Failure to mark evidence leads to dismissal of case

THE failure of the police to mark seized items led to the dismissal of the drug charges against two men arrested for alleged illegal drug trade in 2014.

Regional Trial Court Judge Macaundas Hadjirasul dismissed for want of evidence the drug case against Ian Fernandez and Van Anthony Nuena.

“In short, the marking immediately upon confiscation or recovery of the dangerous drugs or related items is indispensable in the preservation of their integrity and evidentiary value,” read Hadjirasul’s decision.

Operatives of the Parian police station arrested Fernandez and Nuena at a checkpoint on M.J. Cuenco Ave. in Barangay T. Padilla, Cebu City last Dec.11, 2017.

When asked to raise his arm during the checkpoint, Fernandez allegedly dropped a sachet of suspected shabu in front of the policemen who conducted the checkpoint. The police team said they also found a sachet of shabu from the pocket of Nuena.

Judge Hadjirasul ruled that what the police did, ordering the male passengers to disembark and raise their arms on suspicion of being drug peddlers, violated the rules in the conduct of checkpoint.

“Only a visual inspection is allowed of vehicles and persons in checkpoints sans the presence of reasonable or probable cause to believe on the part of the law enforcer conducting the search,” the decision read.

Likewise, the judge ruled that the supposed packet of shabu found in Nuena’s possession is inadmissible as evidence being the “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

Hadjirasul stressed the importance of marking seized drug evidence after confiscation. (GMD)
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