MANILA, Philippines—Less than two grams of marijuana hidden in a rolled-up newspaper cost a construction worker up to 16 years in prison after a Pasig judge found him guilty of drug possession Thursday.
Richard M. Sy was convicted of violating Section 11, Article II of Republic Act 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, nearly two years after he was caught in a buy-bust operation in Pasig City.
In a six-page decision dated Oct. 29, Judge Librado Correa of the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 164 sentenced Sy to a jail term ranging from 12 to 16 years and ordered him to pay a fine of P300,000.
Correa said the evidence presented by the prosecution established the guilt of the accused and overcame the presumption of innocence accorded him by the law.
On Dec. 20, 2006, Sy was caught by anti-narcotics operatives in a buy-bust operation at a house on Caruncho Avenue, Pinagbuhatan, court records showed.
PO2 Jerven Galvez, a member of the arresting team, said he saw Sy coming out of the house of Maricel del Carmen, who was also arrested, and holding a rolled-up newspaper.
Galvez grabbed Sy, introduced himself as a police officer and confiscated the newspaper, which was found to contain1.8 grams of marijuana fruiting tops, records showed.
Sy, however, gave a different version of the events, saying he was in his house with his wife and children when he heard of a raid in their neighbor's house.
He told the court that he went out of the house to see what was going on when he was suddenly arrested, taken to a basketball court where he was interrogated, and later to the police station.
But Correa gave greater weight to the prosecution evidence than Sy's account.
"After a thorough study of the evidence presented by both the People and the defense, the court finds the evidence presented by the People to be more credible than that of the accused," he said.
The judge added that there was no evidence on record that would show that the police officers had any ill feelings or animosity toward the accused that could motivate them to falsely testify against him.
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:01:00 10/31/2008