DOJ Updates Plea Bargaining Guidelines for Drug Cases

The Department of Justice (DOJ)  revisited the guidelines in approving and denying plea bargaining proposals as outlined in the Revised Amended Guidelines on Plea Bargaining for Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act No. 9165) issued under Department Circular No. 18 (D.C. 18) dated 10 May 2022.

 

In line with its adherence to restorative justice, the DOJ updated the aforementioned guidelines through the Clarificatory Guidelines on Plea Bargaining for the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

 

Among the notable changes are:

1. Plea bargain is allowed when the offense charged is Sale, Trading, etc. of Dangerous Drugs under Section 5 involving methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu only. The previous guidelines did not specify that such offense should involve a specific prohibited or regulated drug. The acceptable plea bargain for the aforementioned offense is Possession of Equipment, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs under Section 12.

 

2. No plea bargaining is allowed when the  offense charged is Possession of Dangerous Drugs under Section 11, par. 1, where the quantity of shabu, opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine is 10 grams and above; marijuana is 500 grams and above. The previous guidelines only specified that no plea bargaining is allowed where the quantity of shabu is 10 grams or more but less than 50 grams.

 

3. When the offense charged is  Possession of Dangerous Drugs During Parties, Social Gatherings or Meetings, another acceptable plea bargain is allowed for Possession of Equipment, Apparatus & Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs under Section 12. The latter has a lower penalty of 6 months and 1 day to 4 years and Fine from P10,000 to P50,000, compared to the other acceptable plea bargain for the same offense, Possession of Dangerous Drugs under Section 11, par. 3, which is 12 years and 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P300,000 to P400,000.

 

The updated guidelines are as follows:

 

Offense Charged in Information

Acceptable Plea Bargain

Section

Penalty Section Penalty

Section 4 

Importation of Dangerous Drugs

 

 

Life Imprisonment to Death & Fine from P500,000 to P10,000,000  No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 4, par. 2

Importation of Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Sec. 4, par. 3

Importation through Use of Diplomatic Passport etc

 

Maximum Penalty

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 4, par. 4

Acting as Financier in Importation

 

 

Maximum Penalty

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 4, par. 5 

Acting as Protector/Coddler

 

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 5

Sale, Trading, etc. of Dangerous Drugs (Methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu only)

Life Imprisonment to Death and Fine from P500,000 to P10,000,000 Section 12 

Possession of Equipment, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs

(Where quantity of shabu is .01 gram to .99 grams; marijuana is .01 gram to 9.99 grams)

 

 

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

(Where quantity of shabu is 1.00 gram and above; marijuana is 10.00 grams and above)

 

6 months and 1 day to 4 years and Fine from P10,000 to P50,000 

Section 5, par. 2

 Sale, Trading, etc. of Controlled Precursor and Essential Chemicals

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000 

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 5, par. 3 

Sale, Trading, etc. takes place within 100 meters from a school 

 

Maximum Penalty

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 5, par. 4 

Drug pushers who use minors as couriers, etc

 

Maximum Penalty

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 5, par. 5 

When the victim is a minor causIng the latter’s death

 

Maximum Penalty

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 5, par. 6 

Allowed Acting as Financier

 

Maximum Penalty

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 5, par. 7 

Acting as Protector/Coddler

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed 

Section 6, par. 1

 Maintenance of Den, Dive or Resort where dangerous drugs 3 are used or sold in any form

 

Life Imprisonment to Death and Fine from P500,000 to P10,000,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 6, par. 2 

Maintenance of Den, Dive or Resort where Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals are used or sold

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 6, par. 3 

Where dangerous drug is sold or delivered to a minor and is allowed to use it in such place

 

Maximum Penalty

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 6. par. 4 

When the use of dangerous drugs in such place causes the death of a person

 

Death and Fine from P1,000,000 to P10,000,000 imposed on owner, maintainer and/or operator

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 6, par. 6 

Acting as Organizer, Manager, or Financier of such place

 

Maximum Penalty

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 6, par. 7 

Acting as Protector/Coddler

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 7 

Employees or Visitors of Den, Dive or Resort (Only if the accused is charged as a visitor of the drug den and there is/are no other accused charged with violation of Section 6 (Maintenance of Den, Drive or Resort)

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

Section 12

Possession of Equipment, Apparatus & Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs 

6 months and 1 day to 4 years and Fine from P10,000 to P50,000

Section 8, par. 1 

Manufacture of Dangerous Drugs 

 

Life Imprisonment to Death and Fine from P500,000 to P10,000,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 8, par. 2 

Manufacture of Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals 

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 8, par. 4

Acting as Financier

 

Maximum Penalty

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 8, par. 5 

Acting as Protector/Coddler

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 9

Illegal  Chemical Diversion of Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 10, par. 1 

Manufacture or Delivery of Equipment, Instruments, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals (used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, etc. any dangerous drug, controlled precursor & essential chemical)

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 10, par. 2

If paraphernalia manufactured or delivered will be used to introduce a dangerous drug in the human body

 

6 months and 1 day to 4 years and Fine from P10,000 to P50,000 

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed 

Section 10, par 3 

If a minor is used to deliver such equipment, instrument, paraphernalia, etc.

 

Maximum Penalty 

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed 

Section 11

Possession of Dangerous Drugs (Where quantity of shabu is 50 grams or more; opium morphine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana  resin is 10 grams or more; marijuana is 500 grams or more)

 

Life Imprisonment to Death and Fine from P500,000 to P10,000,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed 

Section 11, par. 1 

Possession of Dangerous Drugs (Where quantity of shabu, opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine is 10 grams and above; marijuana is 500 grams and above)

 

Life Imprisonment to Death and Fine from P400,000 to P500,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 11, par. 2 

Possession of Dangerous Drugs (Where quantity of shabu, opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, is 5 grams or more but not exceeding 10 grams; marijuana is 300 grams or more but not exceeding 500 grams)

 

20 years and 1 day to Life Imprisonment and Fine fromP400,000 to P500,000

 

Section 11, par. 3 

Possession of Dangerous Drugs (Where quantity of shabu, opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, is 5 grams to 9.99 grams; marijuana is 300 grams to 499 grams)

 

12 years and 1 day to 20 years and a Fine from P300,000 to P400,000 

Section 11, par. 3 

Possession of Dangerous Drugs

(Where quantity of “shabu”, opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, is less than 5 grams; marijuana is less than 300 grams)

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P300,000 to P400,000

 

Section 12 

Possession of Equipment, Apparatus & Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs 

(Where quantity of “shabu”, opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, is .01 gram to 4.99 grams; marijuana is .01 gram to 299.99 grams)

 

6 months and 1 day to 4 years and Fine from P10,000 to P50,000

Section 12 

Possession of Equipment, Apparatus & Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs

 

 

6 months and 1 day to 4 years and Fine from P10,000 to P50,000 Section 15

Use of Dangerous Drugs

6 months Treatment and Rehabilitation

Section 13 

Possession of Dangerous Drugs During Parties, Social Gatherings or Meetings

Maximum Penalties provided under Section 11 regardless of quantity or purity Section 12 

Possession of Equipment, Apparatus & Other Paraphernalia for Dangerous Drugs 

(Where quantity of dangerous drug is .01 gram to 4.99 grams; marijuana is .01 gram to 299 grams)

 

 

Section 11, par. 3

Possession of Dangerous Drugs (Where quantity of dangerous drug is 5 grams to 9.99 grams; marijuana is 300 grams to 499 grams)

 

 

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

(Where quantity of dangerous drug is 10 grams and above; marijuana is 500 grams and above)

6 months and 1 day to 4 years and Fine from P10,000 to P50.000 

 

 

12 years and 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P300,000 to P400,000 

Section 14 

Possession of Equipment, Apparatus and Other Paraphernalia During Parties, Social Gatherings or Meetings

 

 

Maximum Penalty provided under Section 12  Section 15 

Use of Dangerous Drugs

6 months Treatment and Rehabilitation

Section 15 

Use of Dangerous Drugs

 

6 months Rehabilitation (for 1st offense)

 

 

6 years and 1 day to 12 years and Fine from P50,000 to P200,000 (for 2nd offense) 

 

No Plea Bargaining Allowed

Section 16, par. 1 

Cultivating or Culture of Plants Classified as Dangerous Drugs or are sources thereof

 

 

Life Imprisonment to Death and Fine from P500.000 to P10,000,000 No Plea Bargain Allowed 

Section 16, par. 3 

Allowed Acting as Financier

 

 

Maximum Penalty  No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 16, par. 4 

Acting as Protector/Coddler

 

 

12 years & 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100.000 to P500,000

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 17 

Maintenance and Keeping of Original Records of Transactions on Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals

 

 

1 year and 1 day to 6 years and Fine from P10,000 to P50,000  No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 18 

Unnecessary Prescription of Dangerous Drugs

 

 

12 years and 1 day to 20 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000, with revocation of license of practitioner

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 19

Unlawful Prescription of Dangerous Drugs

 

Life Imprisonment to Death and Fine from P500.000 to P10,000,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 26

Attempt or Conspiracy

 

Penalty Provided in Previous Sections for Importation, Sale, Maintenance of Den. Manufacture and Cultivation of Dangerous Drugs

 

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 27

Criminal Liability of Public Officer or Employee for Misappropriation, Misapplication or Failure to Account for Confiscated Dangerous Drugs, etc.

 

Life Imprisonment to Death and Fine from P500,000 to P10,000,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 29

Planting of Evidence

 

 

Death

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 32

Liability of Person Violating any Regulation issued by the Dangerous Drugs Board 

 

 

6 months and 1 day to 4 years and Fine from P10.000 to P50,000

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 37

Issuance of False or Fraudulent Drug Test Results

 

 

6 years and 1 day to 12 years and Fine from P100,000 to P500,000 

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 72

Liability of Person who violates the Confidentiality of Records (of drug dependent under voluntary submission of program)

 

 

6 months and 1 day to 6 years and Fine from P1 ,000 to P6,000 No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 91, par. 1 

Responsibility and Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies and other Government Officials and Employees in Testifying as Prosecution Witnesses in Dangerous Drugs Cases

 

 

12 years and 1 day to 20 years and Fine of not less than P500,000  Section 19, par. 2

Liability of Immediate Superior if he failed to exert reasonable effort to present witness to court 

2 months and 1 day but not more than 6 years and a Fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than P50,000

Section 91, par. 2 

Liability of Immediate Superior if he failed to exert reasonable effort to present witness to court

 

 

2 months and 1 day but not more than 6 years and Fine of not less than P10,000 but not more than to P50,000

 

No Plea Bargain Allowed

Section 91, par. 3

Failure of Immediate Superior to Inform Court of Transfer or Re-Assignment of Accused law Enforcement Agent

 

 

 

2 months and 1 day but not more than 6 years and Fine of not less than P10.000 but not more than P50,000 

No Plea Bargain Allowed 

Section 92

Delay and Bungling in the Prosecution of Drug Cases

 

 

 

12 years and 1 day to 20 years without prejudice to further prosecution under the RPC

No Plea Bargain Allowed 

 

The full Clarificatory Guidelines can be accessed here.

 

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