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Small-time drug dealers ‘bribing’ arresting officers

  • Written by Alfred Dalizon
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 3177

WATCH out for this ‘unholy alliance’ between small-time drug offenders who have become notorious for bribing their arresting officers who in turn easily allow themselves to be bribed thinking that the cases they filed are too small to be noticed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police headquarters, officials said yesterday.
These are some of the findings of the PDEA and the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force as the two law enforcement units move to effectively address cases of small-time drug personalities who always manage to return to their illicit activities after a few months in jail simply because the cases filed against them were dropped due to the failure of their arresting officers to testify in court.
In Manila alone, a judge ordered the provisional dismissal of more than 40 drug cases due to the failure of the prosecution witnesses from the Manila Police District to testify in court last year, the Journal Group learned.
Data released by the PDEA headed by Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac Jr. regarding the list of cases for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 provisionally dismissed by courts due to non-appearance of police witnesses in 2014 showed that the involved arrests in which majority of the suspects yielded less than a gram of shabu with the biggest of them just over 24 grams. Interestingly, all of the suspects whose cases were provisionally dismissed were all Filipinos.
“The policemen who made these arrests apparently thought that the cases they filed are too small to be noticed by Camp Crame or the PDEA but they were wrong. We are actually monitoring all cases of RA 9165 filed by different police units across the country with the help of the PDEA,” said PNP-AIDSOTF commander, Senior Superintendent Bartolome C. Tobias.
PNP-AIDSOTF legal officer, Chief Inspector Roque A. Merdegia Jr. said they are validating the records of the cases filed by the concerned policemen so that appropriate cases can be filed against them.  Merdegia confirmed that in many cases, arresting officers deliberately fail to appear in court hearings because they have been bribed by the accused. He said that courts usually give a policeman two chances to appear in court to testify after which the defense may move for the dismissal of the case, citing the right to a speedy trial.
In most of the cases, the suspects yielded either 0.038 gram, 0.139 gram, 0.231 gram, 0.136 gram, 0.866 gram, 01.70 gram, 0.879 gram or 0.002 or 0.003 gram of suspected shabu.
The biggest volume of drug seized in a case provisionally dismissed on February 11, 2014 by Judge Gregorio M. Velasquez of the Calamba City Regional Trial Court in Laguna was 24.32 grams of shabu. The suspect in the said dismissed case was one Teresita Aala.
Judge Jose P. Morallos of the Manila City RTC Branch 44  made the most number of dismissals with more than 40 cases he ordered provisionally dismissed after the arresting officers from the MPD failed to appear in court.
PDEA records showed that Judge Morallos ruled that the arresting officers from MPD or prosecution witnesses in many of the cases failed to appear during the trial of the RA 9155 cases.
In one incident, the case filed against one Jason Aranquiz for illegal possession of dangerous drugs was dismissed by Judge Morallos on February 3 last year after it was discovered that the arresting officer named ‘SPO1 Bombita’ was already dismissed from the service  in October 2012.
In another case, Judge Morallos dismissed the RA 9165 case filed against Esperanza Conzido on February 11, 2014 after ruling that the arresting officer named Police Officer 2 Leonardo Cipriano was already on AWOL status since April 2011. He also made the same ruling in June 25 last year on the case of Camal Ampang who yielded 0.049 grams of shabu after finding out that one of the arresting officers identified as PO2 Ferdinand Pattungan was already on AWOL status since November 18, 2013.
Another case involving one Rudy YupYup was also dismissed by Judge Morallos after discovering that the arresting officer named SPO1 Rodolfo Ramos was already retired from the police service.
In the case of Raymond de Guzman, the case was dismissed on October 3 last year after Judge Elizabeth Berdal of the Quezon City RTC Branch 103 ruled that the prosecution witnesses named SPO2 Honorio Sanchez and PO2 Saul Abellano are already dead.
That also happened in the case of Edwin Plazo who yielded 0.02 grams of 0.07 grams of shabu which was provisionally dismissed on September 25 last year after Judge Alexander Betoya of the Kabacan, Cotabato RTC Branch 16 ruled that the arresting officer named PO3 Samson Otoc was already dead.
Judge Betoya also made the same ruling on the case of Bhobet Antileno  who yielded 0.02 grams of shabu on the same date after finding out that the arresting officer named PO3 Isiderio was already dead too.
Other cases were dismissed, according to the PDEA, due to findings by judges that the policemen-witnesses failed to appear despite due notices, the failure of the arresting officers to attend court hearings due to distance such as the case of Bobby Racman which was dismissed  in October last year by Judge Antonio Olivete of the Taguig City RTC Branch 267 since the arresting officer, PO1 Edrico Gerodias of the North Cotabato police force claimed that he could not attend the hearing due to distance; the failure of the prosecution to present evidence due to several absences of the police-witnesses; the prosecution’s failure to prosecute the case and failure to observe the constitutional rights of the accused for speedy trial;  and even several cases in Tacloban City and Jaro and Sta. Fe towns in Leyte which were provisionally dismissed after the recovered pieces of drug evidence were destroyed during the onslaught of killer typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in 2013.
The PNP headed by Officer-in-Charge, Deputy Director General Leonardo A. Espina has not been remiss in making public the PNP’s iron-fist policy when it comes to policemen deliberately bungling drug cases thus putting in jeopardy the government’s massive campaign against illegal drug trafficking and abuse.
Gen. Espina and PNP deputy chief for operations, Deputy Director General Marcelo P. Garbo Jr. said they also want these bungling officers to go to jail for their act.