Gordon slams court 'inaction' on San Juan drug haul, to subpoena judge


Posted at Sep 19 2017 01:41 PM

MANILA - Sen. Richard Gordon on Tuesday lambasted the judiciary for allegedly failing to act against illegal drugs, after a Senate hearing found that a local judge has yet to inspect and turn over to anti-drug authorities part of the 890-kg shabu haul seized in the city in December 2016. 

Gordon, chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, is keen to subpoena Judge Jovencio Gascon over what he described to be the court's slow action on the drug haul. 

Under the law, the court should conduct an ocular inspection of seized narcotics within 72 hours after the filing of related criminal cases. The drugs should then be turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and destroyed within 24 hours. 

But out of the total 890-kilo drug haul, Gascon has only inspected and turned over to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 560 kilos, agency officials told the Senate panel.

"I'm willing to challenge the gods of law and subpoena this judge even if I know I should not... subpoena him so that I will create a Constitutional crisis where the court will say you have no right to interfere with the judiciary. And I will now say the judiciary is not doing their work," Gordon said. 

"This judge should be brought to the Ombudsman right away." 

Gascon has yet to release an inspection order for the rest of the drug haul, which remains in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation, added PDEA-Metro Manila director Wilkins Villanueva.

"I don't think we have room for drugs that have been confiscated in December to still be loitering around somewhere... [It] could be re-channeled -- and I'm not saying it has been -- and re-distributed," said Gordon.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said he asked Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno in August to expedite the inspection of the confiscated narcotics. 

Aguirre added that Gascon took a leave of absence in July and would be reporting back to work on September 28. 

Gordon ordered Aguirre to submit an affidavit on his conversation with Sereno so that a subpoena may be issued against Gascon.

Watch a live streaming of the hearing here