File photo shows 100 grams of shabu sold to police officers posing as buyers in anti-drug operations in Meycauayan City, Bulacan in July.
The STAR/Miguel De Guzman, File
PNP welcomes orders to destroy seized drugs
( - July 16, 2020 - 7:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — The national police is open to the idea of the early destruction of illegal drugs confiscated in police operations as this can reduce the burden on custodians in safekeeping evidence for possible court proceedings, it said on Thursday.

This came in response to Supreme Court Circular No. 118-2020 dated July 15, which reminds all Regional Trial Courts to “strictly comply” with the requirements on the immediate destruction of illegal drugs confiscated during police operations.

In a statement, Police Gen. Archie Gamboa, chief of the Philippine National Police, said the agency welcomes the circular, which mandates that lower courts hasten the issuance of orders calling for the early destruction of any seized contraband.

RELATED: PNP: Anti-drug operations 'will be unrelenting as ever' amid COVID-19 crisis

Gamboa in his statement added that the PNP was ready to "make urgent representations with the concerned Courts where pending illegal drugs cases are undergoing different stages of trial to seek court orders for the destruction of drug evidence after representative samples are retained and properly documented." 

Section 21(4) of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 reads:

After the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours, conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including the instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment, and through the PDEA shall within twenty-four (24) hours thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same

The same Supreme Court circular also advised lower courts to prioritize destruction orders for seized drugs that amount to five kilograms or more.

“In cases where the illegal drugs seized are physically brought to the court, the court shall issue the order of destruction thereof within 24 hours therefrom,” the circular added. 

According to PNP data, anti-drug operations have yielded some 1.57 metric tons of crystal meth and some 2.9 metric tons of Marijuana during 25,612 separate police operations within the first half of 2020.

Data from an earlier Social Weather Stations survey released in January 2020 suggested that 78% of Filipinos believe that there are cops who sell illegal drugs confiscated during operations.

The survey asked 1,200 Filipinos across the country: "Do you believe or not believe the accusation that there are 'ninja cops' or police who allegedly sell illegal drugs that they confiscate during their operations?"

This came at the peak of the "ninja cops" controversy that led to the resignation of former police chief Oscar Albayalde.

In an earlier press briefing, international rights monitor Human Rights Watch said that despite earlier government claims, the nightly killings linked to the Duterte administration's flagship 'war on drugs' still continue with most of Metro Manila stuck indoors. — Franco Luna

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