Just a week after a Virac resident was given life imprisonment and a P500,000.00 fine as penalty for selling shabu, two more men arrested in a buy-bust operation in 2011 received the same harsh punishment from the Regional Trial Court.
Diody “Judas” Matienzo Vargas of Danicop and Luis Arvin “Luak” Clarianes Vargas of Sta. Elena were found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of transporting and selling dangerous drugs.
Information filed before the Court stated that in the afternoon of Oct. 6, 2011, the intelligence section of the Catanduanes Police Provincial Office received information from an informant that Diody, a suspected drug dealer in the police watch list, had an undetermined volume of shabu for distribution. In coordination with the Virac police, a buy-bust operation was prepared, with PO1 Elino Montemayor designated as poseur-buyer.
The informant contacted Diody, who said that the buyer should wait for him in front of the Catanduanes State Colleges. Diody arrived at area at around 6:15 PM., with the informant following 15 minutes later and introducing PO1 Montemayor as the buyer. Diody told them to wait as his companion would bring the shabu.
Luis Arvin arrived on board a motorcycle at 6:45 P.M. and handed two plastic sachets to Diody, who gave it to the poseur-buyer and received in return the marked money composed of two genuine P100 bills and four other photocopied bills.
When policemen positioned nearby moved to arrest the duo, Diody ran away and jumped into the “kankungan” near the Araojo building before he was arrested. A body search turned up the marked money from Diody’s back pocket, aside from other items from both men.
During the trial. Diody claimed that he was once a police asset, participating in six or seven operations as buyer of illegal drugs, including one conducted just outside his residence. He claimed that one Police Officer Destura had called him that a certain asset named Mitch would come to him to work on something with Ian Tayamora as the target.
It was Destura, he claimed, who told him to go to the CSC to buy shabu from Tayamora, It was Ian who sent Luak, who handed over the shabu to the informant, Philip Trinidad, just seconds before the police rushed in. He also alleged that the marked money was given by PO1 Jick Zafe to PO1 Montemayor, who placed them in Diody’s pocket.
Diody’s wife, Rowena, also testified that it was PO1 Montemayor who searched her husband while lying prone on the ground and that the policeman’s hand stayed in her husband’s pocket for more than five minutes.
On the other hand, Luis insisted that he was just passing by on his motorcycle and parked to buy “kikiam” when someone went beside him and asked him to alight from his motorcycle, pulling him to sit beside Diody.
In her decision, RTC Branch 42 Acting Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras stated that the duo’s admission that there was an exchange of items at the CSC parking area confirmed the testimony of PO1 Montemayor.
Destura, who was not a prosecution witness but was called to the stand by the judge, confirmed that indeed Diody was a police asset but his services were terminated after an intelligence report disclosed that he was active in selling drugs. The policemen denied communicating with Diody, who he declared was the main target and not Tayamora.
The Court also pointed out inconsistencies in the statements of Rowena, who insisted that Montemayor was the one who searched Diody and not PO1 Zafe, who was the actual searcher. Luis, on the other hand, was pinpointed as the one who brought the shabu and handed it over to Diody, showing his participation in the crime, it stated.
Under Section 5 of Republic Act 9165, the trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs is punishable by a penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000.00 to P10 million.