TACLOBAN CITY — Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. has urged local government units (LGUs) to assign representatives as mandatory witnesses in raids against illegal drugs.
Abalos said in Tacloban City that several drug-related cases have been dismissed because witnesses were not present in the inventory of seized drugs or did not show up in court hearings.
“In Mandaluyong City, when my wife was the mayor, she assigned a lawyer who was solely tasked as witness and back police anti-narcotics operations to satisfy the requirements of the law,” he said in a recent press briefing at the office of the DILG 8 (Eastern Visayas).
Abalos met with the local government operations officers in the region to relay the recommendation to the mayors. Currently, the most common witnesses in drug raids are police officers, village officials, and journalists.
Republic Act 10640 requires the presence of these witnesses primarily to establish the chain of custody and remove any suspicion of switching, planting, or contamination of evidence.
Abalos said he is working with Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and LGUs which he encourages to assign representative who would accompany police anti-narcotics units during their operations.