Oaminal said that one of the most common reasons why the dismissal rate of anti-drug related cases were due to the non-appearance of police witnesses
TACLOBAN CITY- A former official of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) aired his concern over reports that some policemen who served as witnesses to drug-related cases were being transferred from their present assignments to other areas. Clarence Paul Oaminal, who served as DDB undersecretary for two years which ended in 2010, said that practice leads to more often than not, dismissal of the drug-related cases filed by the police against individuals who were tagged to be either drug users or pushers. Oaminal reminded police officials that they could not just reassign their men who are serving as witnesses out of their whims as there are guidelines issued by the DDB on this matter.
The former DDB official, who is a lawyer by profession, was referring to a board regulation issued on November 13, 2008 during the leadership of Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto who was then acting as the board chairman. Oaminal said that one of the most common reasons why the dismissal rate of anti-drug related cases were due to the non-appearance of police witnesses. In the event that the transfer or reassignment of prosecution witness is unavoidable or reassigned for compelling reasons, he/she or his immediate superior shall inform or notify the court and the prosecutor handling the case as well as the office of the city or provincial prosecutor where the case is pending of the order of transfer or re-assignment within 24 hours from its approval,” he said, quoting a provision of the DDB rule. Unfortunately, according to Oaminal, this DDB regulation has been ignored either consciously or unconsciously not only by the Philippine National Police but also by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). Personnel of the PNP and PDEA has been unceremoniously transferred without faithfully complying with the DDB guidelines, Oaminal said. (LIZBETH ANN A. ABELLA)