THE Department of Justice yesterday dropped the P380-million drug case lodged against controversial intelligence officer Marine Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino and his Chinese companion Yan Yi Shou.
In a 13-page resolution, the DoJ upheld the May 23, 2016 resolution of Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva stating that the evidence presented by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) were insufficient to bring a case in court.
This DoJ resolution reversed the September 2016 ruling recommending that Marcelino and Yan should both be prosecuted for violation of Section 11 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act for possession of illegal drugs.
Marcelino and Yan were arrested in a buy-bust operation on Felix Huertas Street in Manila on Jan. 21, 2016 and seized 76,697.7 grams or P380 million worth of shabu.
Marcelino denied any involvement with the drug suspects, saying he was only in the area doing surveillance operations with his asset Yan.
He was still arrested by authorities and charged before the DoJ.
Marcelino claimed that he was arrested because PDEA chief Arturo Cacdac was “historically irate” at his continued involvement in the government’s anti-drug campaign.
Marcelino filed a petition for bail before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court which was granted for lack of evidence.
In its ruling, the DoJ decided to forego with legal technicalities “in the interest of justice.”
“A show of liberality is within the competence of the Secretary of Justice,” the resolution stated.
Aside from echoing the May 2016 resolution and the ruling of the Quezon City RTC, the DoJ took note of the January 2017 certification issued by the AFP through Brigadier General Ronald C. Villanueva and the 2016 certification of then NBI Director Virgilio Mendez. Both certifications recognized Marcelino’s active participation in anti-drug operations.
“Lt. Col. Marcelino and Yan Yi Shou have sufficiently proven that they were in performance of a lawful duty when they were chanced upon by the PNP and PDEA joint team, thereby negating the evidence of the complainants-appellees purportedly establishing that they are probably involved in the manufacture of illegal drugs, conspiracy in the manufacture thereof, or illegal possession of the same,” the DoJ stated.
A Manila judge yesterday ordered the release from detention of Marcelino and a Chinese interpreter.
Chief Public Attorney Dr. Persida V Rueda Acosta said Judge Daniel Villanueva of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 49 issued the release orders for Marcelino and Yan Yi Shou.
The PAO chief said she was already on her way to Camp Aguinaldo to fetch Marcelino, adding she will first show her copy of the release order to Armed Forces chief of staff General Eduardo Año
Yan is currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police Drug Enforcement Group yesterday said they will exert all efforts to block the release of Marcelino and his Chinese pal from jail following another controversial Department of Justice decision on the drug case filed against the two.
“The resolution is in violation of the doctrine laid down in Crespo vs Mogul case. The issue of probable cause was already ruled upon by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 49. The PDEA and the PNP Drug Enforcement Group will exert all legal remedies to rectify the error in the resolution,” said the PNP-DEG in a statement.
With EMontano, Alfred Dalizon