Thursday, June 19, 2014

Drilon: Amendment to Dangerous Drugs Act to strengthen gov’t ability to prosecute drug cases

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said that the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act (Republic Act No. 9165) will boost chances of successful prosecution of drug-related cases in the country.

“The amendments to Section 21 of RA 9165 will reinforce the government’s ability to bring perpetrators to jail,” stressed Drilon. 

“It will also put a stop to the rampant cases of confiscated illegal drugs being recycled,” he added.

The Senate, shortly before its First Regular Session ended, approved Senate Bill No. 2273 and House Bill No. 2285, amending RA 9165, “in order to aid in successful prosecution of cases involving prohibited drugs.” The Senate leader said that he expects the amendments to Republic Act 9165 to get the President’s approval this month.

Under the new measure, the arresting officer is allowed to conduct an inventory of seized dangerous drugs at the place where the search warrant is served.

But in the case where a warrant of arrest is not available, the proposed measure gives the arresting officer the power to conduct an inventory at nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved.

The proposed measure would allow the presence of at least two witnesses, instead of three as required under the current law, to conduct a drug inventory. Any inventory of drugs can now take place in the presence of the accused or his representative and of at least two of the following: an elected public official, a representative from the media or the Department of Justice.

The amendments would also expedite the production of evidence by requiring the immediate issuance of a certification of the forensic laboratory examination upon the receipt of confiscated drugs.

“With the amendments, the possibility of having these seized drugs recycled and make their way again to the market will be lessened,” the Senate chief said.

Drilon recounted during his time as justice secretary how he uncovered cases of confiscated drugs being recycled back into circulation by unscrupulous law enforcers.

“Back then when we presented policemen to submit the evidence in court, they made the excuse that the drugs confiscated were lost or somehow stolen. This weakened our chance of success of being able to prosecute drug lords,” he said.

Drilon urges automobile dealers to audit products amid approval of Lemon Law

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today encouraged automobile manufacturers, dealers, distributors and retailers to maintain a very high quality control of their products to avoid faulty motor vehicles getting into the hands of consumers.

The Senate leader said that under the proposed Philippine Lemon Law, which the Congress passed shortly before it went on sine die break, legal remedies and protection are made available to consumers who are sold defective motor vehicles.

“With the impending approval by the President of the Philippine Lemon Law, all manufacturers, dealers, distributors and retailers of motor vehicles in the country should now carefully audit and assess the quality of their products,” said Drilon.

“Because under the proposed law, they will be liable to pay a minimum amount of P100,000 as damages and they can be civilly and  criminally liable once a defective motor vehicle, or a lemon vehicle, is sold,” stressed Drilon.

Drilon considered the Lemon Law as among the landmark legislation passed during the First Regular Session.

“This is the kind of legislation that our consumers really need these days considering the influx of motor vehicles in the country,” said Drilon.

“We have been hearing complaints about defective vehicles and the Congress, despite the pork barrel scam controversy, was able to listen and act immediately on their concerns. We hope to enact more measures that would enhance consumer protection,” he added.

Once enacted, Drilon explained that buyers of brand new vehicles which do not conform to the manufacturer or distributor’s standards can report any nonconformity within 12 months from the date of the original delivery or up to 20,000 kilometers of operation after delivery, whichever comes first.

The proposed measure also protects the buyer of returned motor vehicles. The manufacturer or dealer is mandated to disclose in writing to the next purchaser of the same vehicles the nature of nonconformity which caused the return.
The manufacturer, distributor, dealer or retailer who violates the prohibition on resale disclosure shall be liable to pay a minimum amount of P100,000 as damages to the aggrieved party without prejudice to any civil or criminal liability they and/or the responsible officer may incur under existing laws, according to the proposed measure.

According to the measure, the consumer shall, in writing, notify the manufacturer or dealer the unresolved complaint, and the consumer’s intention to invoke his or her rights under the proposed Act.

The consumer shall bring the vehicle to the manufacturer for a final attempt to address the complaint of the consumer to his or her satisfaction. Upon receipt of the motor vehicle, the manufacturer or dealer shall attend to the complaints of the consumer including as may be necessary, making the repairs and undertaking such actions to make the vehicle conform to the standards or specifications of the manufacturer, distributor, authorized dealer or retailer for such vehicle.

Ecija’s oldest mayor quits post over failing health

NAMPICUAN, Nueva Ecija – This town’s incumbent octogenarian mayor, the oldest among 27 municipal chief executives in the province, has resigned his post, citing failing health.

          Dr. Abraham Pascua, assistant regional director for Central Luzon and concurrent provincial director of the Department of the Interior and Local Governments, said Mayor Ubaldino Lacurom has tendered his resignation to his ally and political benefactor, Gov. Aurelio Umali.

         Lacurom, a member of Umali’s Unang Sigaw Partido ng Pagbabago, submitted his resignation letter dated June 6 and received by the provincial DILG on June 9.

          Lacurom won a third and last term in last year’s mayoral elections. His daughter, Cora Lacurom-Villanueva, also won as vice mayor.

          They were the only father-and-son tandem to win in the polls while an uncle-and-nephew team of Mayor Nestor Alvarez and Vice Mayor Tekila Grace Alvarez won in last year’s polls in the Science City of Munoz.

          In his resignation letter, Lacurom – a retired Regional Trial Court judge, stated that he is now 81 years old and was afflicted with a mild stroke in August 2008. He cited that in 2011, he underwent angioplasty and was installed with a pacemaker at the Heart Center of the Philippines.

          Because of his health conditions, he said he “critically need to slow down” the pace of his physical and mental activities.

          But he said the paramount reason for his resignation is he wants to enjoy his pension as a retired RTC judge “for a few more years that I live in this world.”

          “Anyway, my successor to the position for the rest of my three-year term is my daughter Vice Mayor Cora G. Lacurom-Villanueva,” he said.

          In his letter, Lacurom thanked Umali for his full support to his administration for the past seven years and affirmed he and his daughter’s “unflinching loyalty” to Umali and his wife, third district Rep. Czarina Umali.

          Lacurom expressed the wish that if accepted by Umali, his resignation will take effect on July 1. 

Soldiers Encounter Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – Seven soldiers were killed while 13 were wounded in separate encounters with suspected Abu Sayyaf rebels in Sulu, today.

About 6:20 this morning, a military officer was killed in action after his troops encountered an undetermined number of Abu Sayyaf rebels in Brgy. Kagay, Patikul, Sulu.

Ten minutes later six soldiers were killed while 13 were wounded after they were hit by an 81mm mortar launched by the lawless group in Brgy. Kabuntakas.

As of this report, the remaining troops are still in the area of operations while the casualties were evacuated to the nearest hospital for medical attention.

The three critically-wounded personnel from Brgy. Kabbon-Takas were evacuated to Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City via a military chopper for proper medical treatment.

We are yet to inform the families of our members who were killed and wounded during the encounters in Sulu. Rest assured that they are being well taken care of.

The incident in Patikul would not hamper military operations against the Abu Sayyaf. The AFP continues to conduct its focused-military operations against these rebels to ensure the safety and security of the civilians in the area.

Our soldiers did not suffer in vain for they bravely sacrificed their lives in line of their duty to our people.


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