A special court to exclusively try and hear drug cases has meted out a total of 68 convictions in Dumaguete last year, with 20 of them serving life imprisonment and fined P500,000 each.
RTC Branch 30 Judge Rafael Crescencio Tan, in his annual report, said his court also acquitted 32 drug suspects and dismissed cases against 10 others.
Tan said those convicted to jail terms of more than six years have been brought to the Bureau of Corrections in Muntinlupa City or the correctional Institution for Women at Mandaluyong City.
The Judge said the main reason for acquitting 32 of the suspects was because there was reasonable doubt as to their guilt, considering that there was failure of the arresting officers to give the accused the so-called Miranda warnings, the failure of the seizing officers to immediately mark the dangerous drugs seized at the crime scene, the failure of the prosecution witness to corroborate their respective testimonies resulting in their lack of credibility, and the failure of the arresting officers to comply with Section 21 of R.A. 1965, among others.
With 124 new cases filed before the RTC Branch 30 last year, the total number of pending drug cases has increased to 304.
However, Judge Tan said this figure is lower than the 338 pending cases as of Dec. 31, 2009.
Five cases were archived during the year 2010 as the accused where nowhere to be found, in spite of the warrants of arrest issued for the accused, Tan reported.
Last year, the RTC Branch 30 disposed of an average of 13.5 cases per month, or 1.22 cases every two working days.
Judge Tan said this case disposal rate is higher than the ideal Supreme Court ratio of one case disposal for every case filed in court.
RTC Branch 30 was presided over by Judge Marie Rose Inocando-Paras during the first six months of 2010, while Judge Tan returned to the Court during the second semester of the said year. (PR)