Woman caught in 2014 raid acquitted of all four charges
posted 28-Aug-2019  ·  
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The Regional Trial Court has quashed four criminal charges filed against a woman who were accused along with seven others in an anti-drug raid in Virac five years ago.

In granting the demurrer to evidence filed by defense counsel Atty. Maria Theresa Balagtas-Gupo, RTC Branch 42 Presiding Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada dismissed the cases filed against Katria Ciaa Crucilo Pateña for maintenance of a drug den, illegal possession of ammunitions, illegal possession of drug paraphernalia, and illegal possession of dangerous drugs.

The Court stated that the prosecution failed to categorically establish that Pateña was in possession of an M-16 bullet and slug, the 16 small sachets of shabu with a total weight of 0.384 gram, and various drug paraphernalia.

The prosecution also failed to present a witness that could establish that she maintained the place searched as a drug den, as it relied only on the drugs and paraphernalia as evidence.

Notably, it failed to prove that Katria Ciara resided at the house and thus she had no right to exercise dominion and control over the place, the Court stressed, adding that the search warrant itself made no assertion that the house was a drug den.

A member of the police searching team, PO1 Richard Pereyra, testified that he had no idea as to the relationship of the accused to the Molina family who occupied the house at Gogon Centro.

Two barangay officials, including chairman Eliseo Frontuna, also told the Court that they did not know Pateña, she was not in the list of residents of the barangay, and that no drugs or drug paraphernalia were found on her during the search.

The four cases arose from the search warrant implemented by joint elements of the Virac police and the Catanduanes police provincial office on Nov. 6, 2014, during which target Reciel “Butch” Molina and members of his family initially resisted the entry of the authorities.

Arrested during the operation were Reciel, Rene Molina Sr., Marijun Molina, Rene Molina Jr., Reciel’s live-in partner Katria Ciara Pateña, and two others.

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