Thirty-six lawyers of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) recently attended a forum to strengthen the prosecution of drug cases and ensure high conviction rate.
“Known as ‘PDEA Lawyers’ Forum’, the two-day conference held on December 1 to 2, 2016 in Camelot Hotel. Quezon City was designed to address the high dismissal and acquittal rate of drug-related cases in the Philippines by identifying and developing feasible mechanisms to counter the problem,” said PDEA Director General Isidro S. Lapeña.
Lapeña said PDEA lawyers, 29 lawyers and 7 lawyers occupying Attorney Positions and Director Positions respectively, from all over the country convened and discussed the collective needs of the Agency and the necessary measures to be implemented to realize the ultimate goal of convicting arrested drug offenders.
The forum also saw the dialogue between PDEA lawyers and representatives of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and of the Judiciary, who served as resource persons during the gathering, which threshed out issues and concerns related to anti-drug prosecution.
In a consolidated report by PDEA Legal and Prosecution Service (LPS), out of the resolved cases numbering 8,444 filed from CY 2014 to October 2016 nationwide, a total of 1,697, or 20.1 percent, resulted in conviction; 2,059, or 24.4 percent, resulted in dismissal; and 4,688, or 55.5 percent, resulted in acquittal.
“These figures show the low conviction rate of the drug cases filed in the last three years. Internal support mechanisms have been institutionalized in PDEA, including the strengthened relationship among the different pillars of the criminal justice system. These should ensure the filing of air-tight drug cases, paving the way to the conviction of arrested drug personalities,” the PDEA chief said.