Drug cases against Johaira Macaubat, 9 others dismissed
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Judge Joeffre Acebido of Regional Trial Court 41 dismissed the drug cases of a number of alleged drug runners, most notably alleged drug queen Johaira “Marimar” Macaubat.
Aside from drug charges, illegal possession of firearms charges were also dismissed against Johaira Macaubat and the following:
- Suharto Macabuat
- Sandato Santican alias Sanny
- Noraisa Mapandi.
- Mark Gerald Sindac
- Moamar Taher
- Mariano Dagandara
- Manot Dutoan
- Hezam Tambidan
- Kate Abinal
The decision, originally made public on September 11, is based on a technicality, as Acebido questioned the manner in which the search warrant was conducted.
Acebido questioned how the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives searched the house of the suspect in Ballon Compound, Barangay Kauswagan, 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,” Judge Acebido wrote in his decision.
Acebido added that at the time of 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,” Judge Acebido wrote in the decision.
On the promulgation of the ruling, PDEA was put on the defensive, as there was speculation the evidence gathered during the search was "planted."
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Region 10 (PDEA 10) Director Wilkins Villanueva was angry at the decision, saying, "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 added, “We will assail the decision and bring it to the Supreme Court and we will not rest until justice is served."
Meanwhile, Regional State Prosecutor Merlyn Uy said the decision of Judge Acebido is a wake-up call for PDEA on following 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. – Rappler.com