QC court tells Parojinog to start presenting evidence
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has refused to dismiss the drug case against former Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog.
In a 67-page ruling, the QCRTC Branch 228 dismissed the demurrer to evidence filed by Parojinog, a setback that will compel her to counter the allegations made by the prosecution by presenting her own evidence.
A demurrer to evidence is in effect a motion to dismiss filed by the accused after the prosecution finished its presentation of evidence. The demurrer is anchored on the ground that the evidence presented by the prosecution is insufficient.
In her plea, she cited numerous irregularities as the basis for seeking the dismissal of the cases.
Prior to the implementation of the search warrant in her house, Parojinog said the advance security team already entered her house and stayed at her house, “thereby compromising and invalidating the entire search and seizure operations conducted by the police.”
But the court, in its ruling, said there is no proof that the presence of the advance team inside the house has compromised the search and seizure operations conducted by the police.
“Absent proof that the presence of the advance team in the house of the accused gave the police officers and opportunity to plant evidence as to the defense claims, the Court has no basis to conclude that the search warrant was not properly implemented,” read the ruling of Presiding Judge Mitushealla R. Manzanero-Casiño.
The court added that the prosecution was also able to produce a video of the search warrant being read to Parojinog.
On the argument that the chain of custody was broken, the court said: “The Supreme Court has applied the presumption that the policemen performed their official duties regularly and in order to overcome this presumption, the accused must show that there was bad faith or improper motive on the part of the policemen or that the confiscated items have tampered.”
In this case, the court said with the testimonial and documentary evidence presented by the prosecutors, it would be premature “to conclude that the prosecution’s evidence failed to establish the commission of the crime charged and that the accused appears to be the perpetrator.”
At this point, the court said, it “cannot make a categorical pronouncement that the guilt of the accused has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The court said it would be best for the accused to present her evidence.
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