WATCH | Supreme Court OK with plea bargains for drug cases

September 11, 2017 - 10:49 PM
SC plea bargain illegal drugs
Allowing plea bargains can help decongest jails and court backlogs.

Court backlogs may soon be eased somewhat with the Supreme Court’s move to allow plea bargaining for cases having to do with illegal drugs.

The high court has declared as unconstitutional Section 23 of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which states that any person so charged “regardless of the imposable penalty shall not be allowed to avail of the provision on plea bargaining.”

The Supreme Court took the position that that provision is at odds with its rule-making authority as provided for in the Constitution, it has inherent powers to “review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts.”

In the case of drug suspects, if the courts approve of a plea bargain, the case won’t have to run its full course. The Philippine National Police (PNP) has acknowledged that a big part of the congestion in jails is due to the backlogs in the courts, especially with the spike in arrests with the ongoing war on drugs. (Reportage: JV Arcena, News5)

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