DOJ orders prosecutors to prioritize drug cases
According to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra , the DOJ would issue a memorandum for prosecutors to give priority to drug cases, file information in court as soon as possible and to move for court orders for the inspection and destruction of contraband in accordance with Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
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DOJ orders prosecutors to prioritize drug cases
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - October 8, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice will order prosecutors investigating drug complaints to prioritize the resolution of these cases to speed up the destruction of seized contraband within the period set by law, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said yesterday.

Guevarra made the statement after President Duterte on Monday ordered law enforcement agencies to destroy in one week shabu seized in anti-narcotics operations to prevent recycling of drugs.

According to Guevarra, the DOJ would issue a memorandum for prosecutors to give priority to drug cases, file information in court as soon as possible and to move for court orders for the inspection and destruction of contraband in accordance with Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

Guevarra explained that the President’s order should be taken in the context of Section 21(4) of the law, which requires trial courts to conduct an ocular inspection of confiscated shabu, precursors and paraphernalia within 72 hours from the filing of charges.

Under the law, seized contraband must be destroyed by law enforcement agencies within 24 hours after inspection.

A sample of the seized drugs should be retained to be used as evidence during the trial.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Camilo Cascolan wants drugs seized in law enforcement operations destroyed in one day after being presented in court.

Cascolan underscored the need to hasten the process of destroying confiscated drugs in compliance with President Duterte’s directive.

“Mas mabuti talaga kung mabilisan. Sa isang araw kaya pong gawin yan,” the PNP chief told reporters.

To date, Cascolan said the process of disposal usually takes 14 days.

Cascolan said they are coordinating with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to reduce it to less than 10 days.— Emmanuel Tupas

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