SIQUIJOR – The Regional Trial Court of Larena, Siquijor, presided over by pairing judge, Neciforo C. Enot, had on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, dismissed the charges filed against Capt. Danny Lozada and his father, former Bgy. Capt Eugenio Lozada for illegal possession of firearms. The case arose from a search warrant that was executed at the residence of the barangay captain on May 11, 2013, just two (2) days from the midterm elections that year. The search warrant was issued by Judge Ananson Jayme of the Bayawan City RTC. The operation was widely believed to have been directly ordered by no less than President Benigno Aquino III himself. It issued upon an application filed by police officers to search for high powered firearms and explosives at the residence of the Barangay Captain.
The warrant was implemented by a composite team led by P/Insp. Reynaldo Valmoria, (ret .), a member of the Siquijor PNP in the dead of dawn on May 11, 2013. The dismissal order cited serious irregularities in the procurement of the search warrant. In the main, it consisted of the perjured claim of the implementing officers that the barangay captain and his family were in possession of high powered firearms and explosives.
The presiding judge of the RTC, Alejandro Bahonsua, Jr. had inhibited from hearing the case, causing it to drag for four (4) years until Judge Neciforo Entor took over it this year.
To recall, one of the issues raised in the case was the timing of the search’ implementation in the proximity of the May 13, 2013 elections. Quoting the pleadings of Brgy. Captain Lozada, he challenged the legitimacy of the operation as a way to cow the leaders of the Lakas CMD into submission and keep them away from vouchsafing the votes of their followers. He said that such an incident has not happened even in the Martial Law years, where his father Capt. Eugenio Lozada, now in his eighties, was ardently in the fight against the Marcos regime. His father was then a party leader of the LP in Siquijor during the time.
He added that it is an irony how in the term of President Benigno Noynoy Aquino, III, son of the widely touted icon of democracy Cory Aquino, a precious democratic right as the right to suffrage was mercilessly debased.
Judge Neciforo Enot had termed the objects recovered from the search as fruits of the poisonous tree and could not be admitted against the accused, necessitating the dismissal of the case. Close associates of the barangay captain has hailed the ruling as a triumph of justice and as a castigation of the proclivities of the LP in its heyday.
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