Press Release
September 7, 2011

After PDEA, DDB, SEC budget hearings

The enforcement of our drug laws leaves much to be desired at this stage given the answers to the questions we raised in this committee hearing. First, we want to find out the accuracy of the inventory of the seized drugs particularly shabu, cocaine, extasy and other dangerous drugs in the possession of PDEA. We want a very accurate count because this is a source of recycling that's why we required a report. The most prominent example is what you call the 'Samar cocaine' that was seized in 2009. Per the report of PDEA, in their annual report, a total of 2 tons of high-grade was dumped off the waters of Samar, which is equivalent to 2,000 kilograms. According to the report, only 571.73 kilos were recovered. What happened to the 1,428.27 kgs? Various explanations were made. At the bottom, it would appear that no extra effort was being undertaken in order to recover this high-grade cocaine and it would appear that our authorities are at a loss as to where the balance is. Yan ang sinasabi ko na mukhang maraming pagkukulang at hindi nagsisikap na ma-account lahat ito.

We are also concerned about the failure to follow the procedure in Sec 21 of Dangerous Drugs Act of PDEA on the destruction of drugs which are in their custody. There is a process that must be followed which at bottom will require an order from the court for the destruction of the seized drugs which are necessary in evidence. There is a process by which you secure a sample and destroy whatever was seized in order to prevent the recycling of the seized drugs. Again this is not being followed. The PDEA complains that this is the fault of the courts. We will confront the judiciary with this situation when the judiciary comes before us to defend their budget. I have asked for the appearance of the legal counsel of PDEA in order that we can thresh out and effectively enforce Section 21 of the Dangerous Drugs Act, in relation to the destruction of drugs which are theoretically in custody of the courts as evidence being presented.

On Alabang Boys' acquittal: Indeed, the PDEA admits that if the head of the agency did not conduct the press conference, there would have been no basis for this defense of the break in chain of custody rule. This rule on Section 21 of Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was incorporated there in order to prevent planting of evidence. This is a rule that safeguards the due process clause so that you guard against false evidence against the accused. Unfortunately, this was violated because of the desire to make public the "achievement," tuloy nadisgrasya ang prosecution.

Q: Yung evidence hawak ng PDEA chief?

Under the law, the evidence at that stage should be held by the laboratory. Ito napunta dun sa PDEA chief. The evidence said there was a picture wherein that same drug was in the table during the press conference.

Q: Comment on overall average of PDEA when it comes to prosecution

Obviously it's very poor, but of course all kinds of reason are being given but part of it is the desire to inform the public of the achievements of PDEA, it resulted in some acquittal for violation of the law.

Q: The advice is press conferences can wait...?

Very correct, press conferences can wait. In this particular case, if they just allowed the laboratory to finish its work and then have the press conference afterwards. There would have been no reason for the accused to claim this as a violation of the chain of custody rule. Press conferences can wait. What is important is that we do our job first. At this stage, I cannot see how you can reverse this, as the Sec of Justice would want us to believe. The rule on double jeopardy applies very clearly, and therefore you cannot ask for any reconsideration. It will wreak havoc on the rules of court and our justice system.

Q: Yung kaso sa mga Arroyos, parang wala pa siyang sinasampa, hindi ba marami nang ebidensya...

Yan nga ang sinasabi ko, hindi ko alam kung ano ang sinasampang ebidensya doon eh. I made a statement na mag ingat naman tayo sa pagsampa ng mga kaso at dapat naman supported by evidence because the expectation of the public would be heightened the moment the case is filed. If you are sitting on the prosecutor's table at wala kang nakikitang ebidensya, paano naman i-file kaagad? This, precisely, provides a basis for my statement that while they are well-intentioned in filing these cases, the burden is shifted to the prosecution to file the case. But if the prosecution cannot file the case because the evidence presented is deficient, then the public perception is the prosecution is not doing its job, when in fact it is the investigative arm which sometimes could be at fault.

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