A former barangay captain of Pandan has been sentenced to two life imprisonments and to pay a fine of P1 million more than two years after P355,000 worth of illegal drugs as well as a loaded gun were found on him during a buy-bust operation in 2020.
In addition to the guilty verdict on the sale and possession of dangerous drugs, the Regional Trial Court also found Alexander Icaro Lopez, who is about 48 years old, guilty of violation of Republic Act 10591, or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act, for the illegal possession of a Cal. 38 revolver loaded with three bullets.
For the gun charge, he was given another prison term ranging from 10 to 11 years and one day.
It may be recalled that prior to the operation on Jan. 28, 2020, the Pandan police had received information that the former Canlubi barangay captain and drug surrenderee had resumed his illegal drug activities.
At the time, he was included in the National Watchlist for Illegal Drugs (NWID) and ranked second in the Provincial Recalibrated Top 10 illegal drug personality/priority target of the province.
That day at about 6:20 AM, the buy-bust operation went down at barangay Oga where Lopez arrived on board a motorcycle and then sealed the transaction with the undercover officer.
As a lawman burst from hiding nearby, Lopez sped away on the motorcycle but he fell from the vehicle about a hundred meters away and sprinted towards a forested area.
Policemen eventually found him wheezing near a fallen tree.
Aside from the small plastic sachet of shabu that he sold to a poseur-buyer during the operation, another 37 small sachets of the same illegal drug were seized from his possession, along with the P500.00 buy-bust money, a Cal. 38 pistol with three bullets, a Kawasaki Bajaj CT150 motorcycle without plate number and other non-drug items.
Chemical examination of the drug evidence by the Regional Crime Laboratory Office 5 (RCLO) in Legazpi City showed that the 38 sachets tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride with a total net weight of 52.254 grams. The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) appraised the current street value of the Lopez drug haul at P355,327.20.
In his defense, the former chairman claimed that he was headed to get his supply of fish for sale when two men pointed a gun at him at the gate of Carangyan beach.
He sped away towards Balangonan, with the two men in chase, but the chain of his motorcycle broke, prompting him to run towards the mountainous area.
He claimed that while they were waiting for the witnesses, a police officer inserted a bag near the felled tree while another inserted a sachet containing shabu at the left pocket of his short pants.
Another sachet of the illegal drug was dropped on the ground behind his back as he was seated.
Unconvinced of the accused’s defense that the evidence was planted, RTC Branch 43 Acting Presiding Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada noted that one of Lopez’s witnesses, Punong Barangay Rey Cordial, affirmed that the important stages of the operation as well as the eventual discovery of other drug items were done in a regular manner.
It was pointed out that when Lopez chanced upon Nancy Sarmiento while someone was chasing him, he did not attempt to shout or even call her attention to at least seek help or alert her.