OCA CIRCULAR NO. 118-2020
RE: ORDER OF DESTRUCTION OF DANGEROUS DRUGS PURSUANT TO SECTION 21 (4), REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165, as amended
The order was issued after Police General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP), informed the Office of Court Administrator, Jose Midas P. Marquez, that dangerous drugs confiscated and seized from various anti-drug operations remain in the custody of law enforcement agents due to the delayed issuance of court orders for their destruction.
The Supreme Court issued OCA CIRCULAR NO. 118-2020 on July 15, 2020, which orders the immediate seizure of dangerous drugs. This OCA Circular reminded all Regional Trial Courts’ Judges to strictly comply with the requirements set forth in Section 21 (4), R.A. No. 9165, as amended.
As a general rule, R.A. No. 9165 requires that the Court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours from the filing of the criminal case, conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs and other paraphernalia. Thereafter, within twenty-four (24) hours, the Court shall proceed with the destruction of the same. Exceptions to this rule are cases wherein such procedure cannot be complied with due to some justifiable reason. However, the Court strongly advised all judges to prioritize and comply with the requirements above when those seized dangerous drugs amounting to five (5) kilograms or more.
Moreover, for illegal drugs that are physically brought to the Court, the Court shall issue the order to destroy said illegal drugs within twenty-four (24) hours therefrom. Lastly, pending drugs cases where the seized dangerous drugs amount to more than five (5) kilograms which have not yet undergone the necessary ocular inspection and destruction must be immediately inspected, and within twenty- four (24) hours therefrom, a destruction order must be issued by the court.
In light of the foregoing discussion, the early destruction of dangerous drugs will unclog the evidence rooms and make the inventory of the subsequently seized dangerous drugs less taxing. Furthermore, problems involving the loss of seized dangerous drugs from anti-drug operations that are in the custody of law enforcement agencies may be mitigated. Most importantly, the purported issue regarding the “ninja cops” or police officers who allegedly sell confiscated illegal drugs may also be diminished.