A lawyer from Balingasag, Misamis Oriental was meted life imprisonment last July 5 by a regional trial court here.
The lawyer was identified as Michael Roa of Barangay 5, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental.
Roa – along with three others – were arrested in November 10, 2016 at his residence by agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on the basis of a search warrant issued by Gingoog City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 43 Judge Mirabeaus Undalok.
During the search, Roa and his companions Justine Mae Pundavela, John Rey Roa and Porferio Roa Jr. yielded one big plastic sachet, four medium-size plastic sachets, two elongated plastic sachets, two small plastic sachets and three open plastic sachets all containing white crystalline substance that was determined by the PDEA regional laboratory on the same day as the illegal substance methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu).
In its 17-page decision penned by Misamis Oriental RTC Branch 21 Judge Gil Bollozos, the court sentenced Michael Roa to life imprisonment and a fine of P400,000 for violation of Republic Act (RA) 9165.
The same penalties were imposed on Porferio Roa Jr.
John Rey Roa was ordered to undergo six months rehabilitation.
The court did not decide on the fate of Pundavela – who is currently at large – but the warrant for her arrest stands.
The three Roas are currently detained at the Misamis Oriental provincial jail in Cagayan de Oro City.
In its decision, the court stated that all three were guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
The court based its decision on the following facts: the rule on the chain of custody as prescribed in Section 21 of RA 9165 was properly observed,
"On the required physical inventory and photograph, on records are photographs showing the media representative and barangay official signing the receipt of property seized with all of the accused beside and in the presence of PDEA, police officers and other witnesses. The items were marked at the place of incident and also the inventory was made thereat. Hence, the two-witness rule of the marking and the inventory was duly complied with," read part of the decision.
"Verily, evaluating the evidence of the prosecution, the Court finds all accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt."