A Bacolod judge sentenced a man tagged by the police as a “high-profile drug personality,” and a mother, to life imprisonment for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act yesterday.
Sentenced by Executive Judge Raymond Joseph Javier of the Bacolod Regional Trial Court Branch 52 were Diamail Mama Bato, and Ma. Fe Mongcal Tomias.
Bato was charged for possession of 67.662 grams of shabu and drug paraphernalia at his residence at Fatima Heights Subdivision in Barangay Zone 12-A, Talisay City, Negros Occidental, on March 2, 2016.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment for possession of illegal drugs, fined P1 million, and ordered to be immediately transferred to the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
In 2016, he was identified by Supt. Moises Villaceran, then Police Regional Office 18 Police Community Relations chief, as a high-profile drug personality.
Bato, who was reportedly the No. 4 most wanted on the then Police Region 18 drug watch list, denied the charges against him, saying his side was not heard.
During the March 2, 2016 search of Bato's residence by the Police Regional Special Operations Task Group, he jumped from the balcony on the second floor and landed on a pile of hollow blocks outside his house injuring both his legs, the court was told.
However, Bato pleaded not guilty on arraignment.
The judge said the defense of Bato are denial, frame-up, planting of evidence, robbery and ill-motive on the part of the arresting officers.
Bato said the raiding policemen had a grudge against him because his wife filed a case for violation of domicile and robbery against Police Supt. Angcon and attempted rape raps against their star witness Ricky Serenio.
To support his claim of planting of evidence and ill-motive, Bato relied on the testimony of Serenio, an erstwhile RSOTG confidential agent.
However, the judge said the testimony of Serenio conflicted with those of other defense witnesses. The last straw that caused the court to seriously doubt the testimony of Serenio was his judicial admission that he received P200,000 from a drug lord identified only as “Camaria” as his fee, the judge said.
The judge also noted that Serenio is a respondent in an attempted rape case filed by the daughter of Bato.
“A witness is said to be biased when his relation to the cause or to the parties is such that he has an incentive to exaggerate or give false color to his statements, or to suppress or pervert the truth or state what is false,” the judge said.
Tomias, 56, and a mother of two, was also sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of P500,000 for selling .07 gram of shabu to a police poseur buyer in Purok Sigay, Barangay 2, Bacolod, on May 1, 2014.
The judge ordered her immediate transfer to the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, for the service of her sentence.
Javier yesterday also sentenced Delby Delugar Murillo to 12 years and 8 months as minimum to 17 years and 8 months as maximum imprisonment for possession of shabu and to pay a fine of P300,000.
Murillo's transfer to the National Bilibid Prison was also ordered.
The police apprehended Murillo with .007 gram of shabu in Purok Sigay, Barangay2 , Bacolod City, on April 3, 2013.
The police said Murillo was shouting and challenging passersby to a fight at Purok Sigay when they apprehended him and asked him to empty his pockets for concealed weapons, leading to recovery of the shabu.
Meanwhile, Javier found Lester Ma-at Acebedo not guilty of sale and possession of drugs in Sitio Sibucao, Barangay Banago, Bacolod, on March 29, 2012.
The judge ordered his release from the Metro Bacolod District Jail in Barangay Singcang-Airport, Bacolod City, unless detained for some other lawful cause.*CPG
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