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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

DILG-ARMM strengthens capacity of law enforcement agencies in filing drug cases

COTABATO CITY – The Department of the Interior and Local Government in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DILG-ARMM) said it is improving the capacity of law enforcement agencies with respect to the filing of cases on illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms.

Just last week, DILG-ARMM conducted an orientation on ‘Strengthening the Legal Capacity of Persons and Agents in Authority on Filing Drug Cases’.

The participating agencies were the Philippine National Police-ARMM, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-ARMM, prosecutor’s offices from Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-ARMM, National Bureau of Investigation-ARMM and the Department of Justice.

Atty. Noor Hafizullah Abdullah, DILG-ARMM Secretary, said the orientation was conducted to boost the capacity of persons and agents in authority specifically those involved in filing drug-related cases as well as in cases of illegal possession of firearms.

Sec. Abdullah added that the orientation seminar is in response to the issue of low conviction rate of drug cases in the region and is part of the continuing legal education on filing drug cases in courts.

“Pinag-aralan namin kung ano ang mga balakid, and we found out na mahina ang preparation or build-up ng case,” Sec. Abdullah said.

Since 2003, there were 1,854 cases of illegal drugs in the region, 177 of which were filed in 2016. Out of these cases, only three resulted in conviction, two in 2003 and one in 2011.

“There are certain cases also na at the prosecution level ay dini-dismiss na agad ang kaso,” the DILG-ARMM Secretary said. Cases dismissed immediately were recorded at 732, or about 40% of the total illegal drug cases in the past 14 years.

Valente Carino, Director II of PDEA-ARMM, said that 90% to 95% of illegal drug cases were dismissed because of lack of probable cause.

Atty. Rohairah Lao, Maguindanao provincial prosecutor, said there are common mistakes committed by persons and agents in authority that result in the dismissal of cases. Lao said these include lack of elements of the crime charged, inconsistent or contradictory statements of arresting officers in their affidavits during the inquest, and lack of vital documents and evidence, among others.

“We want that these policemen, in the subsequent filing of cases, be mindful doon sa mga procedural at substantial form nungcomplaint to the end na all those who are involved in the drug business will be convicted at the end of the day,” Sec. Abdullah added. (Bureau of Public Information)

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