Former Capitol guard
acquitted in drug case

Doubts on the anti-illegal drugs operation conducted by the police prompted the Regional Trial Court to recently dismiss the twin charges against a former security guard at the provincial capitol.
For failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt, RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras acquitted Aldrin Ocray Gianan, a resident of Calatagan Tibang, of separate charges of selling and possession of illegal drugs.
It may be recalled that on Jan. 11, 2021, a team from the Provincial Intelligence Unit (PIU) of the Catanduanes police mounted an operation against Gianan, who allegedly agreed to sell shabu to an undercover policeman at the corner of Joaquin Amata St. in Sta. Elena.
Together with the confidential informant, the officer waited for Gianan’s arrival on board a red motorcycle. As soon as the suspect handed over a sachet of the illegal drug and accepted payment, the poseur-buyer immediately executed the signal and effected the suspect’s arrest.
The officer claimed that while the handcuffed Gianan was seated on the pavement, he took from his left pocket a plastic canister and threw it to the ground. The canister was later found to contain nine more sachets of shabu, which together with the subject of sale, had a total weight of 18 grams.
During the trial, Gianan and his witnesses alleged that he was going from Kawit towards the direction of the DBP branch when his way was blocked by a motorcycle, and then he was pushed to the ground.
He claimed that something was inserted in his pocket, picking them out later and dropping them on the ground.
One witness said he took a video of Gianan being restrained on the ground and heard him shouting that it was not his and that he did not know anything about it as he was on his way to work.
Gianan’s girlfriend also testified that she tried to call his cellphone at 7:59 PM that evening but it would not ring.
In doubting the legitimacy of the buy-bust operation against Gianan, the Court noted that the poseur-buyer was not aware of the information gathered by his informant, as it was his fellow operatives who informed him of the operation.
It likewise underscored the inconsistent statements of the undercover lawmen with respect to the informant’s communications with the alleged target.
The Court wondered why there was cellular phone listed in the inventory of property seized when based on the testimony of the girlfriend and screenshots of her exchange of messages, he had to have a cellphone which he needed at his work.
Pointing out that the poseur-buyer never mentioned a canister when the accused took something from his left pocket and handed a sachet to him, the Court questioned his answer during clarificatory questioning where he claimed that Gianan took out the sachet from the canister.
Photographs taken by a bystander also belied the claim of the police that Gianan drove towards DBP and then made a U-turn, as the picture clearly indicated that his motorcycle made a left turn.
“With all these contradictions/inconsistencies and questionable statements of the poseur-buyer, this Court had reason to entertain doubt on the operation conducted against the accused,” Judge Contretras said.
“While this Court deplores the proliferation of illegal drugs, it cannot close its eyes to questionable operations being undertaken by law enforcement officers only to reach the quota required from them,” the Court emphasized.

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