• Baguio drugs court sends two to Bilibid

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    BAGUIO CITY: A drug court in this city, Regional Trial Court branch 61, sent drug trafficking duo Melchor Martin Laga¬deo and Kenneth Sagasa Lagadeo to the National Penitentiary in Mun¬tinlupa City (Metro Manila) after finding them guilty of drug trafficking.

    Cousins Melchor and Kenneth were found guilty on January 18, 2016 of violating Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. They were sentenced to suffer life imprisonment and fined P1 million each.

    The duo was caught selling 47,525.5 grams of marijuana to a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency poseur-buyer on July 9, 2013 at the Lourdes Grotto.

    RTC Judge Antonio Reyes gave no weight to the duo’s denial and claims of a frame-up by PDEA agents. “These defenses, like alibi, have been viewed with disfavor by our courts for being easily concocted and are used as a common defense ploy in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act due perhaps to the rotten reputation of narcotics agents. But for such defense to prosper, the evidence must be clear and convincing,” he said.

    “The positive identification made by the PDEA agents far outweighs the denials of accused.” The duo, Reyes said, “failed to show any evil or ill motive on the part of the PDEA when they pursued the entrapment operation.”

    Reyes earlier exposed the “dark old” practice of “laglag droga” and “palit-ulo” in the anti-drugs operations of the Baguio City and Cordillera police forces.

    The court, which is trying almost all drug-related cases in the city, has warned anti-drug operatives of committing acts that “deprive suspects of their freedoms based on flimsy evidence via fictional operations.”

    THOM PICAÑA

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