RTC judges told to strictly adhere to rule on expeditious destruction of seized drugs

THE Office of the Court Administrator on Wednesday directed regional trial court (RTC) judges to strictly adhere to the provision of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, on the disposal of confiscated illegal drugs.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez issued the directive after a recent meeting with Philippine National Police chief Gen. Archie Gamboa where the latter disclosed  that illegal drugs confiscated in their operations remain in their custody due to the delayed issuance of court orders for the mandatory destruction.

Marquez said judges should strictly comply with the requirements set forth in Section 21 (4) of the said law which mandates that after the filing of the criminal case, the court shall within 72 hours conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated illegal drugs and paraphernalia and that through the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency proceeded with the destruction or burning of the same within 24 hours.

Marquez also reminded the court that under the said provision, “a representative sample, duly weighed and recorded, must be retained.”

“If, for some justifiable reason, full compliance with the above is not always feasible, judges hearing drug cases are strongly advised to prioritize and comply with the above when the dangerous drugs seized amount to 5 kilograms, or more, conduct an ocular inspection within 72 hours from the filing of the information in court, then issue the order of destruction within 24 hours from the conduct of the ocular inspection, after retaining the required representative sample,” Marquez said in OCA Circular 118-2020.

He said that in cases where the illegal drugs seized is physically brought to the court, the court shall issue the order of destruction within 24 hours therefrom.

Marquez said courts with pending drug cases where the seized drugs amount to more than five kilograms, which have not yet been the object of  ocular inspection and issued orders for their destruction should immediately conduct the ocular inspection and within 24 hours therefrom issue the destruction orders.


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