Drug cases clog court

Drug-related cases in Bohol continue to rise in heaps, clogging the trial courts.

Police provincial director, Senior Supt. Felipe Natividad, reported during the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting on July 29 that they had already filed a total of 190 drug-related cases from June 1-July 27.

At least 89 of 190 cases were filed in June, 101 were added as of July 27.

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For his part, PDEA-Bohol Provincial Officer Cornelio Espartero Jr. reported that they had filed 68 new complaints in June before the City Prosecutor’s Office and the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.

As of end of June, the Regional Trials Courts here are already handling 66 drug-related cases.

Of the 68 new complaints filed by PDEA in June, six are still for preliminary investigation, while three were dismissed.

The 66 drug-related cases, violations of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, lodged before the Regional Trial Courts include 12 cases under Section 5 (Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, one under Section 11 (Possession of Dangerous Drugs), nine under Section 12 (Possession of Equipment, Instrument, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs), and 35 under Section 15 (Use of Dangerous Drugs).

Five of the cases were already decided with the acquittal of the accused- -one under Section 5, three under Section 11, and one under Section 12.

Of those charged in court, 54 were already arrested while six remain at large.

In response to the heap of drug-related cases, the Supreme Court En Banc on June 19 decided to add 240 additional nationwide to handle drug-related cases.

SC Spokesperson Theodore Te had been quoted in national reports that “there are 128,368 pending drug-related cases being heard nationwide by 715 regional trial courts and it ‘will be insufficient considering the steady rise of new drug-related cases’”.

Of the 715 RTCs, only 65 are designated as special drug courts, while 121 family courts handle drug-related cases of minors, and while 529 courts try regular cases, according to national reports.

The additional 240 courts will help de-clog courts of pending cases.

It will “require fielding prosecutors from the Department of Justice and defense counsels from the Public Attorneys Office to avoid ‘unduly delay’ of the drug-related cases”, according to the SC in national reports.



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