Data for 2017 provided by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to the committee on dangerous drugs of the House of Representatives prompted lawmakers to ask authorities for an explanation on the low conviction rate of drug suspects.
Joven Cagande/File
‘Philippines posts 48% acquittal, 38% conviction rates in drug cases’
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA,Philippines — Despite the government’s massive anti-drug campaign, an astounding rate of 48 percent of drug cases in courts have resulted in the acquittal of drug defendants while only 38 percent ended up being convicted. 

Data for 2017 provided by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to the committee on dangerous drugs of the House of Representatives prompted lawmakers to ask authorities for an explanation on the low conviction rate of drug suspects. 

“The problem mostly is with the law enforcers. They were not able to comply with the very strict requirement regarding the chain of custody rule,” lawyer Francis del Valle of PDEA told the committee headed by Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers. 

Del Valle blamed some government prosecutors who acted as defense counsels of suspects as well as regional trial court judges who either invoke technicalities or who have a contrary view regarding the case undergoing trial in their sala. 

“According to our witnesses, sometimes these prosecutors acted as defense counsels, especially if they are not familiar with the case. Although it is also very rare that prosecutors acted as defense lawyers,” Del Valle said. 

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said he agrees with Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. that there is something wrong with the four pillars of the justice system.

Barzaga wants to file a House resolution for a random drug testing for congressmen. 

“This is one way of preventing politicians from using drugs because their refusal will be deemed that they are drug-dependent,” Barzaga said, calling the Department of the Interior and Local Government as well to do random testing for governors and mayors. 

Barzaga, chairman of the House committee on environment and natural resources, said the “existing reality” is that even clerks of court in cities and provinces have been infiltrated by drug lords, not to mention the police organization.

DRUGS PDEA
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