CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Phil. Drug Enforcement Agency-10 (PDEA-10) has expressed dismay over the decision of a local judge to acquit an alleged “drug queen” and several others who are facing drug-related charges.
PDEA-10 regional director Wilkins Villanueva questioned the dismissal of the case against Johaira “Marimar” Macaubat, allegedly one of the biggest drug dealers in Mindanao.
Also released from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology custody were Macabuat’s husband Suharto, Sandato Santican, Noraisa Mapandi, Mark Gerald Sindac, Moamar Taher, Mariano Dagandara, Manot Dutoan, Hezam Tambidan, and Kate Abinal.
Macabuat was tagged by the PDEA as the “Drug Queen of the South” and allegedly the leader of a drug group which supplied illegal drugs in Regions 10, 11, 12, Caraga, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and in Metro Manila.
The release of said personalities was ordered by Judge Joeffre Acebido of the Regional Trial Court Branch 41 after the drug charges and illegal possession of firearms were dismissed.
The decision came out on Friday and was released to the media early this week.
In his order, the judge said the PDEA-10 had planted evidence against the suspects during the raid inside the the Macabuats’ residence in Barangay Kauswagan, this city, on July 23, 2016.
Macabuat was the former mayor of Maguing, Lanao del Sur, while her husband was a major in the Philippine Army.
Villanueva said it is “unfortunate” that Acebido “swallowed the testimonies of the defense hook, line and sinker.” He said the magistrate totally disregarded the evidence presented by the prosecution.
In his 25-page decision, Acebido justified the dismissal saying the “validity of the search is not gauged by its yield but also by the manner in which it was conducted.”
He added: “The prosecution likewise failed to prove possession of the accused of the items listed in the information in all these cases at the time of the arrest.”
Also, Acebido said the PDEA-10 agents carried out the raid prior to the arrival of barangay officials and media representatives.
The judge also questioned the confiscation of the alleged illegal substance the operatives found inside the Macabuats’ residence, saying “part of the controversy in these cases is not only centered on the illegality of the implementation of the search warrants but also on the claim of the accused that the dangerous drugs and paraphernalia allegedly seized were planted.”
Villanueva said the judge’s decision has put the PDEA-10’s reputation on the line adding that they would not accept Acebido’s ruling.
“We will assail the decision and bring it to the Supreme Court and we will not rest until justice is served,” he said.
For her part, Regional Prosecutor Merlyn Uy said Acebido’s decision has served as a “wake-up call for the PDEA” on following protocols in serving search warrants.
“This is a reminder to our law enforcers that even if armed with a search warrant, they have to comply to the rules of implementing warrants,” Uy said. (davaotoday.com)