Ex-soldier caught in drug sting meted double life terms, P1-M fine

A former member of the Philippine Army will probably spend the rest of his days in prison after being sentenced to double life imprisonment and 10 more years for selling and possessing illegal drugs as well as illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

In a 23-page decision promulgated last June 11, 2021, the Regional Trial Court meted life imprisonment and a fine of P500,000 on Arvin Arcilla Sosito for selling a sachet of shabu to an undercover police officer on Sept. 18, 2020.

The San Pablo, Virac resident was also sentenced to another life term plus a fine of P400,000 for possession of seven more sachets of shabu discovered in his person during the subsequent search.

For the revolver with three bullets found on him, the Court gave him the penalty of imprisonment ranging from eight years, eight months and one day as minimum to 10 years, eight months and one day as maximum.

The eight sachets of shabu, the gun and ammunition were ordered confiscated in favor of the government.

Records show that elements from the Virac police station, the Regional Police Drug Enforcement Unit (RPDEU)-Catanduanes and the Catanduanes Provincial Intelligence Unit (CATPIU) led by Lt. Fidel Romero Jr. conducted the anti-illegal drug operation against Sosito, who had surrendered to the police on July 8, 2016 during Oplan Tokhang and was included as a high value individual in the Directorate for Intelligence/PPO Recalibrated Priority Database on Illegal Drugs.

Using a confidential informant, the team arranged a transaction with the target, who was then working as a tricycle driver.

The poseur-buyer was supposed to wait in front of the JCCua Construction & Supply in Capilihan, with Sosito to pick him up as a passenger and bring him to Virac Memorial Garden in Gogon where the transaction would take place.

After two hours of waiting, the tricycle with body number 3048 then coming from San Vicente was flagged down by the undercover lawman who got in.

Upon arrival near the gate of the cemetery, the poseur-buyer alighted, went beside Sosito who was still astride the motorcycle and gave him the P500 buy-bust money.

As soon as the driver gave him a heat-sealed sachet containing the illegal drug, the police officer gave the pre-arranged signal.

As the team member rushed from their hiding places, Sosito tried to resist and threw away the money and his wallet to the ground.

Aside from the sachet of shabu weighing 0.009 gram sold to the police officer, the searcher found a piece of folded paper at the hem of Sosito’s long pants. Inside the paper were seven more sachets of shabu with a total weight of 12.22 grams.

At the front of the motorcycle just beside the odometer and fuel gauge was found a black sweatshirt that covered a black Cal. 38 revolver without serial number and with three bullets in the chamber.

The shirt bore the markings “9th Division Training Unit, 4th Batch 2012 Markmanship Training” in front and “SOSITO” at the back.

In his defense, the accused claimed that he left his two children at the house to ply his tricycle and drove a passenger to San Vicente.

On his way back, he was flagged down by a man who said he was going to Palnab.

When they neared Virac Memorial Garden, Sosito said, his passenger told him to stop, went in front and handed him P500, telling him to just give him P200 as change.

Sosito said he did not have sufficient change and had only P100.

After the man took the money, three civilians appeared, told him to take them to Virac Central Elementary School and then told him he was bring arrested.

He also claimed a piece of paper was dropped at his back while he was lying face down on the ground.

While he denied bringing a gun with him, he admitted ownership of the sweatshirt that covered the weapon.

The Court, however, was unconvinced by his defense of denial and frame-up.

RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras noted that it was inconceivable for Sosito to drive his tricycle towards Virac Memorial Garden, which is 100 meters away from the main road, to reach the undercover cop’s destination in Palnab as that road led to a dead end.

She likewise pointed out that the police officer did not tell Sosito his destination since the latter already knew where he would be taking his passenger and that the driver stopped the tricycle without being told since it was the exact location of their transaction.

Witnesses also confirmed that the police searcher found the piece of paper containing the illegal drugs at the hem of Sosito’s pants, with numerous photographs showing that there was no piece of paper on the ground when he stood up.

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