Tampered evidence frees accused drug dealer

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The Supreme Court has freed a man accused of drug trafficking after ruling that the evidence the prosecution submitted was tampered.

Associate Justice Roberto Abad of the Court’s Third Division ordered the release from prison of Jovi Pornillos after it set aside the decision of the Court of Appeals of November 18, 2010 and a previous ruling of the Regional Trial Court of Iriga City, Branch 35.

Pornillos was charged with violating Section 5, Article II of Republic Act (RA) 9165 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002).

On May 14, 2004 a police team arrested Pornillos during a drug bust.


The team reported that it found a sachet of shabu on Pornillos that weighed 0.4 gram. But when the sachet’s contents were examined by the Crime Laboratory, they weighed 0.2204 gram—short by 0.1796 gram.

The Court said the percentage of loss was nearly half the original weight.

The prosecution presented three theories: 1) only two chemists served the entire region giving rise to possible error; 2) the police and the crime laboratory used different weighing scales and 3) the lab testers did not take into account the weight of the sachet.

The Court dismissed the prosecution’s theories as “mere speculations since none of those involved was willing to admit having committed weighing error.”

“Speculations cannot overcome the concrete evidence that what was seized was not what was forensically tested. This implies tampering with the prosecution evidence,” the Court said.

It said it cannot affirm the conviction of Pornillos on compromised evidence.

Concurring with the ruling were Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Diosdao Peralta, Bienvenido Reyes and Marvic Leonen.

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