Drilon: Amendment to Dangerous Drugs Act to strengthen gov’t ability to prosecute drug cases

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said that the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act No. 9165) will boost chances of successful prosecution of drug-related cases in the country.

“The amendments to Section 21 of RA 9165 will reinforce the government’s ability to bring perpetrators to jail,” stressed Drilon.

“It will also put a stop to the rampant cases of confiscated illegal drugs being recycled,” he added.

The Senate, shortly before its First Regular Session ended, approved Senate Bill No. 2273 and House Bill No. 2285, amending RA 9165, “in order to aid in successful prosecution of cases involving prohibited drugs.” The Senate leader said that he expects the amendments to Republic Act 9165 to get the President’s approval this month.

Under the new measure, the arresting officer is allowed to conduct an inventory of seized dangerous drugs at the place where the search warrant is served.

But in the case where a warrant of arrest is not available, the proposed measure gives the arresting officer the power to conduct an inventory at nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved.

The proposed measure would allow the presence of at least two witnesses, instead of three as required under the current law, to conduct a drug inventory. Any inventory of drugs can now take place in the presence of the accused or his representative and of at least two of the following: an elected public official, a representative from the media or the Department of Justice.

The amendments would also expedite the production of evidence by requiring the immediate issuance of a certification of the forensic laboratory examination upon the receipt of confiscated drugs.

“With the amendments, the possibility of having these seized drugs recycled and make their way again to the market will be lessened,” the Senate chief said.

Drilon recounted during his time as justice secretary how he uncovered cases of confiscated drugs being recycled back into circulation by unscrupulous law enforcers.

“Back then when we presented policemen to submit the evidence in court, they made the excuse that the drugs confiscated were lost or somehow stolen. This weakened our chance of success of being able to prosecute drug lords,” he said.#