This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards


Excellent Conduct of Drug-Forensic Analysis and Timely Release of Results


Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency

Best practice Focus Area(s)

Innovation, Standards, and certification

Year Implemented



The Division is committed to attaining Total Client Satisfaction in providing competent, credible service anchored onto continual improvements and in line with the provisions of anti-drug laws. This program, initiated by former PDEA Director-General (DG) Arturo Cacdac, Jr. in 2014 and strengthened by current DG Aaron Aquino, is both an innovation of the agency and an adoption of existing practices in the sense that prevailing systems and methods were recognized and formalized through ISO certification and accreditation by the Professional Regulation Commission. Ultimately, it ensures the timely issuance of accurate laboratory results and proper custody/disposition of illicit drugs, among others.

Background and Problem

Science and technology are critical to the pursuit of justice, as well as to the proper collection, examination, and submission of evidence in any criminal justice system. In the practice of drug-forensic science, the agency produces valuable evidence that contributes to the successful prosecution and conviction of the guilty and the exoneration of the innocent. However, operational principles and procedures in drug-forensic science are not standardized or embraced. No uniformity exists in the certification of drug-forensic practitioners, nor the accreditation of crime laboratories. Indeed, the accreditation of forensic laboratories is not required in the country, and no standard protocols govern drug-forensic practice. Accordingly, the Division aimed to be one step ahead in ensuring the public, including the judiciary, that these shortcomings do not undermine the accuracy and reliability of drug-forensic service.

Solution and Impact

Before the establishment of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, drug-law enforcers brought their seized specimens and arrested person/s to the crime laboratories of other drug-law-enforcement agencies for examination and urine drug tests, respectively. The conclusive results are usually released beyond 24 hours, which greatly affect the prompt filing of criminal cases and the credibility of the analysis process. In the Division, findings are written on a complete chemistry report, a crucial document in filing drug cases, within 24 hours upon receipt of the request for laboratory examination and/or drug test. If the specimens received are so bulky that it is not humanly possible to conduct a comprehensive analysis and produce a complete chemistry report within 24 hours, the agency releases an initial report, which happens very rarely. This practice helps ensure that the appropriate cases are filed promptly. Of course, the agency  conducts laboratory examinations under excellent scientific standards and with integrity, faithful to the agency’s ISO-certified protocols. 

The  laboratory is also certified by the Board of Chemistry of the Professional Regulatory Commission per the relatively new Magna Carta for the practice of chemistry in the Philippines. The agency also allows only licensed chemists to handle cases throughout (from receipt to analysis to turnover-for-safekeeping), thereby strictly preserving the chain of custody. Serving as expert witnesses in court, chemists are provided with continuous training to enable them to maximize the use of forensic technologies and techniques. They are also encouraged to participate in professional organizations to promote the timely exchange of information among peers. The agency always strives to ensure that forensic science is conducted following sound scientific principles and within the framework of the statutory requirements for which forensic professionals are responsible.