THE Supreme Court has acquitted three more suspected drug pushers due to police’s failure to follow procedures in arrest and safekeeping of evidence.
In a 13-page ruling, the SC set aside the October 2015 decision of the Makati City regional trial court that found Emmanuel Oliva, Bernardo Barangot, and Mark Angelo Manalastas guilty of sale and possession of illegal drugs, which the Court of Appeals upheld in May 2017.
The SC cited as ground the failure of authorities to conduct the inventory of the drugs confiscated from them during the operation in 2015 in the presence of a representative from the Department of Justice and the media -- as required in Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act)
”Certainly, the prosecution bears the burden of proof to show valid cause for non-compliance with the procedure laid down in Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165, as amended. It has the positive duty to demonstrate observance thereto in such a way that, during the proceedings before the trial court, it must initiate in acknowledging and justifying any perceived deviations from the requirements of the law. Its failure to follow the mandated procedure must be adequately explained and must be proven as a fact in accordance with the rules of evidence,” read the ruling.