Court frees 18 drug suspects from N.Cotabato prison

October 3, 2012 9:54 pm 

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Oct. 3 — Eighteen inmates from North Cotabato province accused of drug charges were released from prison on Tuesday after a local court found some technicalities with the cases police filed against them.

Judge Laureano Alzate of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 22 in Kabacan town in North Cotabato said the complainants, the Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in particular, violated the "chain of custody rule" when they arrested and placed the suspects behind bars.

Alzate identified the freed prisoners as Abdul Ladasan, Julius Roiles, Dexter Balares, Roger Alamada, Jano Solaiman, Ope Olimpain, Jekery Lozano, Rasid Solaiman, Tong Ulangkaya, Chay Ambalgan, Jim Brown Alinas, Maring Ele, Monera Ladasan, Burham Sencil, Jaype Nanini, Victor Beldik, Kander Mamadia, and Jaime Macasasa.

The court, in a resolution, stated that the apprehending officers, those who acted as complainants in the cases, violated the law on arrest, search and seizure, and the chain of custody rule.

Also, the police officers, the court stressed, failed to prove the suspects were “guilty beyond reasonable doubt.”

Police records showed that the 18 suspects were arrested through buy-bust raids in different areas under the jurisdiction of RTC Branch 22 in North Cotabato from 2005 until 2010.

Police said this was not the first time the court ordered the release of prisoners who were accused of drug trafficking.(PNA)

PDS/NYP/MCM/EBP

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