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Philippines: Man Gets 15 Years In Jail For Marijuana Possession

Liv G. Campo

The Freeman, Philippines

Monday 18 Jul 2005


A man was sentenced to 15 years in jail after found guilty of
possessing two sticks of marijuana.

Policemen arrested Emilio Lapay Jr. on September 18, 2003 when they
found two hand-rolled marijuana sticks in his possession.

The police at that time were responding to an alarm on a video karera
operation in Buhisan road, sitio Guadalupe, barangay Punta Princesa,
Cebu City when they chanced upon the suspicious-looking Lapay.

Lapay, when arraigned, pleaded not guilty saying he was detained for
no reason after the police subjected him to a frisk. Lapay said the
cops recovered nothing from him. The accused also cried foul over the
search without a warrant of arrest.

However, Regional Trial Court branch 58 presiding judge Gabriel Ingles
found "more credibility to the testimonies of the prosecution
witnesses/arresting officers SPO3 Joselito Palang, SPO3 Rogelio Ruiz
and PO2 Jerome Java."

Ingles, in his decision, cited that police, with their experience,
"can easily detect whether what is being held is a stick of cigarette
or marijuana by the way it appears."

The decision further stated that the arrest of Lapay needed no warrant
of arrest as "he was committing a crime in the presence of the
arresting police officers."

For being "guilty beyond reasonable doubt," Lapay was sentenced to
spend 12 years and one day to 15 years in prison, and to pay the fine
of P300,000.




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