Almost 75% anti-smoking violation cases dismissed

THE Municipal Trial Court in Cities-Office of the Clerk of Court (MTCC-OCC) Branch 7 reported that most anti-smoking ordinance cases have been dismissed in 2017.

In a data obtained from the office, the court has disposed 1,907 of the 2,751 total anti-smoking ordinance cases. The court received 844 cases that were subject for trial last year.

Court presiding Judge Rufino Ferraris Jr. said most of the cases cannot be pursued as police authorities failed to serve the case before it would reach the court.

Ferraris said there are a lot of smoking violation cases filed before the court but only few were served by the police because of lack of information from the accused.

He added that the reason why most of the cases for the anti-smoking ordinance were disposed because some of the accused used fake names or incomplete names and addresses.

Ferraris said accused with incomplete or fake details and/or no specific address remains to be a problem. He added that this should be addressed by the authorities.

He also said that cases on violation of the ordinance must not necessarily accumulate before the court because violators have an option to pay P500 at the City Hall and attend a seminar instead of being tried in court.

MTCC Branch 7 is the only court that hears violation on the anti-smoking ordinance in Davao City. The court has been encouraging authorities to get the complete details of the accused as much as possible to easily resolve the case.

The ordinance was passed by the Davao City Council in 2010 and approved by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio in 2011. The New Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance has canceled uneven provisions of the original ordinance.

Anyone issued with ticket has the option to either contest the violation in court or voluntarily pay the P500 penalty imposed on him or her to avoid being charged within three days from apprehension.

It is clearly stated, however, that the no contest provision can only be availed once and the violator must undergo smoking cessation counseling. Failure to undergo counseling still warrants the filing of a case in court.

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