President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to “go hard” against illegal drugs and criminality within the remaining two years of his term.
“I really intend to go hard within the last two years of my term against these criminals. We have seen an upsurge of holdups, street crimes again. It’s because of the liberality being offered by the opening of the economy. And of course, people are now allowed to roam freely and to travel,” the President said.
“The most convenient way is the motorcycle. After they have killed, they will just ride their motorcycle and leave. I saw one footage. This is very hard to control. I understand the nightmare the police are facing on how to control the mobility of the criminal right after committing a crime because motorcycles zigzag in and out of traffic situations and they can really get away with it easily,” he said.
Duterte said he saw a need to purchase new motorcycles for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to help prevent street crimes.
“We have to increase the mobile capacity of the police and we can buy motorcycles – the long ones – all that can negotiate any obstacle, the ordinary obstacles that you’d find in the streets,” he said.
Duterte, a motorcycle enthusiast, said it was not enough for cops to know how to ride a motorcycle, they should undergo training.
He asked Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to plan the purchase of motorcycles, suggesting that the 250cc motorcycles “would be a good one.”
Duterte also said police officers should be in plainclothes or cvilian clothes so that criminals would not be able to spot them.
At the same time, Duterte said he was pleased with the destruction of confiscated drugs worth P8.1 billion in Tanza, Cavite, to prevent these from being recycled.
Earlier, Duterte instructed the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General to coordinate with courts to come up with protocols for destroying confiscated drugs.
“There should be a fiscal on duty just to take a few random samples and give it on the spot. He would give the sample taken and have it tested to certify that it’s shabu. After that, within about 24 hours, it should be immediately destroyed,” Duterte said.
Duterte said the random sample of confiscated illegal drugs must be tested thrice before its immediate burning to prevent storage and recycling of such substances.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, trial courts are required to conduct an ocular inspection of the illegal drugs and paraphernalia within 72 hours from the filing of the criminal information.
Then the seized items have to be destroyed, through the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, within 24 hours after the inspection. A representative sample of the seized drugs will be retained for use as evidence during the trial of the case.
Duterte made the war on illegal drugs his centerpiece program upon assuming the presidency in 2016. Around 5,000 drug-related suspects were charged under the anti-illegal drugs initiative Oplan Tokhang, but thousands, too, have been killed in what human rights activists said were extrajudicial killings.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Thursday assured the public that all confiscated drugs under its custody would be destroyed, in compliance with the President’s orders.
PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva said the agency has been destroying confiscated drug evidence recovered during anti-drug operations and those turned over by other law enforcement agencies that were recently ordered by the courts to be destroyed.
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