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3:39 pm on 6 January 2023, Friday
by Jade Veronique V. Yap
Las Piñas City Trial Court acquitted Juanito Jose Remulla III the son of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla of illegal possession of drugs charges on Friday, January 6, 2022.
In a 34-page decision, the Las Piñas Regional Trial Court Branch 197 said that the prosecution failed to prove the guilt of Remulla III for illegal possession of dangerous drugs as there was no substantial evidence that he had "freely, consciously, and with full knowledge possessed the alleged seized illegal drugs."
"There is reasonable doubt that the accused received and possessed the parcel delivered to him with the knowledge, consciousness, and awareness that said parcel contained marijuana," it said.
The younger Remulla was nabbed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group during a controlled delivery at his home in Talon Dos, Las Piñas on October 11.
Juanito was the consignee of the parcel that contained two packets of 937 grams of kush, high-grade marijuana worth P1.3 million, that a certain Benjamin Huffman from the United States sent.
The court further ruled that it is insufficient to prove that a recipient is engaging in an illicit activity simply by accepting a parcel during a controlled delivery.
"Unfortunately, apart from showing that the package or parcel was handed to the accused, the prosecution did not present other evidence to show that the former knew that it contained marijuana. The prosecution failed to show that [the] accused, by receiving the parcel, knew that he was also possessing illegal drugs," it said.
The court added that it has "serious reservations" about the reliability and significance of the reportedly confiscated dangerous drugs as evidence.
Citing the statement of a Customs examiner, it was found that the Customs Anti-Illegal Drug Task Force already had possession of the parcel allegedly containing illicit drugs as early as September 28. However, the package was only handed over to Customs examiner Gerardo Pascual on October 4.
"As to the effect, however, it has put into question the identity, integrity, and evidentiary value of the purportedly seized dangerous drugs. This is especially true when there is nothing in the records that would show how the parcel was handled, stored, and preserved from the time it was discovered on September 28," it said.
The court further said, "has effectively put into question the identity, integrity, and evidentiary value of the purportedly seized dangerous drugs."
Despite being acquitted of the illegal possession of drugs case, Remulla III will still face a separate case for drug importation and breaking customs law before the Pasay City Prosecutor's Office.