Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (File photo)
MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to authorities to destroy confiscated illegal drugs in one week to prevent them from being recycled, saying that all contraband should be destroyed immediately after being inventoried.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he consulted his law school classmate, Supreme Court Administrator Raul Villanueva, regarding the matter.
“Ang sabi po niya, nagkaroon ng direktiba ng Kaatas-taasang hukuman na dapat i-destroy na ang mga kumpiskadong mga droga as soon as it is inventoried (He said, there is a directive from the Supreme Court that confiscated drugs should be destroyed as soon as they are inventoried),” he said.
Roque was referring to Office of the Court Administrator Circular No. 118-2020 which requires judges to strictly comply with the procedure outlined in Section 21 of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
According to Roque, there was no need to keep illegal drugs as evidence as long as they were already inventoried.
“Hindi na po kinakailangang itago ‘yan para maprisenta bilang ebidensya dahil inventory report ang gagamiting ebidensiya (There is no need to keep the drugs and present them as evidence because the inventory report is what will be used as evidence),” he said.
He said the President and the judiciary share the same goal of preventing illegal drugs from being recycled.
Roque, meanwhile, appealed to the public to trust judiciary personnel if they lacked confidence that police officers would really get rid of illegal drugs.
“Huwag po kayo mag-aalala. Ang pagsisira po ng mga drogang ‘yan ay gagawin ng ehukatibo at hudikatura. Kung wala po tayong tiwala sa mga drug enforcement agencies o kapulisan, magtiwala po tayo sa personnel ng mga hudikatura (Don’t worry. The destruction of drugs will be done by the executive and judiciary. If you don’t trust drug enforcement agencies or the police, trust the personnel of the judiciary),” he said.
In his public address on Monday night, Duterte ordered authorities to destroy confiscated shabu within a week to prevent them from being stolen, used, or recycled.
“I want all the shabu residual or otherwise, however minimal, destroyed, the whole of it by next week. You have so many days to do it, one week. Do it in one week. Destroy and get specimen,” he said.
Duterte said he saw no reason to keep confiscated prohibited drugs sitting in facilities for so long.
“We go by science, there’s the experiment. Why do we have to put on our shoulder the burden of keeping a contraband or merchandise that can be stolen and used, and recycled?” he said.
Agencies at the forefront of the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign vowed to immediately comply with Duterte’s order. (PNA)