OUT of the 4,423 drug-related cases filed by the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) in 2017, 59 were dismissed and only 11 led to convictions.
Supt. Ryan Devaras, chief of the Investigation and Detection Management Branch (IDMB), admitted that technicalities during the inventory of illegal drugs after operations were often the cause of dismissal, whether in the prosecutor’s level or in court.
“We saw that there were lapses during the inventories because we also have to consider how dangerous the area (where the operation took place) is. What if our operatives are shot while conducting inventory? Anything can happen especially in depressed areas involved in drugs,” Devaras said.
34 cases dismissed
Twenty-five cases were dropped in the prosecutor’s office while 34 others reached the courts but were dismissed.
Because the police don’t have the luxury of bringing along more back-up officers, Devaras said there may be some loopholes during the inventories of the illegal drugs seized.
“We’re also thinking of our safety. During drug operations, the police should be discreet so we can’t bring so many back-up (officers). The more personnel you bring, the more chances that the operation would fail,” he said.
During buy-busts or raids, the most number of police officers who can be involved is eight, the IDMB chief said.
The CCPO conducts, together with a prosecutor, a monthly review of the drug cases to determine what area they need to do more in, to prevent the dismissal of cases.
“There is a need for our police to review the procedures so that these will be observed,” he said.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on March 14, 2018.
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