Text messages crucial in 2 illegal drug cases
posted 26-Sep-2019  ·  
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Text messages recovered from cellphones seized as evidence in two separate illegal drugs cases has proven crucial in the conviction of the two accused at the Regional Trial Court recently.

In the first case, Maximo Magdaraog Rabida Jr. was also ordered by the Regional Trial Court to pay a fine of P310,000 after being found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes of possession of dangerous drugs and of drug paraphernalia.

RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras said that Rabida failed to show proof of any motive on the part of the police officers to impute falsely against him a crime as serious as violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Acts.

It was early in the morning of March 10, 2017 that the Virac police led by then Chief Inspector James Ronatay served the search warrant on Rabida at his house in sitio Lumingangas in barangay Danicop.

While nothing was found on Rabida’s person, the police discovered a pink pouch underneath a bag on top of a divider.

The pouch yielded 10 sachets of suspected shabu, seven pieces of rolled aluminum foil, a crumpled foil and a piece of coconut midrib (gihoy). They also recovered a cellphone that was thrown by Rabida at the back portion of the dirty kitchen while the search was about to commence.

An examination of the seized drugs yielded positive results for methamphetamine hydrochloride with a total weight of 0.2298 gram.

In the course of drafting the decision, Judge Contreras noticed that the cellphone, which was retrieved from the Court for digital forensic examination, was not presented by the prosecution.

This prompted the Court to subpoena the police to present the report on the text messages extracted from the SIM card of Rabida’s phone with number 09180000101, noting that Rabida denied possessing the drug items and paraphernalia seized from his house.

The report showed messages stored in his cellular phone that showed his illegal drug activities, the Court stated.

Among the salient SMS extracted were the following:

(To 639307248377): “pila ngani ikua mo pare?”; “gua na uya pare. haen ka ngunyan?”; “halat pare ta ihapot ko ki bosing?”; “Na koa muna lamang, pare?”; “5h tana pare pa lamang”;

(From 639070332408): “Igwa ka gamit jn”; “Mahagad dw ako tagahagad c jojo sakoya”; “Pare paki talman m dw c jojo na igwa makowa 1k”; “Igwa ka pa jn 5h lng”

(From 639481256284): “S blossom s kanto kta maghilingan pre bko tampaw haws ta boltok rodirik makulit.”; kung harim bawa ma koa muna.”

“The exchange of SMS retrieved from the cellular phone of MAX convinced this Court that he was, indeed, engaged in illegal drug activities,” Judge Contreras concluded.

Photographs taken by the police during the search also belied Max’s claims as well as that of his daughter regarding the conduct of the operation.

In the other case, the same Court meted life imprisonment on Dun Hill Villamor Tatac and ordered him to pay a fine of P500,000.

Court records show that on April 7, 2014, police asset Ernesto Tabor Jr., who would later achieve notoriety for his role as star witness in the shabu lab case, was asked by the police to buy shabu from Tatac.

Beginning February until April that year, Tabor had managed to buy illegal drugs from Tatac three times, with the police planning the entrapment operation with Tabor as poseur-buyer.

Using their cellphones, Tabor and Tatac agreed on the sale of 0.4 gram of shabu for P2,500, with the exchange to take place at the junction of the road leading to Sto. Cristo.

During the actual sale, with the police operatives just close by, Tabor handed Tatac the buy-bust money composed of real bills and cut paper money while the latter gave back the small sachet of shabu.

However, when Tabor tried to hug Tatac as a pre-arranged signal for the police, Tatac fought back and tried to stab Tabor with a knife.

He then ran towards Sto. Domingo church, throwing the knife into a grassy portion, with Tabor in pursuit.

Tabor caught up with Tatac at the back of the stage beside the church wall and a fist fight began. A barangay tanod noticed the commotion and stopped the fight, later seeing Tatac inserting something at the lower portion of the door leading to the bell tower.

The police later recovered the items, consisting of the marked money and bills made of cut-out newspapers, an iPod and cellphone, from its hiding place while the rest of the buy-bust money was retrieved from the back pocket of Tatac’s shorts.

The sachet of shabu he sold to Tabor later tested positive, with a weight of 0.127 gram.

In his defense, Tatac said he had invited Tabor to a drinking session at Sto. Domingo, agreeing to meet in front of the school.

He claimed that the fight between them began over Tabor’s recalling Tatac’s “atraso” and that the bills that were recovered with his gadgets were planted. He denied that he was engaged in the illegal sale of drugs and that he saw the drugs with Tabor.

The Court, however, said Dun Hill’s denial could not prevail over the SMS messages extracted from his cellphone particularly on April 7, 2014 when he and Tabor exchanged messages, among them Tabor’s text messages – “Pre kuha po ako .8 pre 3500lamang begay m begyan lg man kta saro patos at 1 hunrd pre.”

“These SMS messages sent by Ernesto and received by the cellular phone seized from Dun Hill proved that, indeed, Dun Hill transacted with Ernesto for the sale of illegal drugs at 12:04:02 PM of April 7, 2014 and they agreed to meet at the corner of Sto. Cristo,” Judge Contreras stressed.

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