Monday, January 12, 2009

PDEA needs prosecutorial powers - Sen. Revilla

A bill that would give prosecutorial powers to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to expedite probes and filing of drug cases is being considered at the Senate.

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. said he would file the measure “to arrest the worsening row and finger-pointing” between the Department of Justice and the PDEA over the alleged bribery drug scandal involving some justice officials and prosecutors.

“The growing problem of illegal drug is peculiar and I believe that it should be given special attention and greater scrutiny, thus the creation of a focused team tasked solely for the purpose is necessary,” he said in a statement on Monday.

In his bill, Revilla said he would propose the creation of a special prosecutorial office within the PDEA that would be empowered to directly prosecute offenders involved in “no-bail” drug cases.

At present, the senator said, the PDEA could only cause the filing of appropriate criminal and civil cases for violation of all laws on illegal drugs but the prosecution of these cases remains with the DOJ.

“I believe the DOJ is doing its best to resolve all the cases submitted to it with only the best intentions and in the soonest possible time, but the DOJ’s hands are very full. It is in this light that we would like to unburden the DOJ,” said the senator.

If the PDEA would be granted prosecutorial powers, Revilla said the agency would have sole accountability in the determination of filing of drug cases and would avoid finger-pointing like what happened in the so-called “Alabang boys.”

He expressed apprehension that the drug problem in the country would further worsen if the word war between the PDEA and DOJ would continue.

“There is no reason for the DOJ and the PDEA to be at each other’s throat. I believe that drug money and big-time drug lords are fueling this controversy to their benefit. As concerned agencies engage in verbal fighting and buck passing, only drug syndicates are meriting,” Revilla added.


by Maila Ager,

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