Press Release
September 16, 2019

Transcript of Interview with Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

Q: On the recycling of drugs

Drilon: I am disgusted. I am saddened by the report of the PDEA that recycling of shabu is rampant. This recycling involves law enforcement agencies. As asserted by no less than the PDEA chief, there is rampant recycling, I am not very optimistic about the success of the anti-drug campaign, in general. We hope that specific measures can be undertaken to prevent this horrible practice from continuing. When I was secretary of justice and this was years ago, I already heard of this when we would call our witnesses and confront him why the amount of drug confiscated is different from the amount of drug presented to the court, the response is: kinain po ng daga. That is the kind of "cavalier" attitude that I saw. Unfortunately today, it's on a larger scale, mas malaki ang mga daga ngayon.

Q: Aside doon sa meeting ninyo with Court Administrator Marquez, ano pa yung nakikita ninyong remedy?

Drilon: We will request the office of the court administrator to give special attention, more rigorous enforcement of the law on the burning of drugs confiscated.

Q: Bakit Sir hindi pwede yung sinabi ni Sen. Bato ba kumuha na lang ng samples at itapon kaagad?

Drilon: Because this is evidence. The drug confiscated is the evidence you will use to convict the accused. If you throw away your evidence, what evidence will you present?

Q: It's 72 hours after the filing?

Section 21 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 provides that: "After the filing of the criminal case, the Court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours, conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including the instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment, and through the PDEA shall within twenty-four (24) hours thereafter proceed with the destruction or burning of the same, in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, civil society groups and any elected public official."

Drilon: Can you imagine, P22 billion worth of inventory and some of the inventory dating back nine years ago, when, in fact, nine years ago it should have been destroyed. The temptation is always there. You have to spend a lot of budget in order to make sure that this does not happen, but it can be prevented by destroying the drugs, within a certain period and with proper authorization.

Q: Yung court ang dapat magbigay ng authorization?

Drilon: Yes, because the evidence must be preserved.

Q: Yung court yung nagkukulang?

Drilon: Hindi ko alam. That is why I want to hear from them.

Do you still think it is credible that recycling of drugs is rampant?

Drilon: Yes. When a law enforcement officer confesses that recycling is rampant, that is an admission against the interest of the law enforcement agency. Therefore, you must give it a very high credibility. Hindi naman araw-araw sisisihin ng law enforcement ang kapwa law enforcement. This is similar to evidence as what we call an admission against the interest and it is given the highest credibility. When the PDEA chief says there is rampant recycling among law enforcers, you give that the highest credibility because this is an admission that law enforcement is failing from the very law enforcer itself.

Including the admission that drug convicts inside BuCor and other jails are still selling drugs?

Drilon: Yes. In fact there is an admission on that. As part of policy, through the budget, we will provide for a budget to establish a unit of PDEA in the Bilibid. I found it funny that the closure was (of PDEA unit in Muntinlupa) due to, I don't know, bad blood sila (Aquino) ni Faeldon. Sen. Dela Rosa admitted that it was closed and supposedly transferred somewhere else. Apparently, it did not push through. It is appropriate that we provide budget and reopen a PDEA unit in Muntinlupa.

Q: On the GCTA, do you see the necessity for Sen. De Lima to be given the opportunity to explain her side?

Drilon: Yes, certainly. She should be given the opportunity. I join the call of Sen. Lacson that she should be given the opportunity,

Q: What's you assessment so far?

Drilon: It only means that we must overhaul the BuCor as an immediate measure. We must review the structure of supervision. I would favor that we return the power of control and supervision of the SOJ over the BuCor. In fact, one of the amendments that I will include is to put into the law Department Order 953 which requires the clearance or authority of the secretary of justice for releases of lifetime prisoners. In general, I would return the control and supervision of the DOJ over the BuCor. Of course, you can provide all the legal restrictions but, at the end of the day, it is the people themselves who be running BuCor, who could throw a monkey wrench on all these laws that we've passed.

Q: What do you make of the call of the PDEA chief to look into drug trades in provincial jails?

Drilon: Certainly, that is a valid observation, because given the congestion and the deplorable conditions in our city and provincial jails, that the drug trade is rampant is not be dismissed lightly. I think we may lack evidence on that but that is the common perception.

Q: Who do you think should be held liable for the questionable implementation of the GCTA Law?

Drilon: For incompetence and neglect, I think Faeldon is responsible. But for the law itself, there is doubt thrown on the coverage or inclusion of the life termers in the GCTA Law. The confusion rose in the manner the law was crafted. That is why I am saying I am not prepared to say that there is a malicious intent to violate the law. But certainly, there is negligence when we hear all these anomalies that have nothing to do with the law.

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