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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesTuesday, March 1, 2011
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Court acquits 4 accused

Four out of five drug personalities dashed to freedom Friday, after the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Judge Cresencio Tan Jr. of the Regional Trial Court Branch 30 acquitted Helen Dumadapat, Joseph Pilapil, Aldin Remollo and Dennis Noay due to questions of integrity and identity of the corpus delicti, or body of the crime.

Tan said the Supreme Court is very strict when it comes to the integrity of seized evidence, and that, the prosecution will have to make sure that what has been seized from the accused is actually the same item presented in court.

And when the court finds a gap in the chain of the custody of seized items, Judge Tan said, it is ground for its dismissal.

“While it is possible that the accused may have committed the crime charged against him, there is also that possibility, based on the evidence presented, that he has not. He should be deemed to have not where there is failure to meet the test of moral certainty,” the court said.

Tan said the government’s drive against illegal drugs deserves everybody’s support. However, the court has the duty to protect the accused where the evidence presented fails to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Meanwhile, of the five, one was sentenced to life imprisonment. Franklin Siquijor was also ordered to pay a fine of P500,000.

The court found Siquijor guilty beyond reasonable doubt for selling shabu to a poseur-buyer on June 18, 2007 at Lukewright Street, Poblacion 2, Dumaguete City.*JG



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