NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, Major General Debold M. Sinas yesterday said they are seeing to it that all police anti-narcotics officers in Metro Manila will be equipped with the proper knowledge and training on carrying out their job to ensure the successful prosecution of their targets.
To do this, the official said members of the different NCRPO Drug Enforcement Units are required to undergo refresher training-seminar on different provisions of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 to equip them with better knowledge in ensuring the certainty of conviction of drug targets in the metropolis which remained the center of illegal drug activities in the country.
Many RA 9165 cases filed against known drug personalities in Metro Manila and other parts of the country have been dismissed due to the failure of arresting officers to follow the rules of law including the chain of custody rule which was meant to ensure the integrity of the seized drugs and protect suspects against the possibility of ‘planted evidence.’
Judges and prosecutors are also one in saying that another fault of the police is the absence of any member of the media or the National Prosecution Service in the scene of the operation to avoid doubts about the integrity of the evidence.
The Supreme Court also declared that “the prosecution cannot merely rely on the oft-cited presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty to justify non-compliance with the law’s mandate.’’
“The presumption of innocence enjoyed by the accused stands so long as there is reasonable doubts on their culpability,” the High Tribunal explained.
The seminar, Maj. Gen. Sinas said, is vital since NCRPO agents from January 1 to date have conducted 8,323 anti-narcotics operations which led in the arrest of 14,887 drug personalities and the seizure of some P1.7 billion worth of shabu and other prohibited drugs.
The official said that they are embarking on a massive program to further increase their drug conviction rate thru the 100 percent appearance of arresting officers coupled with their solid testimonies during the trial of each drug case.
Sinas said the program initiated by the NCRPO Regional Intelligence Division is part of their continuing education and training specifically in their effort to secure more drug convictions and at the same time educate their men on strict laws when it comes to handling of drug evidence, making arrests and the banned ‘planting’ of evidence and other irregularities in the conduct of anti-narcotics operations.
The NCRPO chief said they are seeing to it that members of the five NCRPO District DEUs as well as Station DEUs will be fully knowledgeable on the ‘do’s and don’ts’ in RA 9165 as part of their full support to the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte to go all-out against illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
“The seminar aimed to enhance the knowledge of our operatives and investigators on the proper procedures in dealing with legal matters on anti-illegal drugs operations as well as to address issues and concerns about the prosecution related to drug cases,” Maj. Gen. Sinas said.
A total of 175 participants including the different chiefs of police from the Northern Police District and members of the NPD and Eastern Police District DEUs and Station DEUs attended the seminar.
Guest lecturers include experts from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency- National Capital Region and the NCRPO Regional Legal Office and the Regional Crime Laboratory Office.
“This is geared at further enhancing Team NCRPO’s capability in the war on drugs and criminality in Metro Manila,” said Sinas.
The official also commended members of different NCRPO DEUs who have made major arrests and seizures so far this year despite the pandemic.
They include the confiscation of P136 million worth of shabu in Pasig City last August 19; the seizure of P61.2 million worth of the so-called ‘poor man’s cocaine’ in an apartment in Taguig City last May 4; and the recovery of an estimated P6.8 million worth of shabu in Makati City last May 6.
The NCRPO already has four Narcotics Detector Dogs serving as ‘front-liners’ in their stepped-up campaign against illegal narcotics in the metropolis.