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Rehab graduate convicted for drugs

VIRAC, Catanduanes – A fish screener learned a costly lesson when after graduating from a community-based treatment and drug rehabilitation program here less than two months ago, he would have to suffer more after a regional trial court judge meted him a minimum of 12 years imprisonment for possession of dangerous shabu drugs during a police raid at his residence more than three years ago.

Presiding Judge Lelu P. Contreras of the Regional Trial Court Branch 45 here on October 15, handed down a decision convicting Argie Gurrubat Sales, a lapu-lapu fish screener of Palumbanes island, Caramoran town, this province involving 10, sachets of shabu drugs, 28 empty plastic sachets of shabu, drug paraphernalia, and other items related to drug use found at his residence in June 2016. The raid was covered by a search warrant issued by the court.

According to court records, a copy of which was obtained over the weekend only, the accused claimed that the drugs found at his residence were planted by the police. It contradicted the text messages obtained from his seized cellphone during the raid, showing text messages from his wife supposedly giving him reminders and information about the planned police raid, including the physical evidences presented by the prosecution. The accused did not deny during the trial that the text messages shown in his cell phone came from his wife.

Judge Contreras also ordered the accused to pay a fine of P300,000.

Catanduanes media practitioner Janilyn V. Rima, said she was the journalist asked by the raiding police team to accompany them during the raid at the residence of Sales. The accused was allowed by the court to post a P240,000 worth of bail for his temporary liberty.

A drug dependency examination on the suspect also showed him positive of drug. He admitted using shabu since 2014, once a week, costing him P300 per session.

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