THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said they are enhancing their case monitoring effort with the end in view of ensuring the conviction of arrested drug personalities in the country.
PDEA chair Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva said they have achieved an 80 percent drug conviction rate as a result of their much-improved case monitoring system in which PDEA operatives monitor cases for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, filed by their men in different regional trial courts and the prosecutor’s office nationwide.
“We in the PDEA have officers assigned to monitor every RA 9165 case filed by our operational units. These personnel are out there in the court doing their job right from the start of the filing of the case and its entire pendency,” he said.
Villanueva said it’s a major reason why they have increased their drug conviction rate. “Nabawasan ang mga witnesses na hindi umaattend ng bista, ng court hearings. We also send a report to the PNP regarding the presence of PNP personnel na hindi uma-attend ng court hearings despite repeated summons,” he added.
“Eighty percent ang conviction rate namin as of now. Mahirap paniwalaan but totoo,” he said while adding that automatic dismissal from the agency faces a PDEA agent who will be found “bungling” a drug case.
PNP chief General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar said they are also very strict when it comes to attendance of policemen-witnesses in drug cases and assured the public that members of the PNP who “bungles” a drug case by being absent in court faces stiff sanctions including dismissal from the police force.
The PNP Drug Enforcement Group has a 74.95 percent drug conviction rate although Eleazar said the same cannot be said when it comes to other PNP anti-narcotics units.
“Sa whole of the PNP, tingin ko hindi ganun kataas pero kaya nga meron tayong committee sa dismissed drug cases kasi ang intention natin is mapataas ang ating drug conviction. Sinisiguro natin na nandiyan lahat ng policies natin when it comes to lapses resulting in the dismissal of drug cases,” Eleazar said.
Effective officers’ supervision needed
Both officials agreed that effective supervision of their officers in the field is needed as they implement the new policy.
Eleazar said they also need all their commanders to echo the new guidelines for strict compliance by their men.
“Lahat ng pagkakataon ay gumagawa tayo ng policy. Lahat halos ng activities natin eh me guidelines and protocols but ang pagsunod is another thing. Thus to be effective, there’s a need for effective supervision, hindi lang kami kung hind pati ang Regional Directors, Provincial Directors down to Chiefs of Police. They must supervise and they are responsible and accountable for their operations since they will be held liable for any violations,” the PNP chief said.
For his part, Villanueva said they have “fixed” the whole problem and have focused on the proper procedures needed to be done by their men in the field.
“We have empowered the RDs, the DDs, the station commanders of the PNP and those from the PDEA and even gave them the responsibility to supervise their men. All anti-drug operations should really be supervised kasi me tendency na lumiko sa kanan o kaliwa,” the PDEA chief said.
Villanueva expressed optimism that their campaign against illegal drugs will be more effective now that concerned commanders have been directed to monitor and fully supervise their men as part of their transparency program.
Eleazar told all officers and men of the PNP, as well as their PDEA counterparts, to fully comply with the new unified guidelines.
“In reality, hindi tayo perpekto, meron tayong own sentiments. But look at the (PNP and PDEA) leadership, kung nakikita niyo na nag-uusap kami, you should follow that lead, isipin na iisa ang ating trabaho. We have our own personal biases on every situation but at the end of the day, we should respect each other,” he said.
Eleazar also made it clear that the PNP fully recognize the PDEA as the lead agency in the enforcement of the country’s anti-illegal drugs law just the same way that the PDEA recognizes the major role being played by the police force in the war on drugs.