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COMMITTEEREPORTNO.45ONSENATEBILLNO.

2273
UponmotionofSenatorAngara,therebeingnoobjection,the
Bodyconsidered,onSecondReading,SenateBillNo.2273
(CommitteeReportNo.45),entitled
AN ACT TO FURTHER STRENGTHEN THE ANTI
DRUG CAMP AIGN OF THE GOVERNMENT,
AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTION 21 OF
REPUBLICACTNO.9165,OTHERWISEKNOWNAS
THE COMPREHENSIVE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT
OF2002.

Proposal: Only two witnesses are required an elected


public official and either a media representative or a DOJ/
NationalProsecutionServicerepresentative.
3.CurrentLaw: NoncompliancewithSection21rendersthe
evidenceinadmissible.
Proposal: Improper compliance or non compliance under
justifiablegroundswillnotrendertheseizurevoid.

PursuanttoSection67,RuleXXIIIoftheRulesoftheSenate,
with the permission of the Body, upon motion of Senator
Angara,onlythetitleofthebillwasreadwithoutprejudiceto
theinsertionofitsfulltextintotheRecordoftheSenate.

TheCommitteedeemedit fittorecommendtheamendmentof
theexistingprovisionbecausewhileSection21wasenshrined
intheComprehensiveDangerousDrugsActtosafeguardthe
integrity of the evidence acquired and prevent planting of
evidence, the application of said section resulted in the
ineffectiveness of the governments campaign to stop
increasingdrugaddictionandalso,intheconflictingdecisions
ofthecourts.

Thereupon, the Chair recognized Senator Poe for the


sponsorship.

Toillustratebycitingjustthreeofthemostrecentdecisions
involvingSection21:

SPONSORSHIPSPEECHOFSENATORPOE

a.AcasepertainingtoSection21wherenoncomplianceled
toacquittaloftheaccused:

Senator Poe submitted for the consideration of the Body


Senate Bill No. 2273 under Committee Report No. 45, a
consolidationofseven(7)SenatebillsauthoredbySenators
Vicente Sotto III, Gringo Honasan, Joseph Victor Ejercito
Estrada, Jinggoy Estrada and herself, which also took
cognizanceoftheapprovedHouseversionbyRepresentative
VicenteBelmonte.
ThefulltextSenatorPoe'ssponsorshipspeechfollows:
ThislegislationispurelyanamendmenttoSection21ofthe
present Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of2002.The
proposed amendments can be summarized by stating the
existingpracticeasprovidedinSection21andtheproposed
improvements,asfollows:
ThislegislationispurelyanamendmenttoSection21ofthe
presentComprehensiveDangerousDrugsActof2002.
Theproposedamendmentscanbesummarizedbystatingthe
existingpracticeasprovidedinSection21andtheproposed
improvements,asfollows:
1.Current Law: Inventory must take place in the police
station.
Proposal:Inventorymusttakeplaceinthepolicestationbutit
canalsotakeplaceinthenearestofficeoftheapprehending
officerorteamofthePDEA.
2.CurrentLaw:Amediarepresentative,aDOJrepresentative,
and an elected public official must be present during the
inventoryaswitnesses.

In People vs. Magat (2008) Failure to observe chain of


custodywasfataltotheprosecution'scase.Thepolicemarked
thetwosachetsatthepolicestation,insteadoftheplaceof
apprehension and not immediately after arrest at the
presence of the accused. None of the three required
representativesforinventorywaspresent.
In PeoplevsFrondozo (2009)Theaccusedwasacquitted
whenitwasproventhatpolicefailedtocomplywithSection
21,whichraiseddoubtsastotheoriginoftheevidence.
Accordingly,theacquittalwasanchoredontheargumentsthat
therewerenophotographstakenorinventoryofconfiscated
materials;andthattherewasnomentionofthepresence
ofanyoftherepresentativesrequired.
Inacasewheretheaccusedwasconvicteddespitethelack
ofstrictcompliancewithSection21:
People vs Pringas (2007)In this case, the court said that
noncompliancewithSection21willnotrenderanaccused's
arrest illegal or the items seized or confiscated from him
inadmissible.
Based on the public hearing that the Senate Committee on
Public Order and Dangerous Drugs had conducted,
compliance with the rule on witnesses during the physical
inventory is difficult. For one, media representatives are
not always available in all comers of the Philippines,
especiallyinmoreremoteareas.Foranother,therewere
instanceswhereelected barangayofficialsthemselveswere
involved inthe punishable acts apprehended and thus, it is
difficulttogetthemostgrassrootelectedpublicofficialtobe

awitnessasrequiredbylaw.
Therequirementthatinventoryisrequiredtobedoneinpolice
stationisalsoverylimiting.Mostpolicestationsappearedto
befarfrom locationswhereaccusedpersonswereappre
hended. In the Alabang Boys case, for example, the
prosecutionfailedtoshowthatthedrugwasbroughttothe
policeinvestigator,becausethedrugswereinsteadbroughtto
the media. And the entire case was affected by breaching
Section21.
Inthemeantime,drugaddictionhassoaredtoanewheight
endangering the youth and destroying society. Citing the
explanatory noteofSenateBillNo.67,thestatisticsofthe
DangerousDrugsBoardestimatedthat1.7millionFilipinos
arehookedondrugs,representinga200,000increasefromthe
numberofdruguserstwoyearsago.
Panahon na po para susugan ang ating batas para sa
malawakang pagsugpo ng droga. Dahil ito ay sumisira ng
buhay at ng pami/ya. Dahil ito ay problema ng maraming
kabataan.Dahilitoaynagbabaonngatinglipunansalalong
kahirapan.
Hinihingi ko poangpagsangayonngKapulunganparasa
mabilisnopagpasangpanukalangito,parasoalingboyanat
lipunan.
COSPONSORSHIPSPEECHOFSENATORSOTTO
SenatorSottolikewisesoughttheapprovalofSenateBillNo.
2272 under Committee Report No. 45, entitled "An Act to
Further Strengthen the AntiDrug Campaign of the
Government, Amending for the Purpose Section 21 of
Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the
ComprehensiveDrugsActof2002."
HereunderisSenatorSotta'scosponsorshipspeech:
Ithasbeenmorethan12yearsnowsincewe passedthe
Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002, and our experience
requires certain adjustments so that we can plug the
loopholesinourexistinglaw.
The statistics of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency
showthattherehavebeen1,538drugrelatedcasesthatwere
either dismissed or resulted in acquittals. Pinpointed as the
basisofthesecourtactionsisSection21ofRA9165;thisis
what the lawyers ofthe drug dealers saw as a loophole. It
readsasfollows:
Section 21. CustodyandDispositionofConfiscated,Seized,
andlor Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources o f
Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential
Chemicals, Instruments Paraphernalia andlor Laboratory
Equipment.ThePDEAshalltakechargeandhavecustodyof
all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs,
controlledprecursorsandessentialchemicals,aswellas

instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment


so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper
dispositioninthefollowingmanner:
(1)Theapprehendingteamhavinginitialcustodyandcontrol
of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and
confiscation,physicallyinventoryandphotographthesamein
thepresenceoftheaccusedortheperson/sfromwhomsuch
items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her
representativeorcounsel,a representativefromthemedia
andtheDepartmentofJustice(DOJ),andanyelectedpublic
officialwhoshallberequiredtosignthecopiesoftheinven
toryandbegivenacopythereof;xxx
Thefailuretopreservetheintegrityoftheseizedillegaldrugs
islinkedcloselytothefailure tofollowtheprocedure laid
down in Section 21 of RA 9165 concerning the inventory,
custodyandcontrolofseizedillegaldrugs.
My former vice chairman, the former Dangerous Drug
Board (DDB) Undersecretary Clarence P. Oaminal has
estimated, after a thorough research has been done, that
approximately70%to80%ofthedrugrelatedcasesfiledin
courts tend to be dismissed on account of the above
provision.Thereareprosecutorsandjudgeswhointerpretthe
lawliberallyandthereareotherswhoconstrueitverystrictly.
T o avoid further confusion, it is better that the law be
amended to ensure standard implementation of the law,
specificallySection21(a)ofRA9165.
Numerous drug trafficking activities can be traced to
operations of highly organized and powerful local and
internationalsyndicates.Thepresenceofsuchsyndicatesthat
havetheresourcesandthecapabilitytomountacounter
assaulttoapprehendinglawenforcersmakestherequirement
of Section 21(a) impracticable for law enforcers to comply
with.Itmakestheplaceofseizureextremelyunsafeforthe
properinventoryandphotographofseizedillegaldrugs.
Incidentally, just forthe records, thiswas introduced asa
safeguard when we were passing this in 2002. It was
sponsoredbySen.NenePimentelandSen.JokerP.Arroyo.
Section21(a)ofRA9165needstobeamendedtoaddressthe
foregoingsituation.Wedidnotrealizethisin2002wherethe
safetyofthelawenforcersandotherpersonsrequiredtobe
present in the inventory and photography of seized illegal
drugs and the preservation of the very existence of seized
illegaldrugsitselfarethreatenedbyanimmediateretaliatory
actionofdrugsyndicatesattheplaceofseizure.Theplace
wheretheseizeddrugsmaybeinventoriedandphotographed
hastoincludealocationwheretheseizeddrugsaswellasthe
personswhoarerequiredtobepresentduringtheinventory
andphotographaresafeandsecurefromextremedanger.
It is proposed that the physical inventory and taking of
photographsofseizedillegaldrugsbeallowedtobeconducted
eitherintheplaceofseizureoratthenearestpolicestation

orofficeoftheapprehendinglawenforcers.Theproposalwill
provideeffectivemeasurestoensuretheintegrityofseized
illegaldrugssinceasafe locationmakesitmoreprobable
foraninventoryandphotographofseizedillegaldrugstobe
properly conducted, thereby reducing the incidents o f
dismissalofdrugtechnicalities.
Nonobservance of the prescribed procedures should not
automaticallymeanthattheseizureorconfiscationisinvalid
or illegal, as long as the law enforcement officers could
justify the same and could prove that the integrity and the
evidentiaryvalueoftheseizeditemsarenottainted.Thisis
theeffectoftheinclusionintheproposaltoamendthephrase
"justifiablegrounds."Thereareinstanceswhereinthere
are no media people or representatives from the DOJ
available and the absence of these witnesses should not
automaticallyinvalidatethedrugoperationconducted.Even
the presence of a public local elected official also is
sometimesimpossibleespeciallyiftheelectedofficialisafraid
orscared.
Ourproposaltoplugthisloopholeinour lawsconveysour
messagetooursocietyandtotheworldaswemovetowards
a drugfree Philippines, a drugresistant Philippines. This
Representation does not agree with the new wave of
toleranceandaccommodationtowardsmarijuanaandother
mindblowingalteringsubstancessweepingafewcountries
inEuropeandastateortwointheUnitedStates.
Westandfirmonthismatterandthisproposalwillproveour
resolvetostayinourcourse.
TERMINATIONOFINTERPELLATIONSPERIOD
TERMINATIONOFTHEOFAMENDMENTS
PERIOD OF THE There being no interpellation, upon
motionofSenatorAngara,therebeingnoobjection,theBody
closedtheperiodofinterpellations.
There being no committee or individual amendment, upon
motionofSenatorAngara,therebeingnoobjection,theBody
closedtheperiodofamendments.
MOTIONOFSENATORANGARA
SenatorAngaramovedtoapproveSenateBillNo.2273on
SecondReading.
SenatorOsmena,however,voicedhisconcernoverthehasty
approval of the bill. Thereupon, he moved that the bill's
considerationbedeferredtogivetheothersenatorsthechance
tointerpellateandloramendit.
MANIFESTATIONOFSENATORSOTTO
Senator Sotto appealed to Senator Osmena to allow the
passage on Second Reading of Senate Bill No. 2278, a

measure sponsored by both the Majority and the Minority,


consideringthat onlyafewdayswereleft before Congress
adjourns sine die. He said that the sooner the measure is
passed,thebetterthechancesofputtingthedrugdealersin
jail.
SUSPENSIONOFSESSION
WiththepermissionoftheBody,thesessionwassuspended.
Itwas4:14p.m.RESUMPTIONOFSESSION
At 4:17p.m.,thesessionwasresumed. MANIFESTATION
OFSENATOROSMENA
SenatorOsmenasaidthathewasconvincedbySenatorSotto
towithdrawhisobjectiongiventhethreedayrulebeforethe
approval of the measure on Third Reading. However, he
stressedthattheapprovalofSenateBillNo.2273shouldbea
veryrareexceptiontotheChambers'consistentpositionthata
billshouldnotbeapprovedonthedayofsponsorshipsothat
senatorsnotpresentmaybegiventhechancetointerpellate
andlorintroduceamendments.Heemphasizedthateachofthe
24senatorsisimportantenoughtostatehislherviewsaswell
astoexpresshis/herobjectionsandorconcernsaboutanybill,
thereasonwhythereisatimeallowancegiventosenatorsto
considerthebill.Lastly,heexpressedhopethatthiswouldnot
serveasaprecedentinotherinstances.
MANIFESTATIONOFSENATORENRILE
SenatorEnrilestatedthattheMinorityhasbeenextendingall
cooperationtotheMajoritytoenactlegislation.Unfortunately,
henoted,membersoftheMajorityweretheonesnotinthe
hallmostofthetime,andthattheMinoritywastheonegiving
thenecessary quorum toenact legislativemeasures that are
urgentlyneededbythecountry.
At this point, Senator Sotto thanked Senator Osmena and
assuredhimthattheapprovalofthemeasurewouldnotbea
precedentcase,notingthattheremediesprovidedintheRules
would permit any senator to move for a motion for
reconsideration if helshe who would like to take up the
measure.
APPROVALOFSENATEBILLNO.2273ONSECOND
READING
Submittedtoavote,therebeingnoobjection,SenateBillNo.
2273wasapprovedonSecondReading.
SUSPENSIONOFCONSIDERATIONOFSENATEBILL
NO.2273
UponmotionofSenatorAngara,therebeingnoobjection,the
Bodysuspendedconsiderationofthebill.

Source:
http://senate.gov.ph/lisdata/1930616439!.pdf