Conviction of cops protecting La Union drug lab affirmed

MANILA, Philippines – The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the decision of a lower court that found two policemen as protectors of a shabu laboratory in La Union province.

However, the decision penned by Associate Justice Jhoseph Lopez of thee CA’s 15th division, lowered the penalty for Police Superintendent Dionicio Borromeo and PO3 Joey Abang to 12 to 20 years, and ordered them to pay a fine of P500,000.

The Regional Trial Court of Bauang, La Union, originally sentenced Borromeo – a former Dagupan City police chief – and police officer Abang to life imprisonment.

In the 45-page decision, to which justices Ramon Garcia and Leoncia Dimagiba, the CA’s division said the suspects’ guilt over protecting a shabu laboratory in a vacant lot in Naguilian was established beyond reasonable doubt before the lower court.

Borromeo and Abang violated Section 8, Article II, of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act Law, the decision said.

The appellate court gave credence to the testimony of prosecution witness Dante Tomas Palaganas. A caretaker of the shabu laboratory, he said Borromeo ordered him to look for a lot where he could build a piggery. 

The property was used as shabu laboratory, and the witness was forced to keep an eye on its operations.

“Although Palaganas testified in court that unidentified 4 Chinese nationals were the ones who cooked shabu on 4 separate occasions, he also testified that accused-appellant P/Supt Borromeo used his influence, power, and position to preserve the clandestine nature of the conduct of manufacturing of shabu," the decision read. –