said.
With President Duterte’s directive and the OCA circular that requires judges to strictly comply with the procedure outlined in Sec. 21 of R.A. 9165, Drilon said law enforcers could now proceed with the burning of all seized illegal drugs to avoid recycling and diversion.
“I am glad that the three branches of our government have taken notice of this critical issue that has been neglected in the past. With this, the PDEA should refrain from keeping seized illegal drugs as it is a clear violation of the law,” he said.