Drugs court mulled to aid prosecution


Sharing the concern on  the slow litigation of drug cases, the representations of Bohol to the Regional Peace and Order Council, led by Governor Edgar Chatto, supported the move of Negros Oriental prosecutors ask the Supreme Court to designate a “drugs court” to improve prosecution efficiency.

Chatto reported by phone-patch to Boholanos through his weekly radio program, Kita ug ang Gobernador, last Friday that the RPOC-7 passed a resolution adopting the concern of Negros Oriental prosecutors that will be forwarded to the Supreme Court.

Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Director Jigger Montallana relayed the concern of Negros Oriental prosecutors during the RPOC-7 meeting, presided by Chatto, last Thursday, in an effort to improve the prosecution of drug cases and produce more conviction of the personalities involved in the illegal drugs trade.

Negros Oriental prosecutors reportedly raised a concern with regards to a certain court handling drug cases in their province, prompting them to suggest that there must be a designated drugs court to focus on the cases against drug personalities.

RPOC 7 AND BOHOL ANTI DRUG PERFORMANCE

Chatto noted that in Bohol, the drug cases are distributed to the different branches of the Regional Trial Court.

The RPOC-7 faces the challenge of sustaining the merits for having been recognized as the best among the POCs in the country last year in the implementation of the Dangerous Drugs Law, in terms of both supply and demand reduction initiatives.

In fact, national headquarter of the PDEA awarded RPOC-7 during its founding anniversary to recognize the efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), military, LGUs and NGOs in the region.

PDEA-7 still pursues to increase output in both supply and demand reduction, increase conviction rate, and introduce new skills, develop capabilities and competencies.

Chatto commended the Philippine National Police, the PDEA, the other agencies, the judiciary in Bohol, the judges and the IBP-Bohol chapter for initiating the training on strengthening the prosecutorial capacity of the investigators and police prosecutors and the presentation of evidence in court that can lead to conviction in drug cases.

PDEA-7, however, admitted that the agency faces challenges and limitations such as  the “too traditional, too compartmentalized structure, limited manpower and too specific on duties as law enforcers rather than as problem solvers.”

Sources from PDEA-7 also admitted silent internal implications such as attitudes towards apprehensions and of self preservation and risk aversion of personnel.

The “demands of the work also continue to overwhelm limited resources and manpower”.

Moreover, “law enforcers look at anti-drugs campaign as plain and simple law enforcement job to be done rather than a task to be accomplished”, while the public believes that solving the illegal drugs menace is the sole responsibility of law enforcers.

“The old system is no longer applicable, and there is a need to intensify intelligence fusion and cooperation among law enforcement agencies,” according to PDEA-7.

Among the strategies and initiatives that PDEA-7 now aims to establish integrity and credibility which is considered “a painful process”, strengthen systems and processes, prioritize high-value and high-impact targets and personalities, focus on intelligence-based operations, and strengthen relationship with other law enforcement agencies, local government units, and non-government organization.

PDEA-7 also accepts weaknesses, finds opportunities and fund sources, and tries to exploit advantages of new trends to enhance systems and process such information technology and fiscal investigation.

Among the initial gains that PDEA-7 enumerated are the “small wins” that have big impact, increased number of operations, quality of arrested persons and volume of seized illegal drugs, timely initiatives leading to entry of resources, and additional funds that helped in gradually developing capacity and capability.

PDEA-7 assures the public that there is no let up in the efforts to achieve the objective of making a drug-free Central Visayas, though it seems almost impossible.

 


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