Press Release
January 13, 2016


Following the joint raid by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) that yielded 36 kilos of high-grade shabu amounting to P180 million, Sen. Grace Poe, an independent presidential contender, said there is a need to further build the capability of the PDEA and the National Prosecution Service in investigation, handling of evidence, and prosecution of people distributing illegal drugs, noting the low conviction rate of drug-related cases in the Philippines.

The PDEA and the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) raided a storage facility Tuesday in Valenzuela that was being used as a trans-shipment point for illegal drugs from outside the country.

Since 2002, only 3,301 cases have been resolved, PDEA said in its 2014 Annual Report. Of these resolved cases, 636 (19%) resulted in convictions, 903 (27%) in dismissals and 1,762 (54%) in acquittals.

This means only one in five drug-related cases lodged by the PDEA and resolved by the courts results in a conviction, Poe pointed out.

"The low conviction rate not only renders our drug raids in vain but threatens our communities by allowing drug dealers back on the streets to prey on our children and friends again and again," said Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Dangerous Drugs.

The PDEA attributed the low conviction rate to legal technicalities and the failure of authorities to comply with the provision on custody and disposition of seized illegal drugs under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

This was amended in 2014 through Republic Act 10640, which reduced the number of inventory witnesses from three to two: an elected public official, and a representative from the National Prosecution Service, or an elected official and a member of the media.

"The PDEA should direct its personnel to prioritize court duties in order to guarantee the prosecution of arrested drug personalities. Otherwise, any success we have at addressing the drug problem will be short-lived," Poe said.

In 2014, the PDEA conducted 16,939 anti-drug operations that yielded P6.2 billion worth of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, and non-drug evidence. Of these, P5 billion worth are methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.

From these operations, the PDEA filed 17,619 cases in various courts nationwide. Some of the cases involved 190 arrested government officials and employees.

"As we laud the efforts of the PDEA in reducing the supply side, we must also ensure that their apprehensions lead to convictions. We need to strengthen our National Prosecution Service for this, especially as they face high-profile lawyers that drug lords can easily afford," Poe said.

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