Supreme Court OKs destruction of seized illegal drugs
MANILA - Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday said his department has obtained CCTV footage and sworn statements of law enforcement personnel involved in the shootout between operatives of the police force and the anti-narcotics agency last month.
The Feb. 24 incident along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, which a top official described as a "misencounter", left 2 policemen, a PDEA agent, and an informant dead, according to authorities.
In statement, Guevarra said they already secured the CCTV footage of the incident, as well as the affidavits of civilian witnesses and the sworn statements of police and PDEA operatives involved.
The two agencies earlier maintained their operations were legitimate, but questions on how the gunfight happened remained unanswered based on initial details released to the media.
Malacañang earlier said that President Rodrigo Duterte wanted the National Bureau of Investigation to be the sole body authorized to probe the encounter, to bring about "impartiality."
SC approves destruction of confiscated illegal drugs
In the same statement, Guevarra said the Supreme Court has approved the destruction and disposal of seized illegal drugs by law enforcement authorities.
In a document released on Monday, the high court directed law enforcement personnel to immediately file an application for the illegal drugs' disposal and destruction before the court that issued the warrant for seizure.
The rule will be effective on March 16, the court said, after its publication.
"If the seizure or confiscation was done without a warrant, the application for their destruction and disposal shall be filed before the court which has territorial jurisdiction over the case and the place where the dangerous drugs, other substances, and instruments were found and seized," the document read.
The rule also upholds the proper documentation of seized items, which includes inventory and photograph.
The judge, according to the SC, should conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated items within 3 days from the time the application was filed.
Such action will be needed "if the seized drugs amount to 1 kilogram or more, or if the seized instruments and equipment cannot be physically brought to court."
After the ocular inspection is conducted, the SC said the court should order its destruction and disposal.
The seized drugs should also be sent and delivered to the PDEA's Drug Forensic Center, where witnesses would see the actual destruction.
"The applicant shall file a report to the court, with attached photographs and video recordings of the destruction and disposal process within 24 hours from the actual destruction and disposal of seized drugs and items," it said.
This came some 5 months since President Rodrigo Duterte directed authorities to destroy confiscated illegal drugs to prevent “unscrupulous” anti-drug operatives from recycling them and peddling them on the streets.
- With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News