Law: Death penalty for cops engaged in "tanim droga"

Planting of Evidence. – The willful act by any person of maliciously and surreptitiously inserting, placing, adding or attaching directly or indirectly, through any overt or covert act, whatever quantity of any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical in the person, house, effects or in the immediate vicinity of an innocent individual for the purpose of implicating, incriminating or imputing the commission of any violation of this Act. (Section 3(cc) of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 or Republic Act No. [RA] 9165)

Criminal Liability for Planting of Evidence. – Any person who is found guilty of "planting" any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical, regardless of quantity and purity, shall suffer the penalty of death. (Section 29 of the Act)

However, in light of the effectivity of RA 9346, the imposition of the penalty of death has been proscribed. Therefore, the penalty to be imposed is life imprisonment. (An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines. June 24, 2006)

In cases involving dangerous drugs, the prosecution must prove with moral certainty the identity of the prohibited drug considering that the dangerous drug itself forms part of the corpus delicti of the crime. The prosecution has to show an unbroken chain of custody over the dangerous drugs so as to obviate any unnecessary doubts on the identity of the dangerous drugs on account of switching, "planting," or contamination of evidence. Accordingly, the prosecution must be able to account for each link in the chain of custody from the moment that the illegal drugs are seized up to their presentation in court as evidence of the crime.

2013 NEWS ON PLANTING OF EVIDENCE: Director Leonardo Espina, chief of the National Capital Region Command (NCRPO), was stung by the report in this space on Saturday that three San Juan City policemen had arrested and detained a young housewife who committed no crime. Espina has ordered SPO1 Pablo Selloriquez Jr., PO3 Erich Joel Temporal and PO3 Jayvin Pangilinan disarmed and reassigned to NCRPO headquarters while awaiting administrative charges to be filed against them.

Read more: Ramon Tulfo. @inquirerdotnet. Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:46 AM June 04, 2013. three barged into the house of Michaela Joy Reyes, a 23-year-old mother of two, in the wee hours of Friday and arrested her purportedly for drug pushing. Reyes’ neighbors in Barangay Progreso, including its chair, Carmencita Sto. Domingo, have vouched for her innocence, saying no illegal drugs buy-bust ever took place as claimed by the cops. “She has never been involved in any crime. She’s a law-abiding citizen,” said Sto. Domingo. Reyes said the three cops also took P13,500 they found on top of her drawer. The cops produced a sachet of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) they allegedly found on Reyes, but which was apparently planted evidence. At the time of her arrest, Michaela Joy was naked from the waist up and was only wearing panties. She claims she was mashed by the cops who tried to bring her to their precinct in her half-naked state. Relatives and neighbors, however, asked the policemen to allow her to wear decent clothes before taking her in. Selloriquez, Temporal and Pangilinan were in the neighborhood chasing a suspected robber who reportedly ran inside Reyes’ house and went out through the backdoor.

The suspect is not known to Reyes. At the police station, the housewife was booked for drug pushing, with the sachet of shabu used as evidence by the three cops. But on Monday morning, the three policemen filed cases of obstruction of justice, direct assault and physical injuries against Reyes in the San Juan Prosecutor’s Office. A case for drug pushing, a very serious and nonbailable offense, was not filed for obvious reasons.

Read more: Ramon Tulfo. @inquirerdotnet. Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:46 AM June 04, 2013.

Question: Why didn’t the police chief of San Juan, Senior Supt. Bernard Tambaoan, order the woman’s immediate release after he learned that she was just framed by his men after an investigation found her innocent? The NCRPO chief sent investigators to the Barangay Progreso neighborhood on Friday night after I called his attention to a possible frame-up of an innocent citizen. Based on the testimony of Reyes’ neighbors, Espina’s probers reported that the young woman was, indeed, the victim of a frame-up. Another question: Why didn’t the San Juan police file a case against its own men for planting evidence? Framing innocent citizens on drug charges is punishable by life imprisonment.

Read more: Ramon Tulfo. @inquirerdotnet. Philippine Daily Inquirer / 03:46 AM June 04, 2013.

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