Drug trafficking: CA affirms acquittal of 2 'Alabang boys'
MANILA, Philippines – After more than two years, the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the decision of a Muntinlupa court to acquit of drug trafficking charges two of the 3 so-called "Alabang boys."
In a ruling dated January 30 but made public on Wednesday, February 12, the appeals court affirmed the decision of the Munlinlupa RTC Branch 204 to acquit Richard Brodett and Jorge Joseph from violating Republic Act No 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The "Alabang boys" gained notoriety for allegedly being engaged in illegal drug activities in the Ayala Alabang area, an upscale neighborhood.
A confidential informant of Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency operatives helped in the buy-bust operation conducted on Sept 19, 2008, leading to the arrest of the suspects who come from wealthy families.
The Muntinlupa court, in its decision on Aug 26, 2011, cited the failure of the prosecution to establish all the links in the chain of custody of the dangerous drugs. Brodett and Joseph were ordered released.
The government filed a motion for reconsideration on Sept 9, 2011. The motion was denied on October 25 of the same year by the RTC on the grounds of double jeopardy or of being tried twice for the same offense.
The case landed in the appellate court, which has now affirmed the RTC ruling that "all the elements of double jeopardy are evidently present."
The filing of the petition, said the CA, was "an oppressive repeated attempt to subject Joseph and Brodett to a second judgment for the same offense which is proscribed by the rule against double jeopardy."
"While petitioner may have been enthused by the interest of the state in filing the petition, whatever that may be, it should have taken heed of the admonition...that the state is limited to single criminal proceedings to vindicate its vital interest in the enforcement of criminal laws and that it is not permitted to make repeated attempts to convict an individual for an alleged offense to spare him the heavy strain which a criminal trial brings," the decision read.
The decision was penned by CA Associate Justice Leoncia Real-Dimagiba. – Rappler.com