Joavan’s pals cleared of drug charges-A A +A
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
TWO men identified as friends of Joavan Fernandez, adopted son of Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez, were acquitted by a court of the drug cases filed against them.
Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 8 Judge Macaundas Hadjirasul said in his decision that the evidence recovered from Benedict Gabasa and Terence Bayani was “illegally seized” and “inadmissible.”
“From the testimonies of the prosecution’s witnesses (two police officers), none of the accused was committing any crime when they were frisked for possible firearms, having been suspected (merely) of being with Joavan, an act that cannot by itself be considered a criminal offense even if there was a warrant for the arrest of Joavan,” he said.
Judge Hadjirasul further said no gun or any contraband was found when Bayani was frisked and there was no evidence that Gabasa was also searched.
Both accused were arrested on Feb. 6, 2011, by the team of then Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Investigation and Detective Management Branch (IDMB) Chief George Ylanan.
They were caught after Ylanan’s team failed to arrest Joavan in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
The police allegedly recovered two pieces of aluminum tinfoil, a sealer, and a rolled tissue paper from Gabasa, and a syringe containing Nubain from Bayani. Nubain is a regulated painkiller, often used after surgery.
Gabasa was charged before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office with allegedly violating Article 2, Section 12 (possession of drug paraphernalia) of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Bayani was separately charged with violating Article 2, Section 11 (possession of dangerous drugs) of RA 9165.
Both pleaded not guilty during their separate arraignments in March 2011.
“There is no evidence that the syringe containing Nubain allegedly recovered from
Bayani was the very same syringe submitted to the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Office 7…This is because the same was not marked, packed, sealed, inventoried and photographed immediately after the seizure, or at the nearest police station,” said Hadjirasul.
During the trial, PO2 Joseph Bugtal said he was with Ylanan, Insp. Jesus Arong and other team members when they went to Sindulan, Mabolo. They had planned to serve Joavan the arrest warrant issued by Municipal Trial Court in Cities Judge Mario Manayon.
Before reaching the place, they followed two vehicles. The Toyota Revo (SGH-541) they were tailing stopped, while the Honda Civic sped off.
Since they received information that Joavan was inside the Civic (YEH-323), Bugtal said they followed the vehicle. But they lost sight of it.
While going back to where the Revo was parked, they met the Civic. Ylanan stepped down from the IDMB vehicle and approached the vehicle, which was allegedly driven by Joavan.
Ylanan identified himself as a police officer and showed his badge to Joavan.
Instead of yielding, the driver allegedly stepped on the gas and bumped the IDMB vehicle. Ylanan opened fire at the vehicle to stop it.
The Honda Civic sped off and was later found abandoned in an open space in Barangay Carreta, Cebu City.
At this time, Gabasa and Bayani had already been arrested by the police.
The defense did not present any evidence but filed a memorandum, arguing that the arrest of Gabasa and Bayani was illegal.
Meanwhile, the Regional Trial Court Branch 57 destroyed several packs of shabu and other illegal substances after it terminated 280 cases yesterday morning.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 05, 2013.