CA overturns man’s drug conviction after five years-A A +A
Saturday, October 13, 2012
CEBU CITY -- After five years in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City, Alexander Bonghanoy was released after the Court of Appeals (CA) reversed the trial court ruling and acquitted him of the drug charges.
Bonghanoy was arrested and charged with illegal drug possession in Cebu City after the police allegedly seized from him two packets of shabu at a checkpoint in 2007.
Investigation showed that police flagged down Bonghanoy and his passenger at a checkpoint on V. Rama Avenue in Barangay Calamba, Cebu City on May 12, 2007.
Instead of stopping, he tried to make a U-turn. Police caught him, but his companion got away.
After a body search, police allegedly found two sachets of suspected shabu in Bonghanoy’s pocket.
In his testimony, Bonghanoy said he was only ferrying his passenger to Barangay Lahug. When they reached the checkpoint, the passenger told him to make a U-turn.
Bonghanoy also said police didn’t find anything when they frisked him. Afterwards, they brought him to the police station on Gorordo Avenue.
He only discovered that he was charged with illegal possession of drugs while he was detained.
On August 28, 2008, the court convicted Bonghanoy and sentenced him to 12 to 15 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay a fine of P300,000.
Bonghanoy, in his appeal, said the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt, citing the gap in the chain of custody of the seized illegal drugs.
Associate Justice Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles granted his appeal and ordered his immediate release.
”The prosecution fails to comply with the indispensable requirement of proving corpus delicti not only when it is missing but also when there are substantial gaps in the chain of custody of the seized drugs, which raise doubts on the authenticity of the evidence presented in court,” according to the CA’s decision.
Gomos said two police officers admitted that they didn’t recover any shabu from Bonghanoy. (PNA)