Court orders release of Fliptop rapper Loonie on P2M bail after doubting police testimony, compliance with rules
Finding the arresting officer’s testimony to be unreliable and doubting the police’s compliance with the rules on evidence, a Makati City court has ordered the release of Fliptop rapper Loonie on a P2-million bail after four months in detention.
In a recent 10-page order, Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 150 Judge Elmo Alameda held that the evidence was not strong enough to justify depriving Loonie, or Marlon Peroramas in real life, of provisional liberty pending his trial for the serious crime of drug trading.
The court said the testimony of Police Corporal Jan Kirby Vigilia, the only witness presented by the prosecution, was “full of inconsistencies and contradictions,” making his version of the events hard to believe.
This meant the prosecution failed to “discharge its burden of proof” to show it has a strong case against Loonie to meet the exception to the constitutional right of an accused to bail.
The court also cited the police’s apparent failure to follow the procedures required by Section 21 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act to establish the “chain of custody” over the 15 sachets of high-grade marijuana (worth P100,000) which were allegedly seized during a buybust operation in a Poblacion hotel on September 18.
The court noted the absence of the witnesses required by the anti-drug law, such as the suspects’ counsels, any elected official and representatives of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the media, during the operation.
This was despite “having a very long opportunity to contact them before said operations from 2-3 pm to 8:40 pm when the operatives were just waiting for the accused.”
It stressed the importance of the presence of the witnesses to guarantee “against planting of evidence and frame-up.”
Loonie applied for bail on October 23, a month after he, his sister and manager Idyll Liza Peroramas, his assistant Ivan Agustin and his driver Albert Alvarez were arrested.
The rapper denied that the marijuana, the money and the cellphone allegedly seized in the operation belonged to him. His fans clamored for his release through the hashtag #FREELOONIE.