SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Court of Appeals (CA) 5th Division has amended its decision on the jail term of a former police colonel who was convicted of protecting the operation of a methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu laboratory busted by authorities in Barangay Bimmotobot, Naguilian town in July 2008 .
From 12-20 years imprisonment, the appellate court increased the jail term of Superintendent Dionicio Borromeo to 17-20 years and fine of P500, 000.
“Thus, to make our decision dated June 29, 2016 conform to law and justice, the dispositive portion of which should be amended. In consonance with Article II of Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002), which imposes the maximum penalty when the unlawful act was committed by a government official or employee, the imposable penalty on the accused should be 17 years, four months to 20 years of imprisonment,” reads part of the CA ruling.
The CA also imposed the penalty of absolute perpetual disqualification from any public service against Borromeo.
On June 5, 2013, Judge Ferdinand Fe of the Regional Trial Court of Bauang, La Union, Branch 67, sentenced Borromeo to life imprisonment and fine of P10-million after he was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt as protector of the meth laboratory.
However, the CA decision on June 29, 2016 downgraded the life imprisonment to only 12-20 years.
The prosecution panel– La Union Prosecutor Danilo Bumacod and assistant prosecutors Manuel Dulnuan, Jr. and Gaudencio Valdez, Jr.– already wrote the office of the Solicitor General to appeal to the Supreme Court the CA decision.
Borromeo was indicted after he was tagged as protector of the shabu lab by Dante Tomas Palaganas, caretaker of the illegal drug facility who turned state witness.
Borromeo is a former chief of Dagupan City police station and a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1989.
Documents submitted by the prosecutors stated that Borromeo had been in constant communication with Palaganas during the operation of the shabu lab.
The communication started from the time Borromeo began the search for a site for the laboratory until July 9, 2008 when the facility was raided by authorities.
Investigation disclosed that the group used a piggery business as front for the illegal activity.
Then head of the Ilocos Police Regional Mobile Group, Borromeo recruited Palaganas as his ‘police asset’ and ordered him to look for a lot where they could establish a piggery.
During the raid, authorities recovered at least six truckloads of chemicals and equipment used in cooking shabu.
Palaganas was arrested during the operation along with Andy Tangalin, a fellow caretaker.
Authorities said that billions worth of shabu were manufactured for the lab’s more than one year operation.
All those indicted were accused of producing and processing shabu, by means of chemical synthesis which is a violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Dangerous Drugs Act. Jun Elias/northboundasia.com