Law enforcers feel betrayed on DOJ circular

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Friday, May 25, 2012


A FORMER chief of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) expressed dismay over a circular recently issued by Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila De Lima.

Lawyer Clarence Paul Oaminal said while drug syndicates are rejoicing, law enforcers feel betrayed by De Lima’s circular.

“This is disheartening as this is sabotaging the earnest efforts of our anti-drug enforcers in arresting and prosecuting members of drug syndicates,” Oaminal said.

Circular No. 012 orders that drug pushers will be released when their cases will be dismissed by the city or provincial prosecutor pending for review.

Oaminal said with the circular, a number of big time drug syndicates are released and are now rejoicing to continue being merchants of death outside of jail.

Based on his monitoring, Oaminal said since 2004, drug cases dismissed by the city or provincial prosecutor are reversed by reviewing officials either by the regional state prosecutor or by the Justice chief.

He said the circular abandons the previous stand of De Lima’s predecessors that prohibits the release of respondents when dismissed by the city or provincial prosecutors while pending review.

In 2004, then DOJ Secretary Simeon Datumanong strengthened the legal war against drugs as he issued DOJ Circular No. 46 mandating that drug cases dismissed by the city or provincial prosecutor shall be subject to automatic review by the Regional State Prosecutor.

Respondents, on the other hand, remain in custody while pending review.

The same circular was also adopted by Secretary Raul Gonzalez and even strengthened by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through Administrative Order No. 253 that says the review of dismissed drug cases will reach the Office of the President.

“This is the reason why the ‘Alabang Boys’ were not released even when the case was dismissed by the state prosecutor because it still has to be reviewed by the President,” Oaminal said.

Because of this, he believed that De Lima’s circular is illogical as no drug pushers would allow to be re-arrested when released by the city or provincial prosecutor if ever the reviewing authority would later reverse the finding and orders the filling of the case before the courts.

Meanwhile, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Director Roberto S. Opeña told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that since the circular was already issued there’s nothing they can do but to follow and obey the order.

“In fact, ginagawa na namin ‘yan pero nakaka-demoralized talaga at unacceptable especially sa mga agent natin sa field dahil sayang ang kanilang effort,” Opeña said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 25, 2012.

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