The Court of Appeals (CA) acquitted a drug suspect in Ilocos Norte due to numerous procedural lapses on the part of the arresting officers.
In an 18-page decision, the CA reversed the ruling of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bangui, Ilocos Norte as it ordered the acquittal of Rogelio Paleracio of the charge of violation of Section 11 of Republic Act (R.A.) 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act.
Records showed that in January 2014, Paleracio was caught selling two sachets of alleged shabu to poseur-buyer PO1 Rolly Ramoran.
In June 2015, the RTC in Bangui found Paleracio guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the criminal charges filed against him.
He was sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from twelve to 14 years and to pay a minimum fine of P300,000. This prompted Paleracio to seek redress with the CA.
In a ruling, the CA held that the arresting officers blatantly and unjustifiably disregarded the requirements of the law and its implementing rules.
The CA said that the chain of custody rule requires that “the marking of the seized items be done in the presence of the apprehended violator and immediately upon confiscation if only to ensure that they are the items that enter the chain are the same ones offered in evidence.”
“Given the numerous procedural lapse on the part of the arresting officers, the prosecution miserably failed to establish the chain of custody of the seized items,” the appeals court opined.