CA upholds life term on Chinese nabbed in buy-bust

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    THE Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court decision imposing life imprisonment on a Chinese arrested in a buy-bust operation in Makati City in 2017 where 2.8 kilos of alleged shabu worth P3 million were seized.

    The decision, promulgated last February 2, said Shi Jianjia’s defense of denial and frame-up failed to impugn or weaken the prosecution’s case against him that eventually led to his conviction by Branch 63 of the Makati City RTC last May 2019.

    Shi was identified in court proceedings as one “engaged in the smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs in the Philippines.”

    He was arrested by anti-drug operatives in December 2018 Baranga Pio del Pilar in Makati, where two plastic packs containing the illegal drugs were recovered.

    After his conviction by the Makati RTC, Shi elevated the case to the CA where he denied ownership of the illegal drugs seized.

    He said the police failed to follow the chain of custody procedures cited in the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and that the identity of the plastic packs was not established because the arresting officers failed to weight them before turning it over to the crime laboratory for examination.

    Associate Justice Fernanda Lampas Peralta dismissed his alibi and denial as she stressed the prosecution showed the chain of custody of evidence was not broken.

    Aside from upholding the life imprisonment, the appellate court also affirmed the Makati RTC’s ruling ordering Shi to pay a fine of P500,000.

    Concurring with the decision were Associate Justices Zenaida Galapate-Laguilles and Carlito Calpatura