Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Police Take Photo Ops with Marijuana User Suspect Mark Anthony Fernandez

Wazzup Pilipinas!
"Pag mahirap, patay agad dahil nanlaban.
Pag celebrity, photo ops at presscon!"
Actor Mark Anthony Fernandez, son of the late actor Rudy Fernandez and former actress Alma Moreno, was arrested Monday night, October 3, 2016, after around one kilo of marijuana was allegedly seized from him by the Angeles City police.

But the incident was not originally intended as a buy bust operation for illegal drugs against him. Chief Insp. Francisco Guevarra Jr. said Mark was flagged down at a checkpoint along Mc Arthur Hi-way in Brgy. Virgen Delos Remedios because his car had no front license plate. A car chase ensued between the actor and the authorities which led to the police firing at one of the Mustang’s front tires. The authorities said that they did not know the identity of the suspect until they caught the actor in San Fernando City.

The actor is currently detained at the Station 6 of the Angeles City police in Pampanga. There is no bail allowed for suspects caught with 500 grans and above marijuana.

However, there seems to be some conflicting statements coming from Mark. 

At first, it seems he confirmed the presence of the 1 kilo marijuana, but later he is saying that he only has a small amount and that the 1 kilo was planted in his car by the police.

Mark admitted to using marijuana but said it's for medical purposes only specifically to prevent cancer.

Mark faces violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Also, some photos of Mark with some police women became viral over social media showing how they took photo ops with the actor. Many have criticized that it was highly unbecoming of the police to have done such acts as if being starstruck and giving special treatment to the actor.

The police also organized a press conference with the actor without any legal counsel representing the actor.

"There were posts shared about the inadmissibility of Mark Fernandez's admissions in reply to questions propounded by police officers during a press conference. These were done in violation of the Miranda doctrine (Art. III, Sec. 12, 1987 Constitution) which mandates that he should have been assisted by counsel. 
However, Mark Fernandez made the same admissions when he was asked by Media (which is not an agent of the state) about the incident involving him, a check point, a car chase with the police, and a kilogram's worth of marijuana found in his possession. 
Does the Miranda rights doctrine, as well as the exclusionary rule, cover confessions made to Media outlets? If not, are there legal safeguards (domestic law or international law) which protect suspects from making declarations against their interest brought about by the oftentimes mis/leading prodding by Media practitioners?"

Mark backtracked his earlier statement that he bought a kilo of it for P15,000.

"Nung hinuhuli po ako, nakita ko po, pinatong sa kotse ko [iyong marijuana]. Bibilhin ko pa lang, titingnan ko pa lang, pero hindi ko pa nabibili, or hindi pa ako desididong bilhin, pero nilagay po sa kotse ko [I have yet to buy the marijuana block when they arrested me. They just put it in my car]," he said.
The police has since denied Fernandez's claims.

"We stood with our spot report that there's no such thing that this marijuana was planted to him. First and foremost, we don't have any reason for him para i-plant itong marijuanasa kanya. Secondly, kung makikita mo kasi pinaigting talaga namin ang police operation namin. Again, it was a chance arrest," Pampanga Regional Police head, Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino said.

Though there is still no official bill legalizing it yet, using marijuana for medicinal purposes is allowed. However, one must first secure a special permit from the FDA to avoid legal conflicts.

The bills filed in the Senate and House of Representatives to legalize cannabis are still in limbo, but groups or individuals who want to use marijuana for medicinal purposes may apply for a special permit from the FDA.

Marijuana use has been decriminalized in some countries like Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico, albeit the possession and sale still come with restrictions. Colombia, for example, sets the limit at 22 grams for personal use and 20 plants for cultivation.

Certain states in the US also recently approved the medical use of marijuana.

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