MANILA – Malacañang on Friday welcomed the Supreme Court’s (SC) order for lower courts to expedite the disposal of seized illegal drugs.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the SC’s latest move would give a boost to the government’s anti-narcotics campaign.
“Mabuti po kasi baka makarating pa sa mga maling kamay ang mga pinagbabawal na gamot na iyan (That’s good because there is a possibility that the illegal drugs would fall into the wrong hands),” Roque said in an interview with state-run PTV-4.
In the first six months of 2020, around 1.57 metric tons of shabu and some 2.9 metric tons of marijuana have been seized during the 25,612 operations launched by the Philippine National Police.
The PNP’s anti-drug operations have also led to the arrest of 38,178 suspects.
On Wednesday, the SC directed all regional trial courts (RTC) handling illegal drug cases to expedite their inspection and order the immediate destruction of seized illegal drugs used as pieces of evidence.
The high tribunal’s directive came after PNP chief Police Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa notified Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez that illegal drugs confiscated in police operations remain in the custody of enforcement agents due to the delayed issuance of court orders for their destruction.
In Circular 118-2020, Marquez reminded RTC judges to strictly comply with the requirements of Section 21 (4) of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 on the immediate destruction of illegal drugs seized during police operations.
Marquez said RTC judges are mandated under RA 9165 to conduct ocular inspection of the seized dangerous drugs within 72 hours from the filing of a criminal complaint in court.
He added that they are required to issue a destruction order within 24 hours after the ocular inspection.
On Thursday, Gamboa said the PNP will immediately seek orders from lower courts for the disposal of seized illegal drugs. (PNA)