Court orders arrest of Marcelino
The Manila Regional Trial Court has ordered the arrest of Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino and his alleged Chinese cohort after it denied the Sept. 23 motion filed by the two to suspend, among others, their arraignment for possession of illegal drugs.
In an eight-page order on Dec. 22, Branch 49 Judge Daniel Villanueva said there was “prima facie evidence of probable cause” for the charge against Marcelino and Yan Yi Shuo, who both “failed to give a good and credible account of their presence” in Unit No. 15 of Celadon Residences in Felix Huertas on Jan. 21.
Agents of the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Illegal Drug Group-Special Operations Unit who were implementing a search warrant in the unit found more than P300 million worth of suspected methamphetamine hydrochloride and liquid methamphetamine at that time, prompting them to arrest the two.
In denying the Sept. 23 motion and ordering the arrest of Marcelino and his alleged cohort, Villanueva questioned their claim they were merely in the unit to “verify and validate” the illegal drug activity of a certain Tonga.
The judge, who took over the case after Branch 17 Judge Felicitas Laron Cacanindin inhibited in November, citing her association with former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Arturo Cacdac, noted that Marcelino did not relay “whatever actionable information he had with any known government law enforcement agency.”
This, Villanueva said, therefore “(gave) rise at least to the rebuttable presumption that (Marcelino’s) true objective was unlawful.”
“Being a former PDEA operative, Marcelino cannot claim ignorance of the drug enforcement protocols,” Villanueva said, noting that exchanging “a couple of texts with a former law enforcement colleague does not, by any stretch of statutory construction, constitute coordination.”
Villanueva also refuted Shuo’s claim he was merely an “errand boy” tasked by Tonga to “turn off the lights and air-conditioning of a friend’s townhouse located at the back of SM Lazaro,” and was given a key and a motor vehicle by a certain Paya for that purpose.
The judge said turning off lights and an air-conditioning unit was a “simple task” and is “definitely not an elaborate cloak-and-dagger operation, as what purportedly happened in the case at bar.”
He said even the condominium’s security guard, “by a single telephone call from the unit owner, lessee or occupant,” can turn off the electricity from outside the unit.
“This embellishment instead of lending credence to the story, made the entire explanation even more risible and ridiculous,” Villanueva said.
He also disputed Shuo’s claim that he was a “PDEA action agent” at that time, saying there was “no such record in any overt or covert government agency.”
“There is prima facie evidence of the existence of conspiracy between the accused…It appearing that they are not yet at present under the jurisdiction of the court, and by the cited omnibus motion have refused to submit to its jurisdiction, let the corresponding warrants of arrest be issued forthwith against the accused,” Villanueva said.
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