OUT of 6,000 cases received, 65 percent of the people placed in community correction are related to illegal drug offenses, said the Department of Justice (DOJ) Parole and Probation Administration (PPA) in Davao Region.

“Marami tayong [illegal] drug cases, out of 6,000 plus, nasa 4,000 (We have a lot of illegal drug cases, out of 6,000 plus there are at least 4,000), about 65 percent of the total cases received by the Parole and Probation Administration (PPA) in Region 11 are [illegal] drug-related offenses,” Benjamin Cutay Jr., Regional Director of DOJ-PPA Davao, said during the Kapehan sa Dabaw press conference.

Cutay said not all illegal drug cases qualify for probation.

“Doon (According) sa Republic Act 9165, Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 ay magqu-qualify doon sa probations, meron mga particular sections lamang, like used, meron syang ceiling dyan, dapat hindi sya more than one gram pag shabu, pag-marijuana it should not exceed 300 grams, pwede siya i-probation (there are only particular sections that would qualify them in probation... There's a ceiling that should not be more than one gram if it is meth [shabu] and if it is marijuana it should not exceed 300 grams so that they can avail probation),” Cutay said.

Cutay said for marijuana, the 300 grams is only for users; but if it involves selling they will not be subject to a plea bargaining agreement.

“Even your case is subject for plea bargaining agreement sa (in) PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) hindi parin (it is still not allowed), kasi there’s a new department circular of the Department of Justice 27, prohibiting na hindi siya basta-basta isu-subject for plea bargaining ang ganon na mga klase, especially kung magbaligya na, lahi na nga usapan, murag dako na kaayo ang imong influence imuhang mamaligya og droga daghan na kaayo kag biktima (because there’s a new department circular of the Department of Justice, No. 27, prohibiting them from a plea bargaining, especially if it involves selling. That’s a different story, you already have a significant influence as a seller and you already have a lot of victims),” Cutay said.

However, Cutay said the new circular from the Supreme Court they received on June 22, 2022, has some issues when it comes to equal rights.

“Sa [illegal] drug cases, magbayad una ka sa fine bago aksyonan sa korte imuhang petition for probation, which I told the judges this in violation of the equal protection of the laws provided under the Philippine Constitution (For the illegal drug cases you have to pay a fine first before the court takes an action of your petition for probation),” Cutay said.

Cutay said the minimum fine of the violation of RA 9165 is P40,000 and it is unfair for those who can’t afford it.

“So kung pobre ka, di gyud ka makabayad sa P40,000 so therefore makulong ka, mao na’y lisod... sa pulo kabuok nga na-convict og droga, tulo ang mayaman, pito ang pobre and indigent... so kinsa diay pwede ma-probation katong mga dato lang? katong maka-afford? Kato diay mga pobre dili? (So if you’re poor, you can’t pay the P40,000 fine therefore you will be convicted, that will be hard, out of 10 convicted of illegal drugs, three of them are rich while the seven are indigent, so who can only avail the probation? Those rich people? Those who can afford it? What about the poor?),” Cutay said.

But Cutay said the said circular also eases their jobs as they only have limited personnel.

Also, Cutay said, the remaining cases placed in community correction committed different crimes such as acts of lasciviousness, qualified theft, crimes against person or property, etc. KSD