The Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on Tuesday asked the Department of Justice to overturn its resolution dismissing their criminal charges against Marine Lt. Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino.
In a 16-page joint motion, the PNP-AIDG and PDEA appealed to the DOJ prosecutors reverse its findings and instead pursue the filing of court cases of conspiracy in manufacture and possession of illegal drugs under Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, against Marcelino and Yan Yi Shuo.
The anti-narcotics agencies said the dismissal of their charges by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva was “utterly baseless, exceedingly arbitrary and grossly unjustified.”
According to them, they have submitted sufficient evidence to establish probable cause, which is the only requirement for filing of the cases in court.
“In preliminary investigation, the investigating prosecutor should only determine whether or not there is probable cause in the complaint filed against the respondent and not proof beyond reasonable doubt,”the complainant stressed.
The complainants also questioned the DOJ findings, insisting they have submitted “strong and adequate evidence enough to cause not only the filing of the [case] in court based on probable cause but also to convict the respondents beyond reasonable doubt based on existing laws and jurisprudence.”
They cited the transcription of self-recorded phone conversation between Marcelino and Yan showing that “the two planned to transfer the drugs inside the laboratory because they thought that PDEA is monitoring the area” and that they also “planned to give the drugs to a certain Tony.”
The PNP-AIDG and PDEA reiterated their allegation that the presence of the two respondents in the house in Manila where P256 million worth of shabu was seized last January could be considered circumstantial evidence.
“Lest we forget is the fact that respondents arrived at the subject house together, equipped with a key and with full authority from the owner of the house. These circumstances unarguably constitute a primafacie evidence that they are in control of the subject premise,” they argued.
The agencies also branded as “next to impossible” the requirement of the investigating prosecutor for them to “show independent evidence of prior knowledge from [respondents] of the presence of dangerous drugs at the unit for them to be considered in possession of the confiscated drugs.”
With these arguments, complainants asked the DOJ to reverse and set aside its resolution issued last week.
Outgoing justice secretary Emmanuel Caparas, for his part, said he expected the PNP-AIDG and PDEA to file the motion for reconsideration.
“This is a rather controversial case that needs to be heard further. This issue should be accommodated, especially at a time when the issue of illegal drugs is high on priority,” he said.
In his resolution last week, Villanueva cited insufficiency of evidence in dismissing the charges of conspiracy in manufacture and possession of illegal drugs under Republic Act 9165 (ComprehensiveDangerous Drugs Act of 2002) filed by the Philippine National Police Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG) and PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) against Marcelino and Yan.
He explained that the “evidence so far presented by the PNP and PDEA insufficient of the required evidence to sustain a conviction during the trial on the merits of the case.”
Villanueva also pointed out that the assumption of PNP and PDEA that Marcelino and Yan were very familiar with the house “could be a speculation.”
A separate resolution by Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John Humarang has also dismissed the separate charges for violations of the Omnibus Election Code and the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act against Marcelino.
Records showed that Marcelino and Yan only entered the house just two minutes before the anti-narcotics operatives arrived.
During PI hearing, the two explained that their presence in the illegal drug facility in Manila where 64 kilos of suspected shabu were seized last January was part of a covert intelligence operation.
Even before Marcelino was cleared by the DOJ, he was already released from detention earlier this month after the Quezon City Regional Trial Court granted his petition for bail.