Lack of incinerator delays destruction of shabu now stored at PDEA-7 repository – Getalla
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Central Visayas (PDEA-7) does not have an allocation to pay for the destruction of illegal drugs that are now kept at their repository.
PDEA-7 Director Wardley Getalla said that incineration would cost at least P16, 000 per session irregardless of the volume of drugs for destruction.
Getalla said this was the reason why they had to wait for evidence to accumulate at their repository before they start to make arrangements for its destruction.
“We cannot afford to destroy just small amounts of drugs so we need to consolidate the drugs to reach the desired amount (for destruction),” said Getalla.
He said that they now have at least 35 kilos of shabu at their repository while 19 kilos remain in court for use as evidences in cases filed against different drug users and peddlers.
Getalla appeared before the Cebu City Council this afternoon, October 22, 2019, to explain the reason why they have not scheduled any illegal drugs destruction in the last two years. He was made to speak during the Counci’s “Citizen’s Hour,” a segment in the council’s weekly session where legislators invite guest speakers to talk of concerns affecting the city.
The PDEA director said that it was still in 2017 when they last incinerated shabu. They made arrangements with the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes to avail of free incineration. But Getalla said that they cannot avail of the same service on a regular basis because it was costly.
Getalla said that allocation for drugs incineration is not also included in their annual budget because the offender is supposed to shoulder the expense.
But since no offender has so far offered to destroy evidences that were used in court against him/her, PDEA-7 is left with no other choice but to find means to ensure the proper disposal of the illegal substance.
In a press conference that was held after his Council appearance, Getalla revealed the city government’s offer to help PDEA-7 acquire their own thermal incinerator that is compliant with requirements set by the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Getalla said he welcomed the city’s offer because this will help their agency regularly dispose illegal drugs to make sure that this will not be recycled.
However, he said that it will take time before the purchase can be made.
Cebu City Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Macaundas Hajirasul, who spoke after Getalla, told the Council that it will take at least a month before judges are able to finally order the destruction of shabu that are used as evidence in court cases.
He admitted that this was contrary to what is mandated by law which to destroy drugs within a period of 72 hours from the filling of cases in court. But this cannot be done because the presentation of evidence is needed during the hearing of the case.
“A month is the fastest we can do to process these evidences,” Hajirasul told Cebu City Councilors.
Hadjirasul said that there is now a move by the Supreme Court to amend this rule and instead allow the presentation of pictures as evidence during the trail of drug-related cases.
Until such time that the needed amendments are made, Hajirasul said that PDEA-7 will continue to wait for the time to come for shabu that are now deposited in court to be made available for destruction.
The executive judge is also urging PDEA-7 to acquire their own incinerator to hasten the destruction of illegal drugs. / dcb
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