President Rodrigo Duterte won’t like this one bit.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Acosta has asked the Supreme Court (SC) to declare as unconstitutional a provision in the Anti-Drug Law which prevents plea bargaining with a drug suspect so he can be charged with a lesser offense.
Once the SC declares it unconstitutional, Acosta hopes it would help decongest the country’s prisons considering that there are over 82,000 small time drug offenders languishing in jail.
“Dapat mga small-time users or pushers should undergo rehabilitation,” Acosta explained.
She cited that Section 23 of the Dangerous Drugs Act provides that “any person charged under any provision of [the Dangerous Drugs Act] regardless of the imposable penalty shall not be allowed to avail of the provision on plea-bargaining”.
Acosta pointed out that the said provision violates the constitutional right to equal protection of the law.
The PAO brought the issue before the SC after Legazpi City Regional Trial Court Branch 3 Judge Frank Lobrigo denied the request of suspected drug offender Salvador Estipona Jr. to enter into a plea bargaining agreement.
Meanwhile, the SC on Tuesday (September 20) has asked Lobrigo to file a comment on the petition lodged by the PAO within 10 days.