Magkatabi na! Marcaida joins ex-gov Joel Reyes in Puerto Princesa city jail

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Arrested Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III is now a high-profile detainee of the Puerto Princesa City Jail after he was sent there late Wednesday afternoon.

City jail spokesperson Marlito Anza, in an interview on Thursday, said Marcaida, apprehended in a drug raid, was transferred around 5:45 p.m. after a commitment order released by Executive Judge Angelo Arizala of the Palawan Regional Trial Court (RTC).

“He was committed to the PPCJ, and as usual he underwent our commitment process upon verification of transfer documents. We received him, his mugshots were taken, he underwent jail booking, and orientation from our staff,” Anza said.

Anza said Marcaida will stay in the same detention cell where former Palawan governor Joel Reyes is also locked up.

“The city jail is now congested. There is no more available cell that we can give Vice Mayor Marcaida. Since he is justified in our security classification as high profile detainee, there is one detention cell that we have set aside for them and our former governor is also detained there,” Anza said.

Only Marcaida and Reyes are inside the high profile detention cell, according to the jail spokesperson.

Anza added that while in detention, Marcaida will only be allowed to receive three visitors per hour, will eat the same meals as the other inmates, and will generally follow the same protocol implemented on the rest of the detainees.

As a high profile detainee, Marcaida will be provided with an extra layer of security for his safety, and this will be based on their existing jail protocol, he said.

“Policy on visitation says an inmate can be visited by three family members at a time. We have a lot of inmates in the city jail, and security would be difficult if we allow all to come in,” he said.

Lilian Alulod, who is Marcaida’s close-in secretary, said Thursday morning that the “drug selling charge” against the vice mayor has been dropped since the 30 sachets of suspected shabu was never confiscated from him because of a buy-bust operation.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Marcaida’s wife Monette and their three children, Ramon Louie, 22; Luther King, 20; and Mary Abigail, 16, denied that the vice mayor is a drug user, pusher, and protector as they recounted how the raid was conducted by a joint team of PNP Drug Enforcement Group (PNP DEG) and Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority Special Enforcement Service (PDEA SES).

Accompanied by Lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, eldest son Ramon Louie narrated that men wearing civilian clothes and face masks forcefully opened their house door around 3:30 or 3:40 a.m. of September 4.
“I was woken up by my sibling and told me that there is a raid going on, and our door is being forcibly opened. I told my father to just stay in the bedroom and I would open the door because I fear for him knowing about extra-judicial killing,” Ramon Louie said.

When he opened the door, Ramon Louie said he expected the men to show him a search warrant but they did not present any.

“What they did was to immediately drag me out of our house, (was) ordered to kneel, and then lay on the ground with my face on the cement, and was told to stay put,” he said.

More men entered their house, adding he cannot clearly see with his face down. He heard that the uniformed policemen went up the second floor and yelled at his parents and siblings to also lie on the floor face down.

He said the media, the barangay officials, and other members of the raiding team were never there when their house was forcibly entered. They arrived only after nearly half an hour later.

“They only arrived when all of us were already brought outside. Per my estimate, as I was not wearing my watch then, maybe around 25-30 minutes. When we were all outside, that was the time the search warrant was read,” he said.

Monette said it is impossible that her husband will keep rifle grenades in their living room because the space is always full with people and friends of their children.

She said the sachets of suspected shabu, found behind picture frames in a small corridor near the bathroom, were not owned by the vice mayor too.
“We were confident that there were no drugs, no explosives inside our house that is why my husband did not join the raiding team in searching. In less than 10 minutes, when they entered, they already found the drugs in our ‘sala’ (living room), and those explosives on our sofa. People who have gone to our house knew that it is a place for them, a public area opened to them who are in need. Our family’s private area is the second floor so, why would my husband keep drugs and explosives there?” Monette said in tears.

Topacio said legally, he will check the circumstances of the case with Lawyer Paul Lagwatan, who will handle the cases for Marcaida because of the raid.

“We will lay the ground work and interview the witnesses while their memories are fresh in their minds. These witnesses are even ready to go under lie detector tests. They should all undergo lie detector tests, even the raiding team,” Topacio said.

He added that they need to take care of the procedural aspect first, which is the filing of information in court.

“If it is done, and the commitment order is issued, then we can ask for remedy as called for by the circumstances. Right now, I cannot say because it is our first day. Later, we will be in the process of interviewing witnesses,” he said. (PNA)