CA affirms 3 drug traders’ life sentence

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Three drug dealers have lost their plea to overturn their life sentence after the Court of Appeals (CA) upheld their conviction by a court in Kalinga.

In a 17-page decision, the appellate court affirmed the 2021 decision of the Tabuk City Regional Trial Court Branch 25, which found Annabel Estrada, Marlon Olimos and Jackielou Macabenta guilty of drug trafficking.

With the CA ruling, the three were also ordered to pay a fine of P500,000 imposed by the local court and another P300,000 for illegal possession of narcotics.

“The strong arm of the law must never weaken against the onslaughts of this terrible affliction. The penalty provided by the law is severe because those who are caught in the stranglehold of prohibited drugs not only slide into the ranks of the living dead,” the court ruling read. ”What is worse, they become a grave menace to the safety of the law-abiding members of society.”

The decision noted that the judiciary “cradles no compassion to peddlers of misery and death in our streets.”

In their defense, the three claimed they were framed, saying they were in Tabuk at the time they were arrested only to see famous tattoo artist Apo Whang-Od.

They said they were waiting for their orders in a restaurant when they were apprehended.

However, court records show that an undercover agent was talking with Estrada for a buyer of illegal drugs.

“It is well established that frame-up is the usual defense of those accused in drug-related cases, and it is viewed by the court with disfavor since it is an allegation that can be made with ease,” the CA said.


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