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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 5, 2019
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Drug suspect escapes,
councilor in hot water
BY JUANCHO GALLARDE

 

A councilor of Sibulan town in Negros Oriental is now in a quandary on where to locate the drug suspect, who escaped from his custody recently.

The Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Dumaguete City ordered Sibulan Councilor Antonio Renacia to produce the suspect, Lovella Arevalo Calingacion, at the Hall of Justice in the city today.

As custodian, Renacia was asked to bring Calingacion before the RTC, otherwise, he will face the consequences. Renacia was told the court will be constrained to penalize him with imprisonment of six months to two years if he fails to present the accused without justifiable reasons.

Renacia served as custodian and vouched for the release on recognizance of Calingacion in April this year. She was rearrested on June 14, for allegedly sneaking in 25 grams of shabu at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Bajumpandan, Dumaguete, by putting the contraband in her private part.

She was, however, ordered released by the City Prosecutor’s Office for failure of the arresting jail guards to file the complaint within the reglementary period of 36 hours.

Meanwhile, the RTC denied her application for probation after her June 14 arrest and ordered her nabbed for violation of Section 12, Article II of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as per the judgment dated March 11, 2019, and for her to suffer an indeterminate penalty of two years and one day as minimum to four years as maximum imprisonment, and to pay a fine of P50,000.

The Sangguniang Bayan of Sibulan, meanwhile, approved the verbal request of Mayor Jose Pepe Abiera to put up a reward money for information leading to the arrest of Calingacion.

In a press briefing, Abiera said the P200,000 bounty will be sourced from local funds, in stressing that he is aware of other local government units doing the same. Their only purpose is to return Calingacion to the custody of the court.

Abiera also wanted an explanation from the BJMP warden in doubting the lapse of reglementary period because the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency even helped the arresting jail officer process the inventory of drugs confiscated from Calingacion, who was visiting a drug suspect. As a result of the lapses, regular filing of the complaint was ordered by the fiscal but, in the meantime, Calingacion had to be ordered released.

All along, Renacia thought she could not get away with her latest violation, only to find out that even her family had facilitated her escape after she was released, he said.

He added that he will file a case of obstruction of justice against Calingacion’s parents, Romeo and Edna Monrubia Arevalo, before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Renacia said those harboring fugitives are criminally liable. He said he took the risk of signing the recognizance document upon the request of her parents, and because the suspect herself said she wanted to reform.

With this experience, both Abiera and Renacia said they already have second thoughts about becoming custodians to drug suspects who are out on probation, except when they are related by blood.*

 

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