Over 152,000 drug cases filed in court under Duterte admin
MANILA, Philippines – The National Prosecution Service (NPS) has so far recorded 152,741 drug cases filed with various courts during President Rodrigo Duterte's term.
Despite the huge number, however, many of the cases are being dismissed or the accused were acquitted by the courts.
According to NPS, it filed 68,859 drug-related complaints in 2016. Of those cases, 1,132 involved minors as the accused.
The courts resolved 8,051 of those cases in 2016, with 2,241 drug cases leading to prosecutions and convictions for the accused, 2,617 cases were dismissed; and in 2,186 the accused were acquitted.
Court proceedings for 1,007 drug cases, meanwhile, were either suspended as a result of prejudicial questioning or were referred to other agencies.
Numbers from 2017 and 2018
In 2017, the NPS filed 70,706 drug cases in courts with 1,645 cases involving minors.
The court resolved 21,383 of those cases, with 7,011 resulting in convictions, 5,270 cases leading to dismissals, and 6,353 acquittals.
Proceedings for 2,749 drug cases, meanwhile, were either suspended due to prejudicial questioning or referred to other agencies.
During the first quarter of 2018, the NPS filed 13,176 drug cases. Of these, 9,030 were resolved by the courts, with 5,693 convictions, 1,060 dismissals, and 1,713 acquittals.
Dismissals on technical issues
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he was concerned about the high rate of dismissals of court cases.
"Often the main reason for dismissal is technical – that is, failure to observe procedural requirements, particularly on the chain of custody of the drugs seized," he said.
Guevarra added the Department of Justice "has to collaborate more closely with law enforcers to ensure that dismissals based on technicalities are reduced.
"Maybe the new guidelines on plea bargaining in drug cases can also speed up the disposition of drug cases and increase the rate of convictions without going to trial," he explained. – Rappler.com