Drug law boosted sans death penalty

A MEASURE that seeks to strengthen the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was approved on third and final reading.

House Bill 8909 is among the pending bills that were given priority at yesterday’s resumption of the 17th Congress after the mid-term elections.

The vote was 155 with no negative vote and no abstention.

While the measure seeks to support the anti-drug war campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte, the House of Representatives decided to remove all provisions that contain the Death Penalty proposal because no less than House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is not in favor of it.

Originally, the bill imposes death as maximum penalty for drug related cases.

Under the measure, a capital punishment of reclusion perpetua will be imposed against persons found in possession of dangerous drugs during parties, social gatherings and meetings.

Section 13 of the bill penalizes with life imprisonment a person found possessing any dangerous drug during a party or a social gathering or meeting attended by two or more individuals.  A fine of ranging from P5 million to P10 million regardless of the amount of seized narcotics will also be imposed.

HB 8909 seeks to further strengthen drug prevention and control by providing legal presumption on those who are considered importer, financier and protector or coddler of illegal drugs.

The bill also provides for an amended definition of drug trafficking which shall be the illegal cultivation, culture, delivery, administration, dispensation, manufacture, sale, trading, transportation, distribution, importation, exportation, chemical diversion, and possession of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical.

Moreover, the measure seeks to penalize exportation from the Philippines of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals. Section 4 of RA 9165, as amended, penalizes only their importation.