THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-Davao said out of around 100 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) who availed themselves of the plea bargaining program of the government, 90 percent returned to the illegal drug trade.
Lawyer Bhen Joseph Tesiorna, assistant director of PDEA-Davao, said based on their monitoring, they have apprehended several individuals who just availed themselves of the plea bargaining in their anti-illegal drug operations.
“Nakit-an namo na nga problema, daghan mga ni-avail sa plea bargaining, pagkagawas nila pinakataas ra isa ka bulan madakpan namo usab (Many PDLs avail themselves of the plea bargaining program but after they are released, maximum of one month they get arrested again),” Tesiorna said, adding that “10 percent lang ana na-reform kung dili mamaligaya, mu-relapse ra na kadali pero kung wala nay source sa panginabuhian mubalik ra na.”
Thus, they have requested for a dialogue with the Regional Trial Court to iron out the framework (of the plea bargaining program) and its implementation in drug cases, as it has been taken advantage of by drug suspects as they still return to their illegal deeds.
“Instead of being reformed, ang nahitabo nahimo silang part sa sindikato. Paggawas nila, either mahimo silang runner or mahimo silang street level pusher. Which is why we are trying to push and speed up the implementation of Balay Silangan kay kining Balay Silangan tailored aning problemaha,” he said.
Balay Silangan is a reformation house, a national program that offers temporary refuge for drug pushers who surrender with the objective of reforming them into self-sufficient and law-abiding members of society.
But Tesiorna said only drug pushers will be catered here where they will be rehabilitated and given intervention to veer them away from illegal activities, especially illegal drugs trade.
“Katong mga pushers ayaw ibutang sa rehabilitation, kung mag-plea bargaining isulod sila sa Balay Silangan daghang issue nga ma-address like economic, employment, teach them other sources of income, in coordination with Tesda tapos kung gagamit sad sila mutabang pud ang DSWD and DOH (Pushers should not be put in rehabilitation, instead they should be placed in Balay Silangan were many issues will be addressed like economic, employment, teach them other sources of income in coordination with Tesda. And if they also use illegal drugs, DSWD and the DOH will also help them),” he said.