A lawmaker is strongly pushing for the inclusion of video footages and pictures as supporting evidence to convict drug dealers and drug pushers.
Rep. Ma. Theresa B. Bonoan-David (4th District, Manila) filed House Bill 6837, which mandates arresting officers, particularly from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to bring with them cameras and video recorders during their actual search and seizure process.
The bill, which amends Section 21 of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, provides for the video documentation and video recording of any operation involving confiscation, seizure and/or surrendering of dangerous drugs and other paraphernalia as defined under the law.
It further states that the PDEA shall, in all its operation of whatever kind involving the confiscation, seizure and/or surrendering of dangerous drugs and other paraphernalia as hereof penalized, document and record through photographs and video camcording the process as well as the procedure that transpired before, during and after the operation.
Bonoan-David said arrested drug dealers and pushers in quite a number of drug-related cases ended being acquitted of the charge of violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9165 due to loopholes in the search and seizure process.
“This is because of the alleged failure committed by the arresting officers particularly in the collection and handling of evidence,” Bonoan-David said.
She cited the infamous Alabang Boys case, wherein all the alleged drug dealers caught in a buy-bust operation were acquitted for a number of reasons.
“One of the reasons was that the witness could not identify in the document the very items allegedly seized from one of the arrested in the buy-bust operations,” Bonoan-David said.
Under the bill, the PDEA shall save and preserve both photographs and video camcording of the documentation and/or recording of the operation, which shall serve as supporting evidence in a subsequent prosecution of the said, prohibited activity.