Vice Mayor Luis Marcaida III was transferred to the City Jail on Wednesday afternoon, a day after he was arrested following a raid on his residence where authorities said they found sachets of shabu, firearms and explosives.
PSupt. Ronnie Bacuel of the City PNP said Marcaida was committed to the regular detention facility to await the preliminary investigation of his case, after signing a waiver to facilitate the legal procedure.
Marcaida told Palawan News before he was brought out of the City PNP headquarters for a mandatory health examination at the City Health Office that it was his own choice to be transferred to the city jail after conferring with his lawyer.
“Choice ko naman ito. Pero okay naman ang treatment sa akin dito,” said Marcaida.
PSupt. Ronnie Bacuel, in a phone interview, said that it is Marcaida’s right to retract his waiver signed in front of the fiscal with the approval of his counsel.
“Karapatan niya ‘yun. Kasi ‘yung ginawa ng fiscal na pagpapa-pirma sa kanyang waiver, personal choice niya din na magkaroon ng preliminary investigation,” said Bacuel.
In a press conference held on Wednesday morning by his family and attended by his counsel Atty. Ferdinand Topacio, Marcaida’s wife and children recounted the raid conducted by members of the PNP Drug Enforcement Group (DEG) and denied the confiscated items belonged to them.
According to Ramon Marcaida, eldest son of Luis, masked men forcibly barged inside their house while they were pinned down at gunpoint before other police and barangay officials arrived to served them a search warrant.
The eldest son said the men arrived at around 3:30 in the morning and dragged him outside their house while his family was ordered to lay face down on the 2nd floor of their residence.
“Pagkagising ko sinabihan ko ‘yung tatay ko na ‘diyan ka na muna, ako na magbubukas ng pinto. Natakot po ako na si Papa ang magbukas kasi baka may masamang mangyari,” said Ramon.
He also added that without presenting any warrant or legal documents, two men in uniforms bodily dragged him outside and ordered him to kneel down and lay flat on the ground. After that, more men came in and went up on the second floor of the house, where his father and the rest of their family were.
“May mga pumasok nang ibang tao, hindi ko na makita kung anong suot, kasi nga natatanaw ko lang na pumapasok sila. Umakyat sila sa taas at pinapadapa yung pamilya ko, apat silang pinadapa sa taas,” said Ramon.
Ramon said it took about 30 minutes before uniformed police officials, accompanied by local barangay officials and a television crew arrived and presented to them the search warrant.
“Dumating ‘yung media nung nailabas na kami lahat. Siguro, tantiya ko lang, mga 25-30 minutes bago dumating. Tapos ang pamilya ko bago nailabas ng bahay. Nung nasa labas na kaming lahat, saka lang binasa sa amin ‘yung search warrant. Doon lang binasa sa amin,” Ramon said.
He said that he was sure that there were still men inside their house when they were all forced to go out by the authorities.
“May tao sa loob ng bahay nung nasa labas na kaming lahat,” said Ramon.
“’Yung naunang raiding team, ‘yung nag-raid na pumipilit pumasok, walang binasa sa’min, walang pinakitang papel, bigla lang akong hinatak. ‘Yung nagbasa po sa’min yung chief nila, ng DEG. Rigor po yata,” said Ramon.
Monette Marcaida, wife of Luis, said that there were lapses made during the raid and that the authorities failed to respect them as human beings.
“Sabi nila “search ito,” pero wala namang pinapakita sa’min o binabasa sa’min. Ni hindi nga namin natanong kung anong hahanapin sa bahay namin. Basta ako umiiyak nalang tapos sabi ko “bakit ninyo kami ginaganito?,”said Monette.
She also said that when she and her family were brought outside of the house, authorities banned any of them from getting in and that it took a while before she also noted the presence of media and barangay official.
“Sa tingin ko parang mas nauna ang media bago ‘yung barangay officials. Tinanong ko din si Kapitan Gumangan, hindi din daw nila alam bago lang din daw sila pinatawag,” said Monette.
She said that they were waiting outside for the official search team and that authorities banned any of them from getting inside. She insisted that the drug sachets and explosives that were recovered during the raid were not there before.
“’Yung panahon na naghihintay pa lang kami, ang hinihintay pala namin ay ‘yung mga searching team na papasok dun sa loob. Pagpasok nila, siguro 10 minutes lang, nakakita agad ng shabu doon lang sa sala namin. Ganoon karami. Mga naka-pack. At ‘yung mga bombs at grenade sa sofa lang nakapatong,” said Monette.
She said the area where the explosives were supposed to have been found serves as his husband’s reception area for visitors and his constituents.
“Iyang area na ‘yan ay public area para sa’min. Pati mga barkada at schoolmates ng mga anak ko halos diyan minsan natutulog sa area na ‘yan. Diyan sila nagtatambay. So papano ninyo iisipin na ‘yung asawa ko ay maglalagay ng bomba na ikapapahamak ng mga anak niya o nung sinumang uupo dun sa sofa?” said Monette.
Monette also said the box containing P280,000 and a list of names were their personal savings placed inside a safety deposit box in their room, which the police ordered her husband to open.
“Iyong listahan ay hindi si mayor ang naglista nun, ‘yung secretary n’ya. Kasi minsan kapag nagsu-suweldo siya meron siyang scratch paper na nakalagay mga pangalan, mga binayarang utang, nililista nila ‘yan (secretary) tapos yan ‘yung binibigay nila kay mayor,” said Monette.
Topacio, who serves as counsel for Marcaida, claimed the raid violated established procedures on the serving of an arrest warrant.
“Ang aim ng search ay transparency. So dito nawala yung transparency. Kasi may pumasok na iba bago ‘yung searching team. Dapat ‘yung searching team ang unang papasok in the instance na mayroong mga witnesses to make sure na wala silang mailalagay doon. Which, hindi nasunod in this case,” said Topacio.