House eyes amendments to 20-year-old Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act

The House Committee on Dangerous Drugs is pursuing several amendments to Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 for the purpose of strengthening the provisions of the law.

Illegal drugs (Stock photo)

During a panel hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 9, the committee chaired by Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Barbers moved to form a technical working group (TWG) that would consolidate 10 different House bills (HBs) that seek to amend the anti-drug law.

One notable measure is HB 2459 by Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, which seeks to establish the highest possible penalties–including the death penalty–on foreigners who commit drug crimes within the country, with respect to the national law of the foreigner’s home country.

Another is HB 572 by ACT-Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Mauel. It seeks to exempt journalists from signing on as witnesses during drug operations whenever they cover raids.

Meanwhile, HB 90 by Barbers; HB 1278 by Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte, Camarines Sur 5th district Rep. Miguel Villafuerte, Camarines Sur 1st district Rep. Tsuyoshi Horibata, Bicol Saro Party-list Rep. Nicolas Enciso; and HB 4181 by Northern Samar 2nd district Rep. Harris Ongchuan all seek to strengthen the provisions of RA 9165.

These include provisions for legal penalties against lessors of properties used in the manufacture and distribution of drugs, drug exporters, and individuals identified financiers and coddlers of drug manufacturers.

Originally, Ongchuan was appointed to lead the TWG, however, a last minute change made it so that actor-turned-lawmaker Leyte 4th district Rep. Richard Gomez would instead lead the TWG.

Gomez is a vice chairman of the dangerous drugs panel.

The 10 consolidated measures that aim to amend the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act are HBs 90, 572, 908, 1278, 2459, 2461, 2462, 2464, 2882, and 4181.