Due to low conviction rate: Bohol crafts drug action plan
Angeline Valencia (The Freeman) - April 11, 2014 - 12:00am

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines — Bohol provincial officials have met with judiciary authorities and law enforcers to build up an action plan to improve prosecution of drug-related cases, which have been saddled with low rate of conviction of suspects.

Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II, who was assigned by Governor Edgar Chatto to tackle the task, said the action plan will be crafted with the help of officials of the Provincial Prosecutor's Office, the City Prosecutor's Office, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Department of Justice, the PDEA, the police and barangay officials.

The action plan will improve every phase of the prosecution process, from gathering of evidences to presentation of these elements in court. In response, the officials agreed to create a PNP drug cases task force—either province-wide or by district.

The DOJ was also requested to appoint a special counsel-prosecutor for drug cases to help both the provincial and city prosecutors in Bohol, while other part of the plan will be to have a manual of procedures in handling drug-related cases.

Chatto said the judiciary and law enforcement authorities also agreed to conduct case conferences for every drug-related case.

"A case conference gives the prosecution group the opportunity to thoroughly study all the elements and profile of every case. And, so there would be more chances for the prosecution to succeed and the case to prosper," he said, adding that there must a way of checking for lapses in every phase of the prosecution process.

Chatto, as head of the Provincial Peace and Order Council, said the improvement of prosecution of drug cases must be coupled with vigilance of the community. "There should be no let up in the campaign against the drug menace," he said.

Besides hunting down pushers and drug lords, the governor said gathering of evidences and efficiency of conducting police operations in apprehending the suspects, and in cutting off links between locals and outside sources.

Chatto issued the statement in response to the public concern on the low conviction rate of drug cases, in which drug personalities easily get off the hook and go back to business after either posting bail or having their cases dismissed by the court, due to technicalities.

A continuing training program of law enforcers and prosecutors has to go on regularly to improve prosecution output, fill in the gaps in the procedure, in terms of handling evidences to make the cases prosper in the courts, added the governor. (FREEMAN)

BOHOL CASES CHATTO CITY PROSECUTOR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE DRUG GOVERNOR EDGAR CHATTO INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES PROSECUTION PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATOR ALFONSO DAMALERIO PROVINCIAL PEACE AND ORDER COUNCIL
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