3 drug suspects freed due to technicality-A A +A
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
THE City Prosecutor’s Office (CPO) reminded police officers about the proper chain of custody in arresting suspected illegal drug violators.
This after the CPO dismissed the violation of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Davao against Karl Utto, Jehirin Hajan and Sitti Utto.
Prosecutor Mariam Mastura-Linsangan dismissed the motion for reconsideration dated September 17 filed by the police authorities after the latter failed to establish the chain of custody during and after the arrest of the three respondents.
Linsangan said there was no date and time when the police authorities relinquished custody of the items seized; no signature as to whoever accepted the items; and no date and time when the items were accepted.
The prosecutor also said that the witnesses during the arrest were incomplete as there were no media and Department of Justice (DOJ) representatives listed, but only a barangay councilor and a woman.
“It must be stressed to the PNP (Philippine National Police) that the purpose of the chain of custody requirement is to make sure that the evidences is not contaminated, not added on or lessened so as to remove any reasonable doubt in the mind of the Court, especially in drugs cases. This is basic and should be known by every police officer and every police official,” Linsangan said.
Linsangan said the three respondents were dismissed since they were only outside the residence when the search warrant was implemented.
The prosecutor said the seized items were found on the body of the three and not in the cabinet, which was the main subject of the search warrant issued by Executive Judge Pelagio Paguican.
“To recall, the search warrant [is] a warrant to search only a particular portion of the house and not to search the body of residents who are not committing any crime,” Linsangan said.
A personnel from the CIDG, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak, said the three were already released from jail.
He said their office is trying their best to comply with the law.
He said he hopes it would not affect the name of their office as they are doubling their efforts to arrest law violators. (Arianne Caryl N. Casas)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 19, 2012.