Junked drug cases in Cebu 'alarming'-A A +A
Friday, September 13, 2013
CEBU -- A former official of the Dangerous Drugs Board described as “alarming” the number of illegal drug cases dismissed in court.
Lawyer Clarence Paul Oaminal said that if the trend continues, the illegal drugs problem in Cebu will worsen. He added that drug-related crimes will also go up.
“Some of those arrested for peddling illegal drugs are now back to their illegal trade. That's alarming,” Oaminal said during the 888 News Forum at the Marco Polo Plaza last Tuesday.
Jesson Morata, spokesman of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor's Office, on Thursday said the high rate of dismissals of illegal drug cases, either at the prosecutors’ level or in courts — were due to lack of witnesses, mishandling of evidence and lapsed in period to take custody of suspects.
He said some illegal drug cases were dismissed because the policemen who arrested the accused failed to appear during court hearings.
During the forum, Oaminal said the illegal drug business knows no geographical boundaries. He said some drug lords who are based in Mandaue City operate in Talisay City, while those who are based in Cebu City supply illegal drugs for Lapu-Lapu City.
He said that if the drug enforcement agency is named PDEA — for Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency — the illegal drugs business also use the same acronym for drug havens: Pasil, Duljo-Fatima, Ermita and A. Lopez (Labangon).
He said many university students have been seen frequenting known drug dens in Pasil and Ermita and some of them even wear uniforms during shabu-sniffing sessions.
Oaminal said he informed Cebu City Police Office Director Noli Romana that some boarding houses have been converted by students into drug dens for their sessions.
“I pity the parents who send them to school, give them allowance for board and lodging and tuition,” Oaminal said.
Romana vowed to review police records on dismissed cases and inspect boarding houses.
Romana said that most of those arrested for selling illegal drugs are considered low-level because drug lords are able to hide their location.
"Illegal drugs are a multi-billion-peso business because even if the middle level peddlers are neutralized, the mastermind remains free and can hire other people,” he said. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 13, 2013.