MANILA – The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has dismissed the petitions by lawyers of former Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez for the dismissal of the drug charges against her.
In a resolution released on Thursday, RTC Branch 228 Judge Mitushealla Manzanero-Casiño denied the demurrer to evidence filed by defense lawyers in connection with the drug charge for the 677.67 grams of shabu seized from her.
The lawyers requested the court to dismiss a charge alleging the weakness of the prosecution’s evidence.
“Given the sufficiency of the testimonial and documentary evidence against petitioner, it would, therefore, be premature at this stage of the proceedings to conclude that the prosecution’s evidence failed to establish the commission of the crime charged and that the accused appears to be the perpetrator thereof,” the court said in turning down Echavez’s pleading.
The court also argued that it cannot yet “make a categorical pronouncement that the guilt of the accused has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt”.
“As there is competent and sufficient evidence to sustain the indictment for the crime charged, it behooves the accused to adduce evidence on her behalf to controvert the prosecution,” it noted.
Another court, RTC Branch 83, where Parojinog is facing separate charges earlier ordered her transfer from Camp Crame to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-run Special Intensive Care (SICA) jail in Bicutan, Taguig City.
Echavez is facing illegal drugs and firearms possession charges in connection with a raid by the police on July 30, 2017, against her, her father, former city mayor Reynaldo Parojinog Sr., and uncle, councilor Ricardo “Ardot” Parojinog, for reportedly storing guns in their houses.
The operation resulted in the death of 15 persons, including Parojinog Sr., and his wife. (ia/PNA)