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DOJ eyes amending dangerous drugs law

Nillicent Bautista - The Philippine Star
DOJ eyes amending dangerous drugs law
“In the last two years, 70,000 people were incarcerated and charged with drug offenses. Because of this, we are calling on stakeholders to review the drug law,” Justice Undersecretary Jesse Hermogenes Andres said in an interview during the National Jail Decongestion Summit on Wednesday.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) will study the possibility of amending Republic Act 6425 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 during the drug summit to be held next year.

“In the last two years, 70,000 people were incarcerated and charged with drug offenses. Because of this, we are calling on stakeholders to review the drug law,” Justice Undersecretary Jesse Hermogenes Andres said in an interview during the National Jail Decongestion Summit on Wednesday.

“It is about time that we review the dangerous drugs law and how we can modify it to be more attuned to the times,” Andres added.

He said the threshold amount of drugs required for a suspect to be charged is among the priority provisions of the law that must be reviewed.

Andres pointed out that drug suspects are charged with non-bailable offenses even with a “miniscule” amount of drugs in possession, contributing to jail congestion.

“We have to review whether the threshold amounts for one to be charged with a non-bailable offense is still accurate,” he said.

Andres said there is a need to revisit the more than 20-year-old law, especially with new drugs coming in.

“Fentanyl is one of them. It is cheaper and yet 10 times more potent or deleterious than shabu. It’s another challenge for us,” Andres said.

“It’s not even a part of the law. So we have to review it to make it attuned to the new developments on this drug problem,” he added.

Andres said they are looking to conduct the drug summit next year, wherein important stakeholders will participate, including the Department of Health.

When asked about the involvement of international stakeholders, Andres said the drug problem is an issue that the government can solve on its own.

“We believe that we can do it on our own, based on our policy, based on the resolve of this government and on the capabilities of the bureaucracy,” he said.

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