Over 13,000 drug suspects convicted in 2018 – PDEA
MANILA, Philippines – Over 13,000 drug suspects were convicted in 2018, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said on Tuesday, April 16.
In a statement, the PDEA said the Duterte administration filed a total of 41,583 cases for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act in 2018. Of that number, 13,111 have resulted in the conviction of drug suspects.
This means that for every 10 drug suspects captured in 2018, only 3 have been convicted. The 7 remaining are either already acquitted or still undergoing prosecution.
The announcement comes after the PDEA also counted 5,332 drug suspects killed since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office on July 1, 2016, up to February 28, 2019. In the same period, a total of 176,021 drug suspects were arrested.
According to PDEA chief Director General Aaron Aquino, the convictions are owing to their lawyers' "active participation" in pre-trial proceedings, where drug cases supposedly got dismissed easily at the beginning of the administration's so-called "war on drugs."
Despite the convictions in court, the PDEA and the Duterte government have a new challenge: to keep the drug suspects convicted even after appeals.
There has been a trend of drug cases reaching conviction only to be reversed by the Supreme Court (SC) due to the government's failure to follow the chain of custody. In its latest decision, the SC stressed that the presumption of regularity in police drug operations will not be enough to sustain a conviction. – Rappler.com