A Dutchman and his Filipina girlfriend have been arrested in Coron, Palawan, on suspicion of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Noel Paulus Joseph Gossens, aged 46, and Cecile Villar Romasanta, 38, were arrested by officers from Coron Municipal Police Station on Tuesday (April 16).
The pair were taken into custody following a raid on their residence in the Sitio Mabentangen neighbourhood of town.
Seized were a transparent ziplock plastic containing alleged “kush” — a high-grade form of marijuana — plastic bags containing suspected marijuana seeds, an improvised metal smoking pipe, an improvised bamboo smoking pipe and a metal grinder.
According to the Palawan News, the police report also specifies the seizure of “a disposable lighter and bamboo stick”.
The Dutchman and his partner face charges under section 11 (possession of dangerous drugs) of Republic Act 9165. If found guilty of possessing more than five grams of the drug, the couple could face life imprisonment. Possession of even a lesser amount is punishable by a prison term of 12 to 20 years and fine of up to 400,000 pesos.
However, Philippine police have been known to confuse innocuous substances with illegal drugs. Last December we reported how a Swiss man was arrested in Panglao for possession of a single marijuana plant. However, police were later forced to admit that the potted-plant belonging to Maik Kruesi was not in fact cannabis. The 32-year-old was later released from custody without charge.
Other foreigners are not so fortunate. Last month we reported on the case of Eanna O’Cochlain, aged 53, who lost a Supreme Court action to overturn his conviction of possessing less than a gram of marijuana. Mr O’Cochlain was caught with .38 grams of marijuana at Laoag City Airport in 2013.
The Irishman has strenuously denied the charge against him. As we previously reported, the nurse from County Cork claims he was asked to pay a bribe after the drugs were apparently discovered in a cigarette packet.
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