Press Release
June 4, 2014

Grace Poe sponsors bill to strengthen Dangerous Drugs Law

Sen. Grace Poe pushed for crucial amendments to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act 9165, as amended) to strengthen the country's fight against the drug menace and catch perpetrators.

In sponsoring Senate Bill 2273 (Committee Report No. 45), Poe, chair of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, stressed three points in amending Section 21 of the law, which pertains to the preservation of evidence in seized illegal drugs.

"First, the current law requires that inventory of seized dangerous drugs must take place at the police station. We propose that this inventory must take place at the police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer or team of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency."

"Second, the current law states that a media representative, a Department of Justice (DOJ) representative, and an elected public official must be present during the inventory as witnesses. We propose that only two witnesses must be required: an elected public official and a media or DOJ representative," Poe said.

"Third, the current law provides that noncompliance with Section 21 renders the evidence inadmissible. We propose that improper compliance or noncompliance under justifiable grounds will not render the seizure void," the senator added.

Poe explained that the proposed amendments aim to address conflicting court decisions, citing People vs. Magat and People vs. Frondozo where noncompliance led to acquittal of the accused; and People vs. Pringas where the accused was convicted despite noncompliance with Section 21.

The senator further explained, "Compliance with the rule on witnesses during physical inventory is difficult, since media representatives are not always available, especially in remote areas. It is not easy to get local officials as witnesses. Most police stations are also far from places where suspects are apprehended."

"Drug addiction has soared to a new height, endangering the youth and destroying society. Panahon na para susugan ang ating batas para sa malawakang pagsugpo ng droga-- dahil ito'y sumisira ng buhay, dahil ito'y problema ng maraming kabataan, dahil ito'y nagbabaon ng ating lipunan sa lalong kahirapan," Poe ended.

Committee Report No. 45 is a consolidation of seven Senate bills authored by Sens. Poe, Vicente Sotto III, Gringo Honasan, JV Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada. It takes into consideration the approved House version.

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