College student to spend life behind bars for P340k shabu

Life imprisonment, an additional 12 to 14 years of jail time and total fines of P900,000.00 were meted on a Virac resident who yielded P340,000 worth of shabu in 2021 when he was a college sophomore.

The Regional Trial Court ordered John Dave Araojo Tablate, now 22, to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500,000.00 for the illegal sale of methamphetamine hydrochloride.

He was likewise sentenced to 12 to 14 years in jail for illegal possession of marijuana and to pay another fine of P400,000.00.

Court records show that after a confidential informant told police that Tablate, a resident of Palnab del Sur, was engaged in selling illegal drugs, Agent Marco Pontejos of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) ordered the informant to arrange a drug deal worth P200,000.00.

In the morning of Nov. 15, 2021, the CI told the agent the deal was on and would take place at the suspect’s residence.

At 10:40 AM, the operatives arrived at the vicinity together with the witnesses, with the CI, followed by two PDEA agents, calling the accused then holding a white plastic bag.

“Sakto an abot nindo. Huna ko ngani bogus buyer an tropa mo. Maray sana dai ko pa nabawasan an order nyo. Ini ngani may bagong item naman,” Tablate told the trio.

After the poseur-buyer asked for a sample and confirmed that it was shabu, he handed over to the suspect the white envelope containing the buy-bust money.

At once, Agent Pontejos identified themselves and arrested the suspect, who later yielded a plastic bag containing dried marijuana leaves inside a black plastic bag rolled inside a leg of his pants.

The sachet of shabu was confirmed by a laboratory examination with a weight of nearly 55 grams while the marijuana leaves had a weight of just over 15 grams.

The defense tried to prove that the buy bust operation was improper and that the drug items had been planted on the accused.

Tablate claimed he was painting his room when he was called to receive a parcel from a J&T rider. As he informed the rider that he did not order it, two persons forced him to lie on the ground, told him to be silent and forced him to hold the parcel, white envelope and a small container containing white crystalline substance.

The Court, however, said his claim is too pat to be believes, adding that instead of reporting the matter, he did nothing.

No evidence was presented which would suggest any improper motive on the part of the police operatives, it stressed.

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