Lawmakers seeks heavier fines, longer jail terms for drug using law enforcers

LAW enforcers who use drugs should be meted heavier penalties and longer prison terms aside from dismissal from the service, two senior lawmakers insist.

“Law enforcers should uphold the law and not break it,” Reps. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. and Vicente Belmonte stressed as they proposed amendments, through HB 3990, to the Dangerous Drugs Act.

HB 3990 is entitled: “An Act providing for criminal liability among officers and members of the military, police and other law enforcement agencies for drug use, amending for the purpose Sections 15 and 36 of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.”

“The drug user is considered a victim of this plague but if the user has the responsibility to uphold the law, he/she should be criminally liable for violating the law,” the authors said.

Barzaga is Chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms while Belmonte is chairman of the lead referral House panel, Committee on Dangerous Drugs.

Drug enforcer-violators cannot feign ignorance of the law because they were trained to comprehend and ensure the proper implementation of the law, including the Dangerous Drugs Act, the authors insist.

“Drug use by an officer or members of law enforcement agencies creates a far reaching effect to public perception on the integrity of the entire law enforcement body tasked to protect the Filipino citizenry,” Barzaga said.

HB 3990 provides that “….that if the person caught using dangerous drugs is an officer and member of the military, police and other law enforcement agencies, he/she shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six months and one day to four years, without the benefit of the probation law, and a fine ranging from P10,000 to P50,000 shall be imposed.  Provided, further, that the officer and member of the military, police and other law enforcement agencies caught using dangerous drugs shall undergo summary dismissal proceedings…..”

If apprehended using dangerous drugs for the second time, penalties shall be imprisonment of from six year and one day to 12 years and a fine ranging from P50,000 to P200,000, among others.

The lawmakers recall that on June 19, 2004, PO1 Samuel Quiteves of the Police Community Precinct 6 of the Pasig Police Station was caught on video using shabu.  To aggravate the situation PO1 Quiteves was in police uniform while he indulged in the use of prohibited drugs inside their police station.

“Cases have been filed against erring law enforcers but drug use among those in authority has not been fully addressed.  Their numbers continue to pile up,” they lamented.

Another grim case is that of four members of the PNP, namely: PO1 Antonio Carmona and PO2 Richard Guiyab who were caught using prohibited drugs.  In the aftermath of the GMA News Imbestigador broadcast of the pot session, PO2 Armando Jimenez and P03 Hermil Lumba tested positive for use of prohibited drugs after a surprise drug test.

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