Viracnon gets life imprisonment for using bedroom as drug den
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For using his bedroom as a drug den, a resident of Virac has been sentenced to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500,000.

In its decision issued the other Monday (Sept. 23, 2019), the Regional Trial Court also found Jose Rey “Kano” Candelaria guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal possession of dangerous drugs and drug paraphernalia.

He was meted an additional imprisonment of as much as 16 years and to pay another P310,000 in fines.

The three criminal cases filed against Candelaria arose from the June 24, 2016 implementation of a search warrant issued by RTC Branch 43 Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras.

Elements of the Virac police station and the Provincial Special Operations Group led by Inspector Darwin Sevilla served the warrant on Candelaria at 2:03 A.M. that day in front of the family residence in barangay Capilihan.

In a search of his bedroom, the police found four plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance that tested positive for shabu with a total weight of 0.219 gram.

The police also seized as evidence several non-drug items such as rolled aluminum foil, handcuffs, six cellphones, lighters and scissors, P2,400 cash, 47 pieces of crumpled aluminum foil, six improvised tooters, four improvised flame adjusters, empty sachets, two improvised bamboo sealers, 10 plastic sachets with white residue, foil strips, paper bags containing empty and unused sachets, a black pouch containing P7,920 cash, and a plastic bag with 12 cut portions of plastic sachets with residue.

Also recovered from inside his sister’s bedroom was a canister containing two empty medium-sized sachets and four sachets with residue.

During the trial, prosecution witnesses testified that the bamboo floor of the accused’s bedroom had a wooden handle which, when lifted, opened to reveal a square-shaped opening big enough to allow a person to get inside the room from underneath the floor which was about a meter off the ground.

In his defense, Candelaria denied having possessed the drug items and drug paraphernalia despite the media witness’ categorical statement that during the search, the accused kept on crying and admitted owning the items. The barangay chairman, Jocelyn Avila, also averred that Kano even apologized to her for using the barangay.

The Court, however, was not convinced, noting that his involvement in illegal drug activities is revealed by the text messages recovered from his cellphone.

One message, sent by “Guying” (09070332408), stated: “Padi makadala ka uya sa bato 1500 ikowa.”

Another, sent by “Galog” (09090489151), said: “pare tbi papnta na dto ung tropa tbi pare ma global ung pinanalo q sa cav2 tbi pare makua daw tbi .4 1750 lang daw pre samahan u tabi lata.”

“The enormous object evidence…clearly shows that, indeed, shabu was ingested or administered in the house of the accused, particularly inside his bedroom,” Judge Contreras noted. “Among these seized items are the 25 pieces of cut portions of transparent plastic sachets of different sizes containing white residue and 47 pieces of crumpled aluminum foil, which indubitably prove that Kano could not have ingested shabu all by himself.”

The voluminous drug paraphernalia and dangerous drugs found inside Kano’s room, plus the information from PI Sevilla’s confidential informant and PB Avila’s testimony as to the reputation of Kano, are clear proofs that, indeed Kano maintained his house, particularly his bedroom, as a drug den, which provided an easy and convenient access to anyone who wanted to enter without going through the main door of the house, thus eluding detection by the other occupants, the Court concluded.


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