By C.A. Tadalan, February 5 2019; Business World

Image Credit to Rappler

A BILL imposing penalties on negligent owners or lessors of properties used in the illegal drug trade hurdled the House of Representatives on third and final reading.

House Bill No. 8909, which further amends the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Republic Act No. 9165), was approved with 172 affirmative and zero negative votes.

The measure, backed by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, will also introduce new penalties for those found to be in possession of drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, and laboratory equipment used for the drug trade.

If enacted, the bill will subject a negligent owner or lessor of a property used as a laboratory for drug purposes to be sentenced to 6 to 12 years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1 million.

In the event the property is used as a den, dive or resort, criminal liability will be extended to the property owner or lessor.

Moreover, the measure will now penalize those in possession of less than 2 grams of illegal drugs with 6 to 12 years of imprisonment and a fine of P50,000 to P200,000.

Currently, Republic Act No. 9165 only penalizes those in possession of 10 grams of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana resin, 50 grams of shabu, and 500 grams of marijuana.

Further, the bill increases membership in the Dangerous Drugs Board to 20 members from the current 17. — C.A. Tadalan