June 21, 2024

The city’s anti-illegal drugs court has sentenced to life imprisonment a shabu dealer caught in a buy-bust operation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation-CAR on Nov. 27, 2020 at Siapno Road, Pacdal, Baguio City.
In a decision dated July 5, Regional Trial Court Branch 61 Presiding Judge Lilybeth Sindayen-Libiran said NBI personnel who planned the buy-bust on Gregory Wasit Quela were not only able to catch the accused in the act, but have established the chain of custody in the handling and processing of pieces of evidence gathered during the operation.
The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act states that after buy-bust, custody pieces of evidence will be initially handled by the apprehending team for inventory of the items to be witnessed by the suspect, a barangay official, a representative from the media, and the Department of Justice. Within 24 hours, these items should be submitted to the police laboratory for forensic examination and after which these will be kept in custody for presentation in court.
Prior to Quela’s arrest, a team from the NBI with aid from an informant under the Witness Protection Program organized two test buys to validate that the accused sold shabu.
Both trial purchases showed that the crystalline substances bought from Quela were shabu as confirmed by the forensic examination conducted by the NBI.
On Nov. 27, 2020, the NBI and the informant acting as buyer organized a buy-bust operation. Quela was caught selling 2.5 grams shabu worth P12,000.
During the hearing, Quela entered a not guilty plea and also waived his right to present evidence by submitting a demurrer to evidence.
When a demurrer to evidence is filed, an accused waives his right to present evidence and submits the case for judgment on the basis of evidence submitted by the prosecution.
Apart from the conviction, the court also ordered Quela to pay P500,000 fine.
Meanwhile, the branch clerk of court has been directed to turn over the seized contraband to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, for destruction. – Rimaliza A. Opiña