By NITZ ARANCON
A REGIONAL judge has slapped a former provincial board member and his brother with a life imprisonment sentence for possession of over 50 grams of shabu.
Judge Gil Bollozos of the 21st branch of the Regional Trial Court here sentenced brothers Michael and Porferio Roa Jr. to suffer life imprisonment after they were caught with shabu during a raid in Barangay 5, Balingasag town in Misamis Oriental in late 2016.
The raid was carried out by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) at the house of Michael, a lawyer and a former member of Misamis Oriental’s legislature, based on a search warrant issued by regional Judge Mirabeaus Undalok in Gingoog City.
The two Roas are siblings of former Balingasag mayor Marietta Abogado. Their father Porferio Sr. had also served as town mayor and member of the provincial board.
Aside from the life imprisonment sentences, Bollozos also slapped the Roa brothers with an P800-thousand fine or P400 thousand each.
Judge Bollozos also convicted Porferio Jr.’s son John Rey Roa or Jay-R for drug use but spared him from imprisonment. The younger Roa was ordered to undergo a minimum of six months of rehabilitation in a government facility.
The judge noted that John Rey is a “first offender.”
Bollozos have yet to decide on the case against John Rey’s partner, Justine Mae Pundavela, who absconded.
Regional state prosecutor Merlyn Uy said Pundavela was charged with drug use, bailed out and no longer showed up in court.
“Misibat, isyuhan na pud ni siya ug warrant,” Uy said.
The 17-page court decision, made public by Uy only yesterday, was signed by Judge Bollozos on Friday, July 5.
The PDEA arrested the three Roas and Pundavela during an early morning raid in Balingasag town on Nov. 10, 2016.
Based on court documents, PDEA agents seized from the former provincial board member seven sachets of shabu weighing 32.7791 grams; his brother Porferio Jr. yielded 24.8824 grams of shabu in four packs.
The court said it was clear that the brothers violated the law on drug possession or Section 11, Article II of RA 9165, otherwise known as the Compehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
The court also noted that John Rey and Pundavela were not caught with shabu but they tested positive for drug use.
A PDEA agent interviewed by this paper in 2016 said authorities saw Michael, a lawyer and former provincial board member, a “high-value target.”
The agent, who used the assumed name of “Ben Kalibre” due to law enforcement reasons, also alleged that Michael’s brother Porferio Jr. was known to have sold illegal drugs, and he was even caught by the police during an alleged drug session in Puerto, this city, in 2014.