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DOJ clears Marcelino in drug, gun ban raps

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has dismissed the criminal complaints filed against Marine Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino who was busted in a drug raid last January.

On Tuesday, Prosecutor General Claro Arellano confirmed that both the gun ban and illegal drug charges lodged against Marcelino were dismissed, respectively, by handling Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva and Assistant State Prosecutor Michael John Humarang.

In his resolution, Villanueva reommended the dismissal of the case "for insufficiency of evidence without prejudice to whatever evidence the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police would again submit to corroborate their complaint."

Also cleared was Yan Yi Shou, alias Randy, a Chinese national who was arrested along with Marcelino during the drug raid.

"It is further recommended that they be released from detention unless there are other lawful cause to the contrary," read Villanueva's resolution.

Villanueva said evidence must be presented to show that Marcelino and Yan Yi had prior knowledge of what was to be found inside and what the two have decided to do with the contents of the house after opening it.

"There should be prior overt acts of exercising control, administration, possession to show dominion over the premises and to whatever is found there," the prosecutor said.

Villanueva said the arresting officers themselves have admitted to finding Marcelino just sitting on a couch without any other overt act of exercising dominion and control over the dangerous drugs which were found at the second floor of the house.

"This is an assumption that cannot sustain a conviction that requires the proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt," he added.

Marcelino, a former official of the PDEA, was arrested on January 21 during a raid in a shabu laboratory in Sta. Cruz, Manila. He claimed he was performing surveillance work when arrested.

The NBI, in two letters submitted to the DOJ, had earlier said that while Marcelino had indeed been tapped to help in the bureau's anti-illegal drugs operations, his supposed surveillance in the Manila townhouse was not among those coordinated with the NBI.

Randy had claimed he was the one who tagged along Marcelino, whom he met while an "action agent" of the PDEA, to check out the town house which he [Randy] suspected to contain illegal drugs. — RSJ, GMA News