Despite Duterte’s orders, PDEA can only destroy 1 ton of shabu due to legal processes | Inquirer News

Despite Duterte’s orders, PDEA can only destroy 1 ton of shabu due to legal processes

/ 09:19 PM October 06, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has vowed to destroy one ton of shabu seized during anti-drug operations following President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent orders.

However,  PDEA said that it could not do anything with some pieces of evidence without courts and prosecutors allowing the anti-narcotics bureau to do so.

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In a statement on Tuesday, PDEA said that they have followed up the issuance of court orders to destroy the drug evidence with them.

“The PDEA will comply with the Order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to destroy all shabu evidence, residual or otherwise by next week,” PDEA said.

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“Relative to this, we are following up on the issuance of Court Orders for the destruction of these pieces of drug evidence pursuant to Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) Circular 118-2020 issued by the Supreme Court Administrator,” it added.

In his public address aired Monday night, President Duterte ordered law enforcement agencies to destroy all the shabu confiscated from anti-drug operations within a week.

This was supposedly meant to prevent police officers and other officers from recycling the drugs — a process wherein seized substances are again sold on the street level to gain money.

PDEA said that they are also waiting for the Department of Justice’s guidance on what to do with the substances still at their disposition, as state prosecutors have yet to conform to their motions on the destruction of the illegal substances.

If prosecutors conform to the motion, they may be able to destroy another 540 kilograms of shabu.

Legal proceedings have been a hurdle in the destruction of drugs, as these may be used as pieces of evidence for the trial proper.  Last July, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez reminded Regional Trial Court judges to follow the rules on the destruction of seized evidence like drugs.

This was after the Philippine National Police complained that the drugs remained with them because there was a delayed court order issuance.

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“Arising from the Senate Hearing on September 29, 2020 we are likewise seeking the guidance of the Honorable Secretary of Justice to issue guidance relative to the propriety of the refusal of some prosecutors to move for or at least conform to the Motion of PDEA for the conduct of ocular inspection, taking of representative samples and subsequent issuance of Court Order for destruction on archived cases or cases under automatic review,” PDEA said.

The war against illegal drugs has been a primary campaign waged by President Duterte, who vowed to rid the country’s streets of drugs during the campaign period for the 2016 presidential polls.

While anti-drug operations increased in numbers and the amount of illegal drugs seized, Duterte has been criticized for leading a bloody drive, which led to condemnation from human rights circles here and abroad. [ac]

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TAGS: Court order, Department of Justice, destruction of shabu, Drug war, Evidence, PDEA, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine news updates, Rodrigo Duterte, shabu, Supreme Court, War Against Illegal Drugs
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