For possession of 15 grams of shabu during a police raid in 2021, a single mother from Virac will have to spend the rest of her life behind bars after the Regional Trial Court convicted her of the offense recently.
In the July 8, 2022 decision, RTC Branch 42 Presiding Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada found Ma. Salve “Ambe/Bebe” Ferrer Gonzales guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of Section 11 of Republic Act 9165.
She was sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P400,000.
Information filed before the Court stated that on Sept. 28, 2021, then Virac police chief Maj. Antonio Perez was granted a search warrant against the accused, with the police team and its designated witnesses arriving at her house at 4:15 AM the following day.
Team leader Lt. Arnee Julius Dedase knocked on the door, which was opened by Gonzales.
After serving the warrant, the designated searched found nothing in her body but discovered a brown coin purse on top of a wooden shelf at the second floor of the house.
The purse contained nine (9) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance later confirmed to be shabu worth P101,000.00.
In her defense, she claimed that on that same early morning at 3 AM or about an hour before the police arrived, two men in civilian clothes entered her house and ordered her and her relatives to sit at the living room.
Gonzales said she saw one of the two men enter the bedroom of her minor son and put something on the wooden shelf.
The Court, however, said the accused’s claim of planting of evidence by the operating team is “too pat to be believed.”
It was very unusual for the accused not to ask, check or inquire immediately upon noticing a suspicious activity inside the room of her minor son and not to even call the attention of her family members if the same was true, Judge Gapas-Agbada declared.
She could have reported the matter to Punong Barangay Jayson Tabor but she failed, it was stressed.
The accused admitted in Court that it would be very hard to see the back portion of the partition wall where the wooden shelf was attached from the place where she was seated during that time when she allegedly saw the man in civilian clothes put something on the wooden shelf.
“All told, this Court upholds the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties by the operating team involved in this case,” the judge stated, adding that the defense was not able to show by clear and convincing evidence to suggest any improper motive on the part of the team to falsely impute such a serious charge upon the accused.