CA affirms life sentence vs. Filipino-Chinese drug trafficker

MANILA -- The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the decision of the Antipolo City Regional Trial Court against a Filipino-Chinese national, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for manufacturing and possessing illegal drugs in 2011.

In a 20-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Samuel Gaerlan, concurred by Associate Justices Celia Librea-Leagogo and Marie Christine Azcarraga-Jacob, the CA 8th Division denied Lawrence Yu's petition seeking the reversal of the trial court's decision.

Yu was arrested on June 30, 2011 in a raid conducted by operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Filinvest East Homes, Antipolo City, Rizal province.

The PDEA agents found and subsequently dismantled a kitchen-type laboratory and confiscated several sealed plastic bags containing white powdery substance suspected to be shabu, sealed plastic bags containing tablets, assorted chemicals, and various laboratory equipment and paraphernalia.

Yu's bodyguard, Elmer Doctor, and a certain Kisses Dela Cruz were also arrested during the raid but were later cleared by the court of any criminal liabilities.

Appellant Yu's argument that the PDEA agents exceeded their authority in the implementation of the search warrant because the warrant only permitted the search of the vehicles is misplaced, the CA noted.

The CA said it was clear, based on the copy of the warrant, that it covers the premises of Block 6, Lot 2, Irvine Place, Filinvest East Homes, Antipolo City and not merely the vehicles found therein.

Hence the argument of the appellant that the PDEA agents exceeded their authority has no leg to stand on, the CA said.

It also did not give weight to the accused-appellant's use of the doctrine of the fruit of the poisonous tree in seeking his acquittal.

The CA upheld the trial court's earlier ruling that the search warrant was validly issued and that the pieces of evidence gathered from Yu's residence are considered legally obtained.

Undoubtedly, the doctrine relied upon by the appellant has no application in this case, it added.

In seeking his acquittal before the CA, Yu argued that the trial court erred in giving weight to evidence presented by the prosecution, which was not formally offered, thus, rendering the search illegal and the seized items inadmissible as evidence against him before the court. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency