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Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

Can The Use Of Marijuana For Medical Purposes Be Finally Legalized?

A bill legalizing marijuana for medical use has been passed, but it has not yet been approved due to several reasons and one of which is that the drug is classified as a prohibited substance and may violate Republic Act 9165  or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 as the country's war on drugs continues to intensify.

Section 4. Importation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals.- .The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall import or bring into the Philippines any dangerous drug, regardless of the quantity and purity involved, including any and all species of opium poppy or any part thereof or substances derived therefrom even for floral, decorative and culinary purposes.

The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall import any controlled precursor and essential chemical.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized under this Act, shall import or bring into the Philippines any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical through the use of a diplomatic passport, diplomatic facilities or any other means involving his/her official status intended to facilitate the unlawful entry of the same. In addition, the diplomatic passport shall be confiscated and canceled.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed upon any person, who organizes, manages or acts as a "financier" of any of the illegal activities prescribed in this Section.

The penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who acts as a "protector/coddler" of any violator of the provisions under this Section.

Section 5. Sale, Trading, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. - The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions.

The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any controlled precursor and essential chemical, or shall act as a broker in such transactions.

If the sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution or transportation of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical transpires within one hundred (100) meters from the school, the maximum penalty shall be imposed in every case.

For drug pushers who use minors or mentally incapacitated individuals as runners, couriers and messengers, or in any other capacity directly connected to the dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemical trade, the maximum penalty shall be imposed in every case.

If the victim of the offense is a minor or a mentally incapacitated individual, or should a dangerous drug and/or a controlled precursor and essential chemical involved in any offense herein provided be the proximate cause of death of a victim thereof, the maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed upon any person who organizes, manages or acts as a "financier" of any of the illegal activities prescribed in this Section.

The penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who acts as a "protector/coddler" of any violator of the provisions under this Section.

Section 6. Maintenance of a Den, Dive or Resort. - The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person or group of persons who shall maintain a den, dive or resort where any dangerous drug is used or sold in any form.

The penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person or group of persons who shall maintain a den, dive, or resort where any controlled precursor and essential chemical is used or sold in any form.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed in every case where any dangerous drug is administered, delivered or sold to a minor who is allowed to use the same in such a place.

Should any dangerous drug be the proximate cause of the death of a person using the same in such den, dive or resort, the penalty of death and a fine ranging from One million (P1,000,000.00) to Fifteen million pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed on the maintainer, owner and/or operator.

If such den, dive or resort is owned by a third person, the same shall be confiscated and escheated in favor of the government: Provided, That the criminal complaint shall specifically allege that such place is intentionally used in the furtherance of the crime: Provided, further, That the prosecution shall prove such intent on the part of the owner to use the property for such purpose: Provided, finally, That the owner shall be included as an accused in the criminal complaint.

The maximum penalty provided for under this Section shall be imposed upon any person who organizes, manages or acts as a "financier" of any of the illegal activities prescribed in this Section.

The penalty twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years of imprisonment and a fine ranging from One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) to Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who acts as a "protector/coddler" of any violator of the provisions of this Section.

Although FDA grants compassionate permit, the medical device, food product and unregistered drug should only be obtained from a licensed importer with specific volume and period taken into consideration. Medical cannabis will only be allowed to be imported if it is in processed form and the active ingredients must be measured to ensure that the side effects and risks are minimized. 

Paolo Tonolete, FDA regulation officer allows doctors or hospitals to secure for a permit on behalf of a patient with HIV-AIDS, cancer, and other diseases considered to be life-theatening. On average, FDA is receiving 50 applications for compassionate special permits on a monthly basis. Most of these applications are for cancer medication. In fact, in 2016 alone 558 of 565 applications had been approved. 

Bureau Of Customs And The Tighter Rules Being Imposed On Balikbayan Boxes

For Pinoys who have family members or relatives abroad, balikbayan boxes make up for the absence of the person working abroad. It takes months before the boxes can be filled with the family member’s favorite things. Without a doubt, the balikbayan boxes are a tangible sign of the Overseas Filipino Workers’ love for the family members. With the most recent announcement on the stricter rules and regulations imposed by Bureau of Customs, OFWs and their families could not help but go ballistic on the revised rules.

The BOC’s rules and regulations subject balikbayan boxes to 100% physical examination. However, not all balikbayan boxes will be placed under alert. The boxes that have been deemed to have violated the law on importing articles will be brought to the authorized area for examination or inspection. 

Under Section 105 of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines (TCCP), the following items cannot be brought into the Philippines:

• Coffee

• Used clothing and rags

• Toy guns

• Onions, potatoes, cabbages, garlic

The following commodities are prohibited to be brought into the Philippines:

• Marijuana, opium or any type of synthetic drugs or narcotics;

• Roulette wheels, loaded dice, marked cards, gambling outfits, apparatus, machines or mechanical devices used in gambling;

• Opium pipes;

• Tickets for lottery and sweepstakes except those authorized by the Philippines government, advertisement thereof, and list of drawings therein;

• Dynamite, ammunition, gunpowder and other explosives such as fire-arms and weapons of war, and parts thereof, except when they are authorised by law;

• Articles, drugs, instruments, substances designed, intended or adapted for producing unlawful abortion, or any printed matter which describes or advertises or gives directly or indirectly information regarding where, how or by whom unlawful abortion produced;

• Written or printed articles in any form containing any matter advocating or inciting treason, or rebellion, insurrection, sedition or subversion against the government of the Philippines, or forcible resistance to any law of the Philippines;

• Written or printed articles, negatives or cinematographic film, photographs, engravings, lithographs, paintings, objects, drawings or other representation of an obscene or immoral character;

• All other articles or part thereof, the importation of which is prohibited by law or rules and regulation issued by competent authority.

The physical examination of balikbayan boxes are in accordance with Section 3604 of the TCCP. The revised rules and regulations are also said to put a lid on violations made by individuals who use balikbayan boxes to break the law such as bringing thousands of anti-anxiety drugs, misdeclared as food supplements into the Philippines. 

All boxes are expected to undergo mandatory x-ray and K-9 examination at no cost to the person who sent it. Once there are derogatory findings, the physical inspection of goods will be considered. 

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