MANILA— The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is adopting a one-strike policy for personnel who are found to have committed “infractions in the custody and escape of detainees.”
Under the agency’s Memorandum Circular No. 2018-002 dated Jan. 15, 2018, all personnel who, after subjected to disciplinary or administrative proceedings, were found guilty for serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, and grave misconduct which led to the escape of detainees/jailbreaks, shall be meted with the penalty of dismissal at first offense without prejudice to the filing of any criminal actions under the existing laws, orders, and issuances.
“PDEA will not condone any illegal acts of its personnel who knowingly and willfully consents or uses his/her influence, power or position in shielding, harboring, screening or facilitating the escape of any person he/she knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has violated the provisions of Republic Act 9165, or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, in order to prevent his arrest, prosecution, and conviction,” said PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino.
Among the general guidelines provided in MC No. 2018-002 are the following:
* No detainee shall be taken outside the Detention Facility without prior approval or permission of the Regional Director and the Chief of the Custodial Detention Facility;
* Detainees must not be allowed for other activities outside the detention facilities. Any detainee taken outside by virtue of an order of the Court or any authorized activity shall be logged in the official log book of the Duty Officer of the Day indicating the name of the Prison Guard or Agent taking custody of the detainee and the purpose of his release from the detention facility;
* In case of escape of detainees, standard protocol must be applied. The same shall be immediately reported to the Deputy Director General for Administration (DDGA), Deputy Director General for Operation (DDGO), and Director General (DG), PDEA;
* Afterwards, the concerned office must be subjected to a thorough investigation of its possible involvement or collusion of PDEA personnel;
* and the PDEA Internal Affairs Service (IAS), in collaboration with PDEA Intelligence and Investigation Service (IIS), is tasked to conduct investigation on the matter, to ensure integrity on handling of detainees and to provide sanction under the standard protocols of the Agency.
“Aside from the outright dismissal of erring personnel, concerned Regional Director shall also be relieved from post once jailbreak transpires in their area of responsibility,” the PDEA chief said, adding that the immediate recovery of the escaped detainee shall not be considered as a mitigating circumstance in the administrative liability of the concerned personnel.
PDEA has the requisite capacity to maintain a detention facility and tightly secure arrested personalities for presentation to court and subsequent turnover to jail facilities.
However, five incidences of jailbreaks of detainees resulting in the escape of 19 drug personalities, were recorded by the agency as of Dec. 31, 2017 which led to the issuance of the memorandum circular.