TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 19, (PIA)--The Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) in Bohol asks Capitol's Provincial Legal Office (PLO) to review all pending drug cases as the province's anti drug campaign suffered deplorable setbacks in the past months.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency reported at the PPOC meeting Tuesday that it has filed 58 drug cases and has detained 31 persons while 7 are out after paying bonds.
However, the local courts granted to the drug agency five acquittals and six dismissals in the 11 of the cases it took for the month of February.
PDEA agent Ma. Chona Egam cited the court's decisions which frustrated the intent of the drug enforcers as inconsistencies in the testimony of the vital witnesses of the prosecution and the evidence presented.
PDEA also cited case build-up bloopers like non-compliance of Sec. 21, Art. II of RA 9165 or the custody and disposition of confiscated drug evidences and the even more blatant error and discrepancy in the marking of the date of the seizure as well as the date reflected in the request for laboratory examination.
“...all entries should be accurate and correct for any slight error or omission will create a doubt as to the integrity of the things seized,” Egam, in her power point presentation, quoted one court decision.
Also, the courts said seizing officers fail[ed] to identify in court the evidence submitted and some technical violations in the conduct of search warrants.
The courts said “search should be made in the presence of the lawful occupant of the place where the search is served and only when he is absent where the presence of a member of his family or two witnesses can be allowed, citing Sec. 8, Rule 126, Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
"The presence of the accused is not a mere physical presence but a presence with free exercise of freedom,” according to one of the court decisions.
Seeing the mistakes as recurrence of other past failures, the PPOC through Romeo Teruel has asked the PLO to review pending cases so as to score better against drugs.
"It is a pity for those men who stake their lives in the field, casing and test-buying to get drug personalities off the streets only to realize the suspects walk out of technicality," aired Emilia Roslinda, a civil society representative at the council complained.
And if only to get a better batting percentage, the PLO, through lawyer Mitchell John Boiser updates the council of their initiatives.
Just as he vowed to ask his men to review filed cases, he also relayed that district lawyers are now dispatched on a regular schedule to Talibon, Ubay, Jagna and Carmen for the local police officers to get help in building up the case files against drug personalities apprehended.
Boiser added that the regular visit of these lawyers are meant to get police officers familiarized with legal procedures and prepare them for their court appearances.
As this went on, Police Chief Inspector Jeffrey Caballes said the police would continue to intensify its anti-illegal drugs operations against known drug personalities through buy-bust, raid, search and seizure and to prevent proliferation of illegal drugs and loose firearms.
Police authorities also admitted that illegal drugs especially shabu still remains the number one problem in the province.
"The drug menace remains to be one of the potent threats on the prevailing peace and order in the province, and despite the continuous anti-illegal drug operations, several illegal drug personalities are yet to be neutralized. (rac/PIABohol)