Court sets trial on Nova Parojinog’s drug cases

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    A QUEZON City court has junked the petition for demurrer of evidence filed by former Ozamiz city vice mayor Nova Princess Parojinog and instead set a trial date to hear the drug charges filed against the former city executive.

    Judge Mitushealla Manzanero-Carino of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 228 ordered the defense team to start presenting their evidence on March 17 at 8:30 in the morning.

    A demurrer to evidence is a plea to dismiss a case due to weak evidence presented by the prosecution.

    In her plea, Parojinog said the policemen that conducted the operation committed numerous violations, including the fact that even before the search warrant was presented, an advance team already entered and secured her house, thereby invalidating and compromising the entire search and seizure operations.

    She also challenged the sufficiency of the evidence presented by the prosecution, and questioned the integrity of the chain of custody of the evidence seized by the police, saying there was no proper marking of the evidence.

    The court dismissed Parojinog’s arguments and ruled that there was no evidence presented that showed that the presence of the advance team inside her house compromised the search and seizure operations.

    “Absent proof that the presence of the advance team in the house of the accused gave the police officers the opportunity to plant evidence as to the defense claims, the Court has no basis to conclude that the search warrant was not properly implemented,” Manzanero-Carino ruled.

    As to Parojinog’s claim that the arresting officers broke the chain of custody of evidence, the Court said the defense failed to substantiate its claim that there was bad faith or improper motive on the part of the police officers.

    Parojinog and her brother, Reynaldo Parojinog Jr. were arrested in a 2017 police raid that also killed their father, Reynaldo Sr. and her wife and 12 others.

    The younger Parojinog was sentenced last year to 40 years imprisonment for illegal drugs and is now serving his sentence at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa city.

    Earlier, the court directed the transfer of Nova Parojinog’s detention from the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame to the Special Intensive Care Area, a jail facility operated by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City.