Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday said the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) are seeking clearance from concerned courts for the immediate destruction of the more than P5.5 billion worth of shabu seized in the separate operations in three provinces last week.
“In coordination with the PDEA which is the lead agency in the operations in Zambales, Bataan and Cavite, we will seek clearance from various courts concerned for the immediate destruction of the more or less 809 kilos of shabu confiscated in these operations,” Eleazar said in a statement.
Eleazar said he had already tasked the PNP Legal Service to assist the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PDEG) and other drug enforcement units in preparing the necessary documents to ask all courts concerned for the immediate destruction of not only the shabu seized in Zambales, Bataan and Cavite but also other illegal drugs confiscated in other police-initiated operations.
“This is based on the President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive that these illegal drugs will be destroyed the soonest to avoid speculations of drug recycling, even if it is inconceivable that it will happen due to tightened chain of custody rules,” he said in Filipino.
The immediate destruction of illegal drugs is stipulated in the Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which provides that “after the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within 72 hours, conduct an ocular inspection” of the confiscated, seized illegal drugs or precursor chemicals and “through the PDEA shall within 24 hours thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same”, provided, that a representative sample, duly weighed and recorded is retained.
Eleazar said they will also take advantage of the memorandum circular issued by the Supreme Court (SC) last year which reminded the courts nationwide to expedite the destruction of illegal drugs seized in various operations.
The SC circular reminds all Regional Trial Courts to “strictly comply” with the requirements of Section 21 (4) of Republic Act 9165 on the immediate destruction of illegal drugs confiscated during police operations.
The same memorandum circular also advised lower courts to prioritize issuance of destruction orders of seized drugs amounting to five kilograms or more within 24 hours “in cases where the illegal drugs seized are physically brought to the court.”
The confiscated 809 kilograms of shabu in Zambales, Bataan and Cavite, with the street value of more than PHP5.5 billion, are the biggest drug haul so far this year.
“I assure the public that the confiscated drugs have been fully-accounted for in all the operations we have carried out with the PDEA and that we are already taking all legal means to destroy it the soonest possible time,” Eleazar said in Filipino.
Government anti-narcotic operatives seized P1.5 billion worth of suspected shabu in separate buy-bust operations in the cities of Imus and Bacoor in Cavite on Sept. 9 or three days after the confiscation of P4 billion worth of suspected shabu in Zambales and Bataan.
A total of 159 police officers have just recovered from Covid-19, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Sunday.
PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said the latest data from the PNP Health Service showed that the number of recoveries among its ranks has reached 34,303 or 92.5 percent of the 37,067 infections recorded since the start of the health crisis last year.
The PNP Health Service, however, reported 176 new cases, raising the active cases tally to 2,655.
Another police officer from Calabarzon is the PNP’s latest Covid-19 fatality, bringing its death toll to 109.
Eleazar said a 37-year-old police master sergeant died on Sept. 9 due to pneumonia and acute respiratory failure secondary to Covid-19.
On Aug. 28, the police officer experienced mild symptoms of Covid-19 and immediately underwent a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test which yielded a positive result.
Two days later, he was immediately transferred to a nearby hospital after complaining of difficulty in breathing.
On Sept. 9, he was declared dead by his attending physician at 3 a.m.
Records reveal that the said cop has hypertension and receive his first dose of vaccine on Aug. 6.
“Taos pusong pakikiramay po ang aking ipinapaabot sa pamilya ng ating pulis na namatay at nangangako po tayo ng anumang tulong sa kanila (I extend my sincere condolences to the family of our policeman who died and we promise will provide assistance to his family),” Eleazar said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Eleazar said more than 90 percent of the entire 222,000 PNP personnel have been vaccinated.The PNP has 117,530 or 52.77 percent fully vaccinated police personnel while 92,362 or 41.47 percent have already received their first dose of vaccine. With this, there are only 12,809 or 5.75 percent police personnel who have not been vaccinated.