The Regional Trial Court, Branch 30, which has been designated by the Supreme Court as a special court to exclusively try and hear drug cases, has convicted 33 drug dealers in Dumaguete from January to June this year.
In a semestral report, RTC Branch 30 Presiding Judge Rafael Crescencio C. Tan Jr. said that of the 33 convicted drug dealers.
Ten were given life imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of P500,000. He added that Twenty-one of those convicted were sentenced to suffer imprisonment ranging from 12 to 14 years, aside from being asked to pay a fine of P400,000. Two accused were sentenced to serve a penalty of six months and one day and to pay a fine of P10,000.
The special court has also acquitted 30 accused for various drug-related offenses based on reasonable doubt and has further dismissed eight drug cases for insufficiency of evidence.
All those convicted were immediately ordered to be incarcerated at the Bureau of Corrections, Muntinlupa City or at the Correctional Institution for Women at Mandaluyong City. Judge Tan said 13 of those convicted had filed for an appeal.
Reasons for acquitting the 30 accused were due to reasonable doubt as to their guilt, considering that there was failure of the arresting officers to give the accused the so-called Miranda warnings, the failure of the seizing officers to immediately mark the dangerous drugs seized at the crime scene, the failure of the prosecution witness to corroborate their respective testimonies resulting in their lack of credibility, the failure of the arresting officers to comply with Section 21 of R.A. 1965, among others.
For the 1st semester of 2011, 60 new cases were filed with the special court, increasing the pending case load to 259. But the Judge noted that this case load is down by 45 cases as compared to the last semester of 2010. The special court has one other case for violation of PD 1866 as amended by RA 8294 or the Illegal Possession of Firearm Law.
On the whole, the special court has an average disposal rate of 12 cases per month or one case disposed every two working days. Tan said that the Court has achieved more than the requirement of the Supreme Court that for every case filed, there must be a corresponding case disposed.
Meanwhile, two drug pushers were meted life terms in judgments promulgated last July 22.
Sentenced to suffer life imprisonment for the illegal sale of 0.01 gram and 0.09 gram of shabu were Jerry A. Alviola and Beth T. Cuerda, respectively. Alviola and Cuerda were also found guilty for illegal possession of 0.01 gram and 1.60 grams of shabu, respectively. They were both sentenced to suffer each an indeterminate penalty of 12 years and 1 day as minimum term to 14 years as maximum term. Both were also ordered to each pay a total fine of P900,000 for both offenses charged against them.
Alviola was arrested in a buy-bust operation conducted by a team of operatives from the PDEA and the NBI at Luke Wright Street, Barangay Dos, Dumaguete City on April 9, 2008. Alviola had sold one heat-sealed transparent plastic containing the shabu to an informant-poseur buyer on said date.
On the other hand, Cuerda was arrested in a buy-bust operation conducted by a team of operatives from the PDEA and the NBI at Zone 4, Barangay Looc, Dumaguete City last March 30, 2009. Cuerda had sold one heat-sealed transparent plastic containing 0.09 gram of shabu to a poseur buyer on said date.
After the arrest of Alviola and Cuerda, they were also found to be in possession of other heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing shabu which made them liable for violation of Section 11, Article II of R.A. No. 9165. (PR)