Cagayan de Oro City—Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region 10 Director Wilkins Villanueva is fuming mad with the dismissal of drug cases of alleged drug queen Johaira “Marimar” Macaubat, Suharto Macabuat, Sandato Santican alias Sanny, and Noraisa Mapandi.
Also included in the dismissal of charges are Mark Gerald Sindac, Moamar Taher, Mariano Dagandara, Manot Dutoan, Hezam Tambidan, and Kate Abinal.
Judge Joeffre Acebido of Regional Trial Court 41 dismissed the cases against the accused, including illegal possession of firearms.
But what angered Villanueva is not the dismissal itself but with the promulgation of the ruling, PDEA was put on the defensive that the evidence gathered during the search were “planted.”
“It is unfortunate that Judge Acebido swallowed the testimonies of the defense hook, line and sinker,” said Villanueva.
He added that Villanueva said that Acebido totally disregarded the evidence presented by the prosecution whose witnesses enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duty.
“The validity of the search is not gauged by its yield but also by the manner in which it is conducted,” Judge Acebido wrote in his decision.
Acebido based his decision on a technicality as he questioned the manner the search warrant was conducted.
He questioned the manner of how the PDEA-10 operatives searched the house of the suspect in Ballon Compound, Barangay Kauswagan, this city, at 9:50 am on July 23, 2016.
“The prosecution likewise failed to prove possession of the accused of the items listed in the information in all these cases at the time of their arrest,” Acebido wrote in his decision.
The RTC judge added that the PDEA operatives conducted the searches before the arrival of the barangay officials and media representatives.
“All the accused and other occupants of the houses searched were ordered to stay in the living room and the PDEA operatives did not find any contraband on the bodies of all the accused nor was there anything unusual or suspicious noted in their persons,” he wrote on his decision.
Part of the decision also include: “Part of the controversy in these cases is not only centered on the illegality of the implementation of the search warrants but also on the claim of the accused that the dangerous drugs and paraphernalia allegedly seized were planted.”
This is where Director Villanueva really got mad as it assumes that the PDEA planted the illegal drugs during the implementation of the search warrant.
“The reputation of the whole [PDEA] institution is at stake here. It is not acceptable. The PDEA 10 will not and will never accept the decision of Judge Acebido,” Villanueva said.
“We will assail the decision and bring it to the Supreme Court and we will not rest until justice is served,” Villanueva added.
Meanwhile, Regional State Prosecutor Merlyn Uy said the decision of Judge Acebido is a wake-up call for the PDEA to follow proper protocols in serving search warrants.
“This is a reminder to our law enforcers that even if armed with a search warrant, they have to comply on the rules of implementing warrants,” Uy said.
Uy said her office is currently reviewing the 25-page decision of Judge Acebido and will submit additional action and recommendation to their head office in Manila should they see something that will salvage their case against Macabuat and others.