MANILA - The highest-ranking police officer yet caught for using illegal drugs was released Friday after charges against him were downgraded to bailable offenses.
The Las Piñas City Regional Trial Court (RTC) released Police Superintendent Lito Cabamongan after posting a P240,000 bail for his temporary liberty.
Las Piñas RTC Branch 201 Judge Lorna Domingo approved his application for bail and issued an order for his release.
Cabamongan, an official assigned at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, was arrested in March for violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 amid a nationwide crackdown against illegal drugs.
Police initially charged him for violating Section 13 of the law, the possession of drugs during parties and meetings, a non-bailable offense, and also Section 14 ( possession of equipment, instrument, apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs during parties, social gatherings or meetings) and Section 15 (drug use) of the law, both bailable offenses.
The court, however, downgraded the charges to violations of Section 12 (possession of drugs and paraphernalia) and Section 15, which are both bailable.
The court further denied the prosecution's plea to consider Cabamongan's status as a senior police officer as an aggravating circumstance that would warrant bail denial.
Apart from criminal charges, Cabamongan also faces administrative cases stemming from the incident.
Early this month, Cabamongan tested positive for shabu use. The PNP Crime Lab also confirmed Cabamongan’s neuro-psychiatric evaluation pointing to "psychosis secondary to drug abuse."