CAMP BADO DANGWA, LA TRINIDAD — Melchor Martin Lagadeo and Kenneth Sagasa Lagadeo were found guilty of violating Section 5, Article II of Republic Act (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

They were sentenced to Life Imprisonment and fines amounting to Php1,000,000 each.

The Lagadeo cousins, who claimed to be from Kibungan, Benguet were convicted for selling 47,525.5 grams of marijuana to a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) poseur-buyer.

PDEA Cordillera Regional Office Information Officer Joseph Calulut on Friday said the Lagadeos were arrested in a buy-bust operation on July 9, 2013 at the Lourdes Grotto here in Baguio City.

Calulut said the suspects denied the accusation and claimed they were framed but these claims were not given weight by the court.

Calulut, quoting the decision, said the court ruled that, “these defenses or alibis, 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.”

The court ruled further that, “the positive identification made by the PDEA agents outweigh the denials of accused.

The statutory presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties by the PDEA agents who conducted the buy-bust operation that led to the arrest of the accused has overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence of the accused, besides the fact that the accused failed to show any evil or ill motive on the part of the PDEA when they pursued the entrapment operation.”

In its decision, the court noted the fact that the PDEA agents took pains to preserve the integrity of the “corpus delicti” (concrete evidence) of this case by complying with Section 21, Art. II of R.A. 9165 which deals with keeping the integrity of the contraband confiscated.

Calulut said this case is a precedent to the intensified operations of the agency against drugs. PNA / northboundasia.com