ArchivesNovember 2010Two men get 14 years each in jail; two...

Two men get 14 years each in jail; two brothers acquitted

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The Regional Trial Court imposed 14-year jail terms on two men for illegal possession of shabu.

Judge Rafael Crescensio Tan, presiding judge of RTC Branch 30 found Benjie Lavestre and Lucio Pialogo guilty beyond reasonable doubt of possessing the prohibited substance in two separate occasions.{{more}}

Lavestre was arrested February 23, 2006 by anti-drug agents after a search on his room in barangay Looc, Dumaguete City, revealed 1.77 grams of shabu.

Lavestre was not around as he claimed to have already left the place about 3 months earlier and stayed at Maslog, Sibulan, Negros Oriental. However, the court said this was not satisfactorily proven by Lavestre as he simply denied the charge against him.
Pialogo, on the other hand, was arrested by policemen on February 8, 2007, after he was seen examining and holding a plastic bag containing shabu.

The court said Pialogo was not authorized by law or by duly constituted authorities to possess the dangerous drug, in violation of R.A. No. 9165.

In another judgment promulgated on November 19, the Special Court for Drug Cases acquitted brothers Noe Valencia and Raul Valencia on the charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.

The brothers were charged after these were found in the residence of Noe Valencia in the execution of a search warrant issued by then Executive Judge Rosendo Bandal, Jr. on February 7, 2007.

In its ruling, the Special Court stated that it cannot find any evidence that the accused Noe Valencia was informed that his house was the subject of a search warrant.

There was no evidence to show that the said accused was presented the search warrant nor even read to him. The Court noted that the evidence of the prosecution would show that the police officers just entered the house of the accused and started searching the house upon arrival of a barangay captain and a barangay kagawad.
It is not clear to the court whether the accused Noe Valencia was with the searchers when the search of his house made was made. The evidence on record would show that the accused Noe Valencia was just at the sala.

The Court was also bothered by the fact that the return of the warrant, while it listed the items allegedly confiscated from the search of the house of the accused Noe Valencia, was not duly verified and under oath as required under Section 12, Rule 126 of the Revised Rules of Court.

The prosecution also had no evidence whatsoever on the participation of the accused Raul Valencia in any way in the commission of the offense charged. To the court, mere presence of a person at the scene of the crime does not make him a conspirator for conspiracy transcends companionship.

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