PDEA: Conviction rate increased with introduction of plea bargaining in drug cases

The conviction rate of drug cases has increased with the introduction of plea bargaining, which was introduced in 2017, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

“What we really want is a 100% conviction rate for all drug cases filed, but this only happens in a perfect world, so I will settle for the high conviction rates which we have at present,” said PDEA Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva after being briefed on the statistics of drug cases filed in court.

According to PDEA’s case monitoring system, about 405,062 drug cases have been filed in court from 2002 to 2022.

These cases include those filed by PDEA as well as other law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation.

“Of course, I am pleased with the numbers that we have been tallying, we have made leaps and bounds throughout the years with regards to legislation that aims to improve our capability to prosecute organized drug trafficking rings,” Villanueva said.

He added that 28% or 114,610 of 405,062 drug cases filed in court have been resolved or have been handed out decisions by the judiciary.

From 2020 up until the present alone, the PDEA accounts for 1,668 of these resolved cases.

About 60.43% of these cases have been meted out with convictions, while 26.98% were acquitted and 12.59% of the cases were dismissed.

Plea bargaining allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser offense, or in cases when the accused faces a multi-count indictment, the accused may plead to only one or some of the counts of the indictment in return for a lighter sentence instead of a charge which carries a heavier penalty.

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