The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said it will immediately seek orders from lower courts for the destruction of seized illegal drugs used as pieces of evidence in cases.
“The PNP will make urgent representations with the courts for the destruction of drug evidence after representative samples are retained and properly documented,” PNP chief, Gen. Archie Gamboa, said in a press statement.
Gamboa’s remarks came after the Supreme Court (SC) ordered trial court judges to expedite the inspection and destruction of illegal drugs confiscated in police operations.
Gamboa welcomed the move, adding that the early destruction of seized contraband will “reduce the burden on police custodians in safekeeping these (pieces of) evidence for court proceedings”.
In the first six months of 2020 alone, the PNP confiscated some 1.57 metric tons of shabu and some 2.9 metric tons of marijuana during 25,612 separate police operations that resulted in the arrest of 38,178 suspects.
In Circular 118-2020 issued on Wednesday, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez reminded all regional trial courts (RTCs) to “strictly comply” with the requirements of Section 21 (4) of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 on the immediate destruction of illegal drugs confiscated during police operations.
Marquez said RTC judges are mandated under the law to conduct ocular inspections of the seized dangerous drugs within 72 hours from the filing of a criminal complaint in court.
They are also mandated to issue a destruction order within 24 hours after the ocular inspection.
In cases where the seized dangerous drugs are physically brought to the court, the court shall issue the order of destruction of the drugs “within 24 hours therefrom,” Marquez said. (PNA)