Prosecutors nationwide will prioritize and speed up the handling of illegal drugs cases to ensure that President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to destroy seized illegal drugs within a week is observed, assured Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Wednesday (Oct. 7).

DOJ vows priority for drug cases after Duterte orders destruction of narcotics haul after 1 week

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Prosecutors nationwide will prioritize and speed up the handling of illegal drugs cases to ensure that President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to destroy seized illegal drugs within a week is observed, assured Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Wednesday (Oct. 7).

“In accordance with the president’s directive, the DOJ will issue a memo circular to all prosecutors investigating drug cases to give top priority to the resolution of the same, to file the informations asap, and to move for a court order to conduct ocular inspection of and destroy the seized drugs, precursors, etc within the time specified in RA 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002),” he said.

Guevarra explained the President’s order is in accordance with RA 9165 which which “requires the trial courts, within 72 hours from the filing of the criminal information, to conduct an ocular inspection of the illegal drugs, precursors, paraphernalia, etc, and thereafter proceed to burn or destroy the same, thru the PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency), within 24 hours after the inspection. a representative sample of the seized drugs will be retained for use during the trial of the case.”

“Thus, law enforcement agents must file the criminal complaints immediately so that the destruction of the seized drugs could proceed as early as possible,” Guevarra advised all law enforcement agencies.

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Ping thanks IATF for uniform travel protocols

Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Saturday thanked the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for approving uniform travel protocols.

Lacson said local travel restrictions should be left to the local government units since the local leaders know the situation on the ground.

“Thank you, for the sake of the country’s economy. Local travel restrictions should be left to the LGUs. Their leaders know their local conditions better than anybody else in the national government,” he said in a post on his Twitter account.

Malacañang earlier announced the IATF had approved uniform travel protocols for LGUs.

LGUs can now secure COVID-19 vaccine donations from rich cities, private sector – Tolentino

Administration Senator Francis Tolentino has lauded the swift passage of the “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act,” which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday.

The new law will expedite the procurement and administration vaccines for the deadly coronavirus disease.

The law allows local government units (LGUs) to accept donations of COVID-19 vaccines from fellow LGUs and private entities—a provision of the law Tolentino has introduced during the Senate deliberations earlier this month.

Tolentino explained that donated vaccines must be registered with the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as proven by a valid Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and cleared by the FDA before they could be accepted by the LGU.

After acceptance, the donation must then be reported by the receiving LGU to the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF).

Tolentino stressed that the new law will enable well-off LGUs to donate part of their COVID-19 vaccine supply to poor LGUs which don’t have enough funds to procure vaccines for their citizens.

Meanwhile, the Senator clarified that the new law will not change existing laws on donations, particularly the provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines but will just be a temporary and time-bound measure. (JCC)

Ping raises 3 angles for probers looking into PDEA-PNP incident

Was there a so-called sell-bust? Were the operatives played by an informant? And who fired first?

These were the three angles raised by Sen. Panfilo Lacson as authorities prepare to look into the deadly encounter between police and anti-drug operatives in Quezon City.

At least four people were killed in the encounter between the Philippine National Police and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency near a mall last Feb. 24.

“There couldn’t be two drug buy-bust operations between the PDEA and PNP operatives. One party must be doing ‘sell-bust’ which is prohibited. If they had a common informant, they had been played. Then, find out who fired first. These are the three angles that the probe should focus on,” Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account.

Both the PNP and PDEA insisted their respective personnel were conducting legitimate and coordinated anti-drug operations at the time.

On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte tasked the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the incident.

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