10 QC cops charged for failing to take witness stand

By Margaux Ortiz
Last updated 08:31am (Mla time) 06/27/2007

TEN MORE policemen were charged by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for repeatedly ignoring their court duties, leading to the dismissal of drug cases and the release of suspected illegal drugs peddlers.


Of the 10, PO2 Victor Aquino, PO3 Zaldy Asama, PO3 Rene Saul, PO2 Reynaldo Labon, and PO1 Estelito Mortega had been charged earlier this month by the PDEA for violations of Sections 91 and 92 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.


The PDEA also filed the same charges against SPO2 Belto Coritara, PO2 Orlando Dionisio, PO1 Arnold Penalosa, PO1 Frederick Saet, and PO3 Cleto Montegrejo.


All of the accused are assigned at the Quezon City Police District in Camp Karingal.


In his complaint filed in the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on Monday afternoon, lawyer Joey Quiriones, chief of the PDEA prosecution and case monitoring division, said the agency established a National Drug Case Monitoring System that supervises the status of drug cases and the participation of government personnel involved.


“Since the establishment of the system, we have been receiving copies of decisions from various courts and prosecution offices,” Quiriones said.


“Upon studying the documents, the PDEA found out that most of the cases were dismissed due to the nonappearances of police witnesses,” he added.


Quiriones said the accused police officers were involved in the arrest of drug suspects in Quezon City. The suspects were subsequently charged in the city’s regional trial courts. The PDEA lawyer explained that being poseur buyers and apprehending officers during the buy-bust operations, the presence and testimonies of the policemen were material and essential for the successful prosecution of the accused.


The police officers, however, failed to appear during the scheduled hearings of their respective cases, prompting the judge to ask them to explain why they should not be cited for contempt.


The judges assigned eventually issued orders dismissing the cases against the drug suspects “by reason of the repeated absence of the prosecution’s witnesses therein.”


“The dismissal caused by the police witnesses’ nonappearance was fatal to the prosecution’s cause and a serious blow to the government’s drive to eradicate and punish to the fullest extent violators of the dangerous drugs law,” Quiriones said.


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