(Photo Courtesy: www,philstar.com)

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) urged the courts to adopt the regulation on the destruction of seized illegal drugs, following President Rodrigo Duterte order to destroy seized illegal drugs by next week.

In a letter to the Supreme Court, the DDB reiterated the implementation of Board Regulations on the disposition of confiscated dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, paraphernalia and laboratory equipment used for the manufacture of illegal substances.

 “As emphasized by the President, we have to immediately dispose of seized illegal drugs to prevent pilferage and loss and to also address logistical concerns on the storage of these contrabands,” said DDB Chairman Secretary Catalino S. Cuy.

As the policy-making body on drug prevention and control, the DDB has issued regulations providing for the guidelines to carry out the purposes of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 or Republic Act 9165, including the safekeeping, disposition, and destruction of any dangerous drugs under custody.

Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002 covers the guidelines on the early disposal of seized dangerous drugs and controlled chemicals. It mandates the court, within 72 hours after the filing of the criminal case, to conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated contrabands including dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled chemicals, laboratory instruments and drug paraphernalia.

Within 24 hours after the court inspection, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) can proceed to the destruction or disposal of subject items provided that representative samples have been taken to serve as evidence in court.

Controlled chemicals and dangerous drugs can be disposed of through thermal destruction or other lawful appropriate methods as may be authorized by the Board in consultation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In 2007, another regulation was issued on this concern to cover the disposition of confiscated illegal drugs on cases still undergoing investigation by drug law enforcement units, preliminary investigation or reinvestigation.

Upon the receipt of the certification of the forensic laboratory examination results, the PDEA may file a petition for the immediate destruction of the confiscated dangerous drugs or controlled chemicals with the Regional Trial Court presided by the Executive Judge of the province or city where the confiscation, seizure and/or surrender took place. In the case of a confiscation or seizure by virtue of a search warrant, the motion will be filed with the court that issued the search warrant.

After the filing of the motion or petition, the court shall conduct inspection within 72 hours. Subsequently, the destruction of subject items can take place within 24 hours.

Following these regulations, seized dangerous drugs can be disposed of within four days after the filing of criminal case or petition for destruction for cases still undergoing investigation.

In Cuy’s letter to the Court Administrator, he requested for the reiteration of these regulations, which can be used as reference by the regional trial courts, law enforcement and other stakeholders in observing administrative requirements in relation to Section 21 of RA 9165.

“Our collective and concerted effort on this issue shall minimize the risk of pilfering and tampering of drug and non-drug evidence by corrupt officers and ensure that justice is truly served,” Cuy said.

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