PDEA backs Senate reso allowing K9 findings as evidence in drug cases

MANILA The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) has expressed support for Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao's proposed resolution seeking to allow the findings of K9s and swabbing of drug samples as admissible evidence in court.

PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said the proposal is a welcome development, particularly in the filing of airtight cases in court for violation of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The proposed resolution, if considered, would allow additional tangible evidence as part of the preparation and filing of air-tight cases against arrested drug personalities to guarantee their conviction, he said in a statement Tuesday.

In Senate Resolution No. 888, Pacquiao requested the Supreme Court (SC) to consider the issuance of Rules of Procedure for the presentation and admission of the results of sniffing by trained K9s , and the swabbing of drug samples as competent evidence in drug cases.

PDEA Narcotic Detection Dogs (NDDs), or K9s, use the sense of smell to positively locate hidden illegal drugs, while swabbing method is used to detect drug residues and traces evidence. Cotton tips are used to swab the surface and tested with suitable solvents for screening. However, these types of evidence are not yet acceptable or admitted in courts.

In filing the resolution, the senator stressed the huge volume of drug-related cases in the country's trial courts, adding that these cases continue to drag and remain pending.

A significant number of these cases fail in prosecution not only because of mishandled evidence, but also because of insufficiency of evidence.

According to Aquino, aside from the substantial gaps in the chain of custody rule of seized illegal drugs, inconsistencies in testimony, and non-attendance of prosecution witnesses, lack of convincing evidence is one of the frequent reasons that lead to the dismissal of drug cases.

We would like to thank Senator Pacquiao for introducing the resolution. K9 findings and swabbing of drug samples if admitted as evidence in court can strengthen the prosecution of drug-related cases in favor of the government, the PDEA chief said.

Aquino showed his full support in providing the PDEA K9 unit a necessary training to ensure an exceptional and remarkable performance in greyhound operations, interdiction, checkpoint, search and seizure during anti- drug operations across the country.

The PDEA chief emphasized his reliable trust in the PDEA K9 unit as he contradicted other law enforcement agencies on the latest issue of emptied magnetic lifters found in General Mariano Alvarez (GMA), Cavite to have contained illegal drugs.

A shipment containing PHP2.4 billion worth of shabu (crystal meth) concealed inside two magnetic lifters was intercepted at the Manila International Container Port (MICP), North Harbor, Manila on August 7, 2018.

The metal containers were subjected to K9 sweeping which the PDEA NDDs gave positive indication for the presence of dangerous drugs.

Another four magnetic lifters suspected to contain voluminous amounts of shabu were discovered in a warehouse in GMA, Cavite two days after, but upon inspection were found empty.

Despite yielding negative results from swab testing, PDEA's drug-sniffing dogs have responded positively in detecting traces of the illegal drug inside the lifters.

PDEA maintained that the four magnetic lifters found in a warehouse in Cavite contained shabu and stood by its K9 capability.

The K9 unit has a total of 71 working dogs, 46 of which are deployed in the different PDEA regional offices nationwide. Twenty-one NDDs were already offered for adoption that took place last August 17, 2017 and four were subject for breeding under the breeding program of PDEA.

The PDEA K9 unit continues to improve its facility as it envisioned to be the premier NDD training center in the country and to be the training hub of all NDDs utilized by law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The construction of new buildings inside the 5,000-square meter lot K9 facility in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan amounting to PHP21.3 million is ongoing. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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