The Regional Trial Court last week sentenced a Virac resident to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500,000.00 for selling shabu to a poseur-buyer in a buy-bust operation conducted by the police in November 2013.
In decision handed down last Friday (March 10), RTC Branch 42 Acting Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras found Samuel “Tamenz” Besa Jr. guilty of selling the dangerous drug in violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act 9165.
The prosecution had claimed that at noon of Nov. 26, 2013, a Danicop resident sent an text message to Besa inquiring if he had shabu. When Besa replied positively, the buyer informed the police, which then planned the buy-bust operation to be conducted right in front of the Besa residence in barangay Salvacion.
The team secured a tricycle-for-hire which was driven by PO1 Francis Bercilla, while poseur-buyer Benjo Valeza rode a passenger. While enroute, Valeza sent a text message to Besa stating that he wanted to buy shabu.
It took about five minuted before Besa came out of the house and conversed with Valeza, who handed over a genuine P500 bill and 10 photocopied P500 bills to Besa in exchange for a small sachet of shabu. When Valeza made a hand signal, PO1 Bercilla alighted from the tricycle and tried to arrest Besa.
Besa, however, noticed him and tried to escape, accidentally running into a steel light post. As the lawman struggled to hold Besa, three other lawmen emerged from hiding and finally subdued Besa, who complained of breathing difficulty.
The team recovered the buy-bust money, which had fallen to the ground together with the target’s cap and Sony Portable Play Station when Besa collided with the post. According to the police, a commotion ensued as residents came and tried to intervene in the operation.
In denying having dealt in illegal drugs with the poseur-buyer on that day, Besa claimed that he went out of the house to buy food when he saw someone in front of his house who introduced himself as BJ. He alleged that when BJ put his arm on his shoulders, a man went out of the tricycle and chased him.
Besa said he fell down and shouted for help as four persons pulled him to prevent him from entering the gate.
His father, Samuel Besa Sr., also claimed when he heard shouting outside the house, he went out and saw his namesake son being mauled by three persons. He identified himself as a member of the PNP Media Corps but the policemen ignored him, quoting them as saying, “Daing media-media samo.”
In her decision, Judge Contreras noted that Samuel’s admission that Benjo indeed inquired from him if he had shabu proved that he had prior dealings in drugs with Benjo.
The Court also cited conflicting and inconsistent statements of father and son, especially the elder Besa’s claim that his son was mauled, as nothing in the medical certificate showed injuries from mauling, punching, kicking and boxing. The hematoma on Besa Jr.’s forearm and breast could have been caused by pressure exerted on his arm by PO1 Bercilla as well as his bumping the steel post, while the scratches on his chest may have been caused by his falling on the ground.