House favors extending life of congressional oversight panel vs Illegal drugs

The House of Representatives has unanimously approved on third and final reading a joint resolution seeking to extend the Congressional Oversight Committee of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002 for another 10 years.

Illegal drugs seized by authorities. (Mark Balmores/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The passage of House Joint Resolution (HJR) No. 14 , carried out via nominal vote, took place during the plenary session Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 31. The vote result was as follow: 274 affirmative votes, zero negative votes, and zero abstentions.

HJR No. 14 mandates the extension of the life of the Congressional Oversight Committee on dangerous drugs--which was constituted under Section 95 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165 for another 10 years--from July 4, 2022 to July 4, 2032.

“The House of Representatives felt the need to extend the life of our powers of oversight as the implementation of the law needs to be reviewed from time to time,” House Speaker and Leyte 1st district Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said.

Surigao del Norte 2nd district Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, was one of the principal authors of HJR No. 14.

“As information technology progresses, so do the ways to distribute drugs to our citizens become easier. Addressing the drug problem in our country requires our laws to be constantly attuned to the changing times,” Barbers said.

The Congressional Oversight Committee on Dangerous Drugs is currently chaired by Barbers in the House of Representatives and Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa in the Senate. It is composed of seven members from each chamber.

If the measure is enacted, then it will have been the second time the life of the oversight committee will be extended. The first time was in 2012, or the year RA No.9165 marked its 10th year of implementation.

The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was signed into law on June 7, 2002 and took effect on July 4, 2002.

“The Congressional Oversight Committee on Dangerous Drugs still has to monitor and ensure proper implementation of authorized drug testing, establishment and operation of drug treatment and rehabilitation centers and the joint anti-drug operations of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation,” the joint resolution read.

It added that the oversight panel "has determined inherent weaknesses in the drug law which requires a thorough review of the policies or procedures of implementing agencies, consultations with the judiciary, and the codification of the drug law".