The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bohol, Branch 2, found guilty beyond reasonable doubt former Tagbilaran City Poblacion Barangay II Kagawad Roberto C. Alba for violation of Section 12 of Republic Act (RA) 9165 known as The Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002.
Possession of equipment, instrument, apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs is illegal under Section 12 of RA 9165.
The court granted the motion of Alba to avail of plea bargaining for a lesser offense allowed by the SC in drug cases.
Alba was accused for violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act (RA) 9165 known as The Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002 after he was nabbed on February 18, 2020 for selling one small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets containing 0.45 grams of methamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug popularly known as “shabu” for P1,000.00 to a police poseur-buyer.
Also in Alba’s possession were ten plastic sachets of “shabu” weighing 0.42 grams in violation of Section 11, Article II of the same act.
When the case was called for arraignment, Alba entered separate pleas of guilty for both criminal offenses of selling and possession of dangerous drugs and pleaded guilty to a lesser offense of violation of section 12 (possession of equipment, instrument, apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs).
In a five-page Omnibus Decision on April 27, 2020, taking into account Alba’s judicial admission of guilt and pursuant to a plea bargaining agreement, the court found him guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of section 12 and imposed the penalty of imprisonment of six months as minimum to two years as maximum and to pay the fine of P15,000.00 for each criminal case.
The court cited the ruling of the Supreme Court in Estipona v. Lobrigo that allowed plea bargaining in drug cases and the subsequent High Court Administrative Matter (A.M.) No. 18-03-16-SC which adopted the plea bargaining framework proposed by the Philippine Judges Association.
Alba was ordered released under the recognizance of Poblacion Barangay II officials – Roy S. Navea and Ritgie Felix Verano pending approval of his application for probation.
An order of recognizance allows the temporary release of an accused to a custodian appointed by the court to guarantee his/her appearance before the court. (Chito M. Visarra)