The True Story of John B. Martin
By Alan C. Atkins
Over the past few years I have closely monitored a number of criminal cases brought against foreigners
and assisted, where possible, by providing busy defense attorneys with analysis of the transcripts. All of
these cases were similar in that the accused had been under pressure to pay substantial amounts of
money to have the case dropped. Most were false accusations of either attempted or actual rape, which
generally rely on one persons' word against another. Very hard to defend.
I first met John Martin when visiting Greenland's as a member of a lawn bowling team from Nomad Sports
Club, Manila. I was impressed both with the club and with John Martin, who had the courage to follow his
dream. Over the years, we developed an amicable and pleasant relationship, enjoying a quiet beer
whenever I was in Angeles City.
When I heard of his arrest and that he was being charged on dealing in shabu, (methamphetamine) I immediately knew this was
yet another case of attempted extortion. For one thing, anyone over the age of 55 years is unlikely to have
ever tried any drug. The drugs of our era were alcohol and tobacco, and with some of us, still are.
Because of these factors. I closely followed the trial. Fortunately, John's lawyer, Atty. Larry Iguidez is of
sufficient maturity to have had no hang-ups of sharing his information with me, for which I sincerely thank
him. Amazingly, there are still foreigners living in Angeles City who would like John Martin to be found
guilty. To those who feel this way, I just hope the same thing happens to you some day.
It is for these people this booklet, suggested by myself but paid for by John, has been produced. I take
responsibility for every word written. Part of our agreement was that John did not have any editorial rights.
Over the past months, I have kept in touch with John on a regular basis. I have lived with him through
times when he became terribly depressed. The mental torture he and his family have endured cannot be
put into words. His reputation has suffered almost beyond recall.
There are two messages in the John Martin story. The first is to foreigners who live here. It can happen to
you. Remain alert. Get to know your rights under the law and insist on them.
The second is to the Philippine government. Please strictly apply your laws on committing perjury and so
assist in putting a stop to an activity that will eventually kill foreign investment. If you read this case, I
believe you will see that a number of people told lies while under oath on a witness stand, yet they will not
be punished in any way.
The bulk of this book was written before the official decision. The final chapter added only after it was
handed down. Assurance is given that no editing was carried out once the decision was known.
Alan C. Atkins
Manila, November 2001
For nearly two decades, life in the Philippines had been good to John B. Martin. He had met and married a
lady from Bicol, and together they had set up a successful nursery and landscaping business in Quezon
City. The marriage produced a daughter on whom they could expend their affection. Such was their
business reputation, that when the Mimosa Resort was being constructed within the old US base of Clark,
just outside of Angeles City, John was invited to be the landscape consultant.
John got to like Angeles City, particularly the area where most foreigners congregate, Fields Avenue. He,
like many others, would enjoy the variety of nightlife on offer. He realized, however, that although the many
retired foreigners living in Angeles City also enjoyed these facilities, there was little for them to do during
the daytime. The occasional game of golf, perhaps, but for those living on a pension, it could not be
enjoyed on a daily basis. John got to thinking. What Angeles City needed was a sports club offering
activities that would appeal to the mature rather than the youth. He started to look for suitable land close to
the Fields Avenue area and found the ideal spot. A piece of land he could lease of sufficient size on which
he could put a par 3, nine hole golf course, a golf driving range, a swimming pool and, something that was
to prove not only innovative, but exceedingly popular, lawn bowling greens. He could derive income from
membership fees, monthly dues and profits from the bar and restaurant. Of course, he would first have to
persuade his wife Elvie that they sell their business in Quezon City and move to Angeles City. John's
budget indicated that finances would be tight for a couple of years, but after that it would be profitable and
Little did he know what he was getting himself into. Quite a bit of his capital, certainly more than was
budgeted, went into obtaining the mass of permits that Philippine authorities demand. He was shocked at
the many demands for "consideration" he faced. After many months of delay, he was eventually able to
commence the construction of the facilities of the club he was to name Greenland's.
He had moved into a rented house in Josefaville II subdivision, but saw little of it over that first year.
Creating his dream was a seven-day a week task. Eventually, he was in a position to solicit members and
the resulting income allowed him to increase the rate of development.
Without doubt, the major success of the club has been the lawn bowling greens. Within a very short period
of time, with only a few of the members having ever played the game before, Greenland's became
recognized as having the finest facilities in the Philippines. Within a relatively short period of time,
Greenland's were producing champions, especially among the Philippine ladies married to foreigners.
Soon, visiting teams from Hong Kong and elsewhere were adding an international atmosphere to the club,
increasing its prestige.
John Martin had his friends, but he also had his detractors. Being what could be described as a Senior
Citizen, and working seven days a week for long hours, meant that at times John didn't suffer fools gladly.
A few were slighted for sure and it is an unfortunate fact that there is nothing worse in the Philippines than
a foreigner with nothing to do all day who perceives he has been insulted.
Then, in the year 2000, the last year of the 20th century, John Martin received some very good news. He
was informed that a consortium of Hong Kong based British businessmen were interested in purchasing
Greenland's. It had not been a good year health-wise for John. He knew that he suffered a heart condition.
Elvie had also not been well, and was suffering from the strain of working in the club. John knew that he
had reached the age where he should be taking things a bit easier and dropping out of active management.
Negotiations were completed, and John left the club to pursue his other interests, including building his
dream retirement home nearby. After a lifetime of hard work, whereas he previously only had assets, he
now had cash in the bank. Life was to be easier from then on.
John B. Martin's life though, came crashing down to rubble at 7:30 in the morning on 14 June 2001, when a
number of policemen came crashing into his house armed with a search warrant. A horror story had begun,
one that can happen to any foreigner in the Philippines today.
The Fields Avenue area of Angeles City is like a small village, and as in such communities, little if anything
can be kept a secret. It was therefore public knowledge that John Martin now had cash money, that he was
relatively wealthy. Speculations as to just how much he had received for Greenland's were wild and often
far off the mark. What John Martin didn't realize was he had now become a target for extortion, the fastest
growing industry in the Philippines.
With twenty-twenty hindsight, he did receive a warning. He had befriended a retired Colonel, with
connections in the NBI and the Armed Forces Intelligence while running Greenland's. He invited the
Colonel to use the facilities whenever he wanted, and would usually host the drinks consumed.
In late April 2001, the Colonel had twice made attempts to contact John by telephone. At that time, the
Martins were on a trip to Subic Bay. Eventually, the Colonel managed to locate them and he informed John
that he needed to talk to him urgently about a matter he did not want to discuss over the telephone. John
told him that as it was urgent, that he would travel back that day, the 19th and he would be home all of the
morning of the 20th April. The Colonel informed him that he would drop by.
It was nearly lunchtime when the Colonel arrived at the Martins house. They took drinks together making
small talk, then the Colonel told John that there had been strong reports that he, John Martin, had taken
out a contract on the life of the purchaser of Greenland's. He went on to state that John should always
carry his passport with him as he was under continuous surveillance. The surveillance couldn't have been
that good as it took the Colonel two days to locate John in Subic Bay.
John was astounded at this piece of nonsense. Elvie was also astounded, and blurted out that the whole
notion was stupidity. As she pointed out, why on earth would John want the purchaser dead when he was
receiving P 2.5 million a month, with quite a number of months to go before the contract was completed? If
the purchaser was killed, then they would not receive their money.
The Colonel was surprised at this information and asked if they had proof of this. The Deed of Sale was
shown him, and he requested a copy, saying he could then fix it. The driver was dispatched to a local shop
where a photocopy was obtained that was taken away by the Colonel.
It was a hint of things to come. John Martin was unaware of the power of the forces that were to be
unleashed against him in order to separate as much money as they could from him.
It was 7:30 in the morning of Thursday, 14 June 2001, when two vehicles containing between 8 to 10 plain
clothed policemen drove through the gates of Josefaville II subdivision. For the Martin's, it promised to be
another bright day, one more day towards completing their dream home. John's daughter had already left
The two vehicles drew up outside of the Martins house and the policemen spilled out. Four of them
approached the front door, SPO4 Danilo Cadiz, PO2 Edgardo L. Javar, PO1 Aurelio Iniwan and
surprisingly P/Supt. Bernardino. Cadiz knocked, then opened the door, which was unlocked. They all
walked in and were confronted by a startled housemaid. The four walked the short distance through the
lounge to the bedroom of the Martins. The door was partly open, so Cadiz tapped, pushed it fully open and
entered together with Iniwan and Javar. John and Elvie were startled when the three entered their room, as
the men wore no clothing that would identify them as police, Elvie more so as she was only partially
dressed. Cadiz waived a piece of paper at John and told him it was a search warrant, and he wanted them
both to go to the sala. Still in a state of shock, John was bustled into the sala and introduced to P/Supt.
Bernardino, who had settled himself into a comfortable chair. He was joined by Elvie. He was given the
search warrant to read then instructed that they intended to start the search. Elvie asked permission to
telephone their attorney, Larry Iguidez, who unfortunately lived in Quezon City. Atty. Iguidez advised Elvie
to not protest the search, and that he would leave immediately for Angeles City.
SPO4 Danilo Cadiz ordered Martin to remain with him in the lounge, and for PO2 Edgardo L. Javar
together with PO1 Aurelio Iniwan to proceed along the short passageway and start searching the kitchen.
After a few minutes, there was a shout from the kitchen for Sergeant Cadiz to go there. He ushered Martin
along with him. As they entered the kitchen, PO2 Javar was triumphantly holding up a bright orange herbal
tea can, stating there were packets containing white powder inside. Cadiz immediately took photographs of
Javar holding the can and the can was handed to PO2 Iniwan, who took it in both hands and peered inside,
then to Sergeant Cadiz, who also held it with both hands before tipping the contents onto the table. Three
flat plastic packets emerged onto the table, each containing white powder. Cadiz held each one, put them
on the table and also photographed them. Cadiz carried the can and packets back to the lounge and set
them onto the coffee table. The other two continued their search of the kitchen and surrounding area and
brought a roll of aluminum foil and a pile of plastic bags to Cadiz. He then instructed them to search the
bedrooms. They found nothing in the bedroom of the Martins daughter, and then proceeded to John and
Elvie's bedroom. John Martin tentatively watched from the door. One was collecting various sums of cash
that was in drawers. Most were bundles of peso, but some dollars, both US and Hong Kong were also
found. Suddenly, Javar bent and put his hand under the mattress and withdrew a handgun. He shouted
about this while handling it and removing the cartridge chamber, which he also handled. The pair then took
these items to Sergeant Cadiz in the lounge.
Cadiz brought out a pre-printed inventory sheet and a pen, and started to list the items on the table. He
started with the three packets of shabu. First, he extracted a very small sample and conducted a simple
field test to establish that it was highly probable that the substances were shabu. Each tested positive to
this. Each package was of different size. Cadiz did not have any weighing machine; significantly neither
was one found in the house, the house of a suspected drug dealer. Cadiz picked up each packet one by
one, held each in the palm of his hand, then wrote down the estimated weights of 50 gram, 80 gram and
100 gram. He then listed the other items, all the time reminding John of the very big trouble they were now
in, it being a heinous crime carrying a death penalty. He had John Martin agree and sign the inventory
sheet. Martin admitted that if he hadn't been so shocked, he would have realized that the only purpose of
the sleeping Superintendent Bernardino, was in the hope that John would want to talk about a deal. Cadiz
then invited both John and Elvie to visit him at his headquarters. Elvie Martin telephoned the lawyer for
advice on this matter. He said he was well on his way to Angeles City and that it would look better if they
went, rather than the police return with a warrant of arrest. John B. Martin left the house at about 11:30 a.m.
of that 14 June morning, dressed in a t-shirt and pair of shorts, not then knowing that it would be the last
time he would ever be in this, his home for the previous nine years.
For those of us who have never undergone the experience, it is probably difficult to imagine the deep
shock the Martins must have been in when they entered the "Anti Illegal Drug Task Force 3" headquarters
in Angeles City. When they had woken from sleep less than five hours before, life had been happy. Within
that short space of time, they were being accused of a criminal offense classified as a heinous crime that
carried the penalty of death.
SPO4 Cadiz had laid all of the items collected from the Martins house out on desks, spreading the money
to make it appear to be a great deal. Cadiz had made a great show of actually weighing the packets
containing shabu, amazingly discovering that his "guessed" weights of each were spot-on.
Cadiz informed them that before proceeding he had to wait the arrival of his "big boss," the Senior District
Superintendent, then they would proceed to the Department of Justice to arrange the warrant of arrest on
charges for which bail is automatically denied. In the meantime, John and Elvie underwent drug testing for
which they both proved negative. As Atty. Iguidez was then present, John did agree to answer some
questions. He was asked the purpose of the plastic bags, which he patiently explained were for making
tube ice. How about the aluminum foil? A by now frustrated John explained that had they bothered to
notice, there were plates of food covered in foil in the refrigerator.
When, in the late afternoon, the Senior District Superintendent eventually arrived, he immediately began to
berate John stating that they had known about his drug dealing for a long time, then pointing to the money
spread over the table, he shouted that this had been obtained by selling drugs. John was shocked at this
performance, and very glad when the man left the premises.
He and Elvie sat patiently while Cadiz slowly typed away on an ancient manual typewriter. It was 10:00 in
the evening before he declared he was finished, but announced that it was too late in the day to present
them to the Department of Justice. They would have to sleep in the building. Although John and Elvie
accepted this, it was not strictly true. As no warrant of arrest had been obtained, legally they were free to
go home and sleep in their own bed, something that should be known by our readers.
It was hard to sleep that night. On-duty policemen did what they did every night, play noisy card games.
Elvie didn't sleep. Being a Filipina, she knew the score. She asked how much it would take to drop her from
the charges. The police wanted P 500,000, but she negotiated this down to P 250,000. The following
morning, accompanied by the police and without John's knowledge, she went to the bank, withdrew the
money and was free. When John learned of it, at first he was very angry, but upon reflection was in
agreement. At least one of them was able to take care of their daughter and business interests. It was also
doubtful if Elvie would have the mental strength to survive a long period in jail while undergoing trial. She
had learned that the police were instructed to get P 2.5 million for the charges to be dropped. Coincidental?
The magic P 2.5 million?
That morning, only John was taken to the Department of Justice. There he was ordered to be detained, not
in Angeles City Jail, but at Anti Illegal Drug Task Force 3 headquarters while the Preliminary Investigation
was being undertaken by the City Prosecutor. This was a strange decision, as the headquarters have no
facilities for prisoner detention. That evening, Elvie arrived with a folding bed for John to sleep on. He soon
discovered that the only place where sleep was possible was in the kitchen, as noisy card games went on
As has now been established, the three-week period required for Preliminary Investigation is the time when
a deal can be made with the accused. First there is the pressure of being incarcerated. The accused is
continually surrounded by men who remind him of just how much trouble he IS in and HOW very serious IS
the situation. It is the time when a cooperating fiscal can find no case to answer without being questioned
about the decision. John Martin was in no mood to deal. He was completely innocent. They were in effect,
attempting to extort money from him. "If I had paid, what guarantee did I have that they would not do it
again?" he asked.
Fortunately for John Martin, he had for many years employed the services of Atty. Larry Iguidez, a brilliant,
street-wise man. Atty. Iguidez knew his client was not going to buy his way out, so suggested that that
being the case, and as the Preliminary Investigation would go against Martin anyway, they should elect to
go straight to trial.
This advice was accepted, and John was then ordered to be detained in Angeles City jail. As is common
practice, on the way to the jail, John had to have a medical examination at the government hospital to
ensure that he had not been tortured.
John Martin knew he had a heart ailment. He had been taking medication, on and off, for years, but rarely
having a check-up with his doctor. The examining physician at the government hospital wasn't happy with
his initial examination and footnoted that Martin was to receive an immediate detailed heart examination
from a heart specialist.
From the hospital, Martin was delivered to an overcrowded Angeles City jail. Martin was frightened at first.
He had never been inside any jail, let alone one in the Philippines. When he entered, Angeles City jail
contained 320 prisoners. He admits that he was frightened and humiliated by the experience.
Martin was considered lucky, as he was allocated into the new section, which is only 5 years old, but looks
25, as it has had no maintenance. He never got to see the old section, built 35 years before, so probably
compared with that, he was in five-star. He was shocked to see that cells originally designed for two
prisoners, actually held nine. Bunk beds built against each wall held four, while five slept on the floor. One
slightly larger cell held 16, all sleeping on the floor. As he was the only white foreigner, the warden, who
was from his wife's province of Bicol, allowed him to erect his bed in the corridor at night, but sleep was
hard to come by.
First, the lights were kept blazing fully all night long. Then, at midnight, there was roll-call, which would last
for half-an-hour. Other roll-calls were made at 8:00 a.m.; midday; 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., a situation that
made having a full eight hours sleep impossible. The food was just not edible. Many prisoners had food
brought in by their families, often cooking it themselves. Martin had Elvie bring fully prepared food from
Again, having a Filipina for a wife, one who knows the system can be very helpful. Upon entry, the warden
had been given a "protection fee" of the equivalent to him of two months salary and promised a weekly fee
equivalent to two guards salary. This allowed Martin some luxuries, but not his telephone. Martin soon lost
his fear as he found that the Captain, the guards and most of the prisoners were all very friendly to him.
They believed in his innocence and told him many similar stories.
In an interview with the warden two days after he was placed in Angeles City jail, Martin discovered that
the warden did not have the authority for him to have the full diagnosis of his heart condition. Permission
could only be obtained from whichever judge was to handle the case. Raffles took place every Thursday,
and he had missed the one due that day. He would have to wait to see who would draw his case, and then
apply to the judge.
The following Thursday, Atty. Iguidez was at the court to discover that the judge was to be The Honorable
Omar T. Viola. The attorney immediately applied for an urgent hearing for the judge to decide upon the
application for the in-depth medical check. It was granted on the following Wednesday. It took until
Saturday for the necessary paperwork to be completed, so on 7 July, sixteen days after an immediate
heart examination was ordered to take place, Martin arrived in Angeles University Foundation Hospital,
where after preliminary examination he was immediately placed in intensive care for two days. The stress
of the situation was taking a serious toll of Martin's health.
Human nature is a weird thing, especially among expats in this country. The word spread around very
quickly about John's arrest. Amazingly, perhaps due to a disgusting article in the local newspaper, many
foreigners who had known John Martin for many years, believed he was guilty. "There's no smoke without
fire," is never true when the smoke is produced by the PNP. Sheer commonsense dictated that a senior
foreign citizen who had received sufficient money to cater to his needs for many years did not need to
stoop to retailing shabu.
Worse, two foreigners who he had financed into their business, men who without his backing would have
been flat broke, took advantage of the situation. John and Elvie had decided to distribute their money
around in case there was a seizure order. Each of the business accounts had money deposited in them to
hold. Two foreign partners promptly disappeared with the money. There is a moral there somewhere.
The trial began with the usual preliminaries followed by an unexplained challenge by the Public Prosecutor,
Atty. Gerardo Antonio Santos. He challenged the order of the court allowing John Martin to remain in
hospital and demanded that he be returned to Angeles City jail. It was a strange demand to make, unless
pressure was being applied for Atty. Santos to do so.
John Martin's physician was hastily summoned to the court where he stated emphatically that should
Martin have a heart attack, which was very likely in view of the stress he was under, that unless immediate
medical attention was given him, it would prove fatal.
The warden of Angeles City jail was then summoned and questioned about hospital facilities in the
premises. He admitted that the one cell that had been set aside as a hospital cell was now occupied by
nine prisoners. In spite of overcrowding, he could move them and accommodate John Martin. When
questioned as to how long it would take to get Martin to hospital in the event of an emergency, he admitted
to a minimum of half-an-hour. The judge then ruled that John could remain in hospital for a further two
weeks, after which there would be further consideration.
John and the guard provided by the prison were then returned to the hospital in the ambulance. John had
to hire this ambulance and pay for three attendants plus gratuities every time he went to court. The
ambulance alone was P 1,200. The guards were provided with money for food and a small salary each day,
while the Warden still received his "assistance" money.
That night, an embarrassed guard approached Elvie. He informed her that he had been instructed to
handcuff John to the bed overnight, and he was afraid to tell John, so would she do it for him. John
accepted his fate as just one more bit of pressure on him to pay up. As John found it difficult to sleep, the
guard also paid the price, because as soon John saw he was asleep, he would rattle the cufflinks up and
down the iron bedstead bars, making him wake up and check. "It was a bit childish, I know," said John.
"But it made me feel better to think I was fighting back."
The next day Elvie went beserk at the warden, who shamefacedly admitted that he was under orders from
above. Atty. Iguidez drove to Angeles City to appear before the judge, who issued an order stopping this
practice. It was the warden himself who came in that evening to remove the handcuffs.
Life over the next weeks and months was to be one of stress and boredom for John Martin. Previously he
had been very much an outdoor man. Now he was confined to a very small room in a single bed. There
was a second bed in the room usually meant for close relatives to use, as hospitals only have sufficient
nursing staff to carry out essential duties. Everything else required to ensure the comfort of the patient is
usually done by relatives. In John's case, the bed had to be occupied by the guard.
The room came with cable television, but the guard had control of the channel selector, thus John came to
know, and hate, the many inane Philippine television shows, having to almost beg to be allowed to watch
Early during his stay, he had been allowed to walk up and down the corridor a few times, but the hospital
objected to this as the presence of the guard made other patients nervous as to his offense.
Atty. Iguidez had applied for and been granted a quick trial. The reality is that there is no such thing as a
quick trial in the Philippines, just that some are slower than others. What this meant, in John's case, was
that every Wednesday he would book his ambulance and attendants, pay his hospital bill up to date, be
escorted to the court and be wheel-chaired in. The judge lived in Quezon City, so court starting times were
erratic, very much dependent on the traffic of the day.
The front benches of the court would be filled with prisoners from the jail. The judge would insist on dealing
with these first. Hearings only went on until 12:30 p.m. at the latest, thus, every Wednesday, John would
be fortunate if he had an hour of his hearing. Usually it was much less.
John had a great deal of pressure on the home front. Elvie had to put up with finger-pointing and
whispering where ever she went. They were both afraid that their daughter would be kidnapped, so they
rented a house next to the school, where not only would she be under Elvie's eyes, but those of the school
security guards. Life, as they had known it, was over. The costs to John were not only emotional, but in
real terms, by the time the second hearing came around, he had already spent the equivalent of what a
reasonable four bed-roomed house would cost in a decent Angeles City subdivision.
Martin was taken by ambulance to the Government Heart Center in Quezon City where he underwent a
very expensive and sophisticated Coronary Angiography. The results were not good. In fact, John Martin's
heart made him a walking time bomb. It showed that he had suffered a previous heart attack, that one
artery was completely blocked and there was a thinning of the walls of the other arteries. Basically, the
report stated that his condition was not curable, even with a by-pass, but controllable with medication and
no stress. In his letter to the court, Dr. Aristedes G. Panlilio, MD. FPCP, FPCC, of 30 July 2001,
recommended "-his continued hospitalization to prevent any life threatening medical problem." To this the
judge concurred, but ordered fortnightly reviews from the hospital.
From here, we examine the evidence presented in court during the trial. Although the author gives his own
analysis, it really is better that the reader be the judge. The reader may also be interested to know that this
all has been written while awaiting the decision of the court. The final chapter will analyze that decision and
compare it with our own.
Once the evidence is examined, it becomes very clear that were John Martin indeed guilty of being a drug
dealer, he could have walked from this case on the technicality that the search was not conducted in
accordance with the Search Warrant, and therefore any evidence introduced from it would have had to
have been denied admittance.
The application for the search warrant is in itself questionable. According to evidence given, on 7 June
2001, PO2 Javar and PO1 Iniwan, together with Superintendent Bernardino, drove for nearly one-and-ahalf
hours to the sala of Judge Napoleon R. Sta. Romana, of Regional Judicial Region, Branch 31, in
Guimba, Nueva Ecija to apply for a warrant to search the house of John B. Martin in order to seize an
undetermined amount of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, otherwise known as Shabu.
Before the judge, they swore that they had conducted continuous surveillance on the house of John Martin
from 23 May until 6 June 2001. During that period, they had witnessed a number of known drug users visit
his home. Their confidential informer had arranged, with them present, for a test buy, where they had
witnessed Martin hand over 5 grams of shabu in exchange for P 5,000. They signed an affidavit to this
affect, were purportedly questioned by Judge Romana, who then issued an order for a search warrant to
A search warrant was prepared and signed by Judge Romana, however it is dated 6 June 2001, one day
prior to the hearing. As it was numbered 32-2001, i.e. the thirty-second to be issued by this judge in less
than six months, it may explain as to why the application was not made in Angeles City. After all, all three
were based in Angeles City, so why travel a great distance to obtain what could easily be obtained just
around the corner? The original affidavit produced by the police claiming continuous surveillance was later
replaced by another dated 7 June 2001 in which they then state they knew John Martin had gone overseas
during that period.
Amazingly, Judge Romana accepted that a test buy had been carried out. Many senior and respected
lawyers approached by the author are firmly of the opinion that a "test buy" is in itself conducting an illegal
act. The law allows for what is termed "buy-bust" operations. There are strict rules for this. First, the money
used, which is government funds, must be pre-marked, and an immediate arrest must be made. In this
manner, the government money is recovered, and the evidence obtained is conclusive. During the trial the
two policemen admitted that the money used was unmarked, and they failed in their sworn duty to effect an
immediate arrest when they had witnessed a crime being committed. They were admitting that they
themselves had committed a crime before a judge in applying for the search warrant, and before another
judge in the trial itself.
The warrant itself complied with the law, which states in Rule 12, SEC 4 that the search warrant must
identify the "Place to be searched and the things to be seized." It ordered that the search was for the
purposes of seizing the undetermined quantity of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride otherwise known as
This rule is to protect citizens at having the police just search for any evidence of any crime then
formulating charges to fit the items. In this case, the police were allowed to search for and seize shabu only.
This they did, but also seized a substantial amount of money, aluminum foil, plastic bags and an
unlicensed handgun. These were all presented as evidence, and should not have been admitted by the
The search warrant is addressed "To Any Officer of the Law," indicating that one, and one only will
constitute the search party. In Martin's case two policemen were involved in the actual search, while many
more wandered around the house.
The search warrant also stated:
The search must be witnessed by at least two (2) residents of the said locality, one (1) of whom must be a
When the first witness arrived, the Barangay Councilor, the police had already been inside the house for
over 30 minutes. The second witness was one of the security guards, who was definitely not a "resident."
The next item was:
The Officer (note: singular) seizing the properties ought to be searched -
This clearly infers that the witnesses should have searched the one policeman designated as the searcher
- before he entered the premises. This clearly was not carried out. The warrant then stated:
The officer making the seizure must deliver the property/ies seized to this Court immediately together with
an Inventory, Receipts thereof verified under oath.
This was clearly never done, as the Court was a considerable distance away. If it was ever done it had to
be after John Martin had appeared at the Department of Justice, as the evidence was spread all over
Sergeant Cadiz' table in the late afternoon; it was certainly never handed over that day to PO2 Javar, the
one who discovered it, for transporting to Guimba. Clearly, the case could have been dismissed on these
technicalities alone, but it would have done Martin no good whatsoever. To have the case dismissed on a
technicality would have been the action of a guilty and desperate man. Too many people would have taken
the opinion that there could be no smoke without fire, and judged him probably guilty. His reputation would
have been ruined.
To prove its case against John B. Martin, the prosecution presented just three witnesses, SPO4 Cadiz,
PO2 Javar and PO1 Iniwan. The first witness took the stand on 8 August, while the last of the three were
finished with on 5 September. The pace of the hearing was extremely frustrating to John Martin, as all were
well aware that Judge Viola was due to commence a four-week holiday from the middle of September.
John had been hoping to have the case over with before the judge went away, but with the slow pace and
short hearings just once a week, he became very aware that his ordeal was going to be prolonged. Once
this was realized, John's biggest enemy became himself. He had to fight against his increasing depression.
Perhaps the saving factor was John's lawyer, Atty. Larry Iguidez. As an independent observer, and one
who has followed many cases at trial in the Philippines, the author would also like to acknowledge him as
being the most impressive he has witnessed to date. Unlike many lawyers, Atty. Iguidez goes into court
well prepared and has the ability to extract the truth from the most hostile of witness. At times, Public
Prosecutor Santos, himself both a competent and confident lawyer, must have felt he still had a lot to learn.
To fully appreciate the guile of Atty. Iguidez, one needs to understand a little of the rules of court procedure.
During the presentation of the case for the prosecution, the witness is first questioned by the prosecuting
attorney. Once he has finished his questioning, the attorney for the defense can then question the witness,
but only on the testimony the witness has given. For example, if the prosecuting attorney has not
questioned the vehicle the witness was driving, the defense cannot ask him, "What vehicle did you drive on
Atty. Iguidez had proof that the police affidavit purportedly presented to the judge in Guimba in the
application for the search warrant, and the one presented in John's trial were different. The one presented
in Guimba had claimed continual surveillance between certain dates, while the one presented in court
admitted something the police were only to learn at a later date. Because of this, the Public Prosecutor had
deliberately avoided asking questions about the application for the search warrant. In cross-examination of
one police witness, Atty. Iguidez cleverly had him identify the affidavit and asked a number of questions
about it before Atty. Santos realized what was happening and objected. After discussion, Atty. Iguidez had
his copy of the affidavit admitted as damning evidence for the defense.
As the case for the prosecution proceeded, it became clear that the three witnesses had only conferred on
a few basic points. PO2 Edgardo L. Javar; PO1 Aurelio Iniwan and SPO4 Danilo Cadiz had been the main
characters, and each, under the questioning of Public Prosecutor Santos recounted a similar story. They
had gone to the house of John Martin at between 7:20 a.m. and 7:45 a.m. They had issued the search
warrant, conducted the search and discovered the shabu in a Kankunis can in the kitchen. In the passage
to the kitchen they had discovered the plastic bags and aluminum foil. In Martin's bedroom, they had
discovered money and a gun hidden under the mattress. That Javar and Iniwan had conducted
surveillance and taken part in a test buy of 5 grams for P 5000. All very straight forward. They had not
counted on the courtroom skills and brilliance of Martin's lawyer, Atty. Larry Iguidez.
It should also be mentioned here that to the casual observer, the Public Prosecutor and Judge Viola
appeared to be unusually friendly towards each other. Perhaps being in the same court day after day was
the reason for this, but the Public Prosecutor often lit and smoked a cigarette and would also cross the
courtroom, open the window and spit into the garden without any admonishment from Judge Viola.
The success or failure of the prosecution in obtaining a conviction against John Martin for being a dealer in
illegal substances, particularly shabu, did not really depend upon the finding of 230 grams in his kitchen, as
will be explained in a later chapter. The foundation stone of the case was the alleged surveillance carried
out by Javar and Iniwan. The search warrant was obtained on their claim to have witnessed John Martin
The reader may recall that the two had sworn to the truth of their affidavit before a judge, who, based upon
this sworn testament, issued the search warrant. They had originally claimed continuous surveillance had
been carried out, on the order of P/Supt. Bernardino, from 23 May until the 6 June. During that time they
witnessed men going to the house and purchasing shabu from John Martin. Further, that on 4 June, they
accompanied their "asset" or informer and witnessed him hand over P 5000 in exchange for 5 grams of
For those who do not know it, Josefaville II subdivision is probably one of the nicest to survive the Mt.
Pinatubo eruption. Its roads are actually avenues, providing shade. Entrance to it is strictly controlled, with
the security guard demanding identification prior to entry. Javar and Iniwan claim to have carried out
continuous surveillance but gave no details of their modus operandi in doing so. Did they sit in a parked
car? Did they stand in the shade of a tree? This particular subdivision is not subject to heavy traffic, either
vehicular or pedestrian. First, they would have had to reveal to the security guard who they were, and he
would have noted and reported it. Second, two men sitting in a stationary vehicle for hours or standing still
on the street would have aroused both suspicion and gossip. Yet they went unnoticed.
Neither could offer an official report that would have been required by their superiors, neither were
notebooks apparently used. Furthermore, for policemen sent on a mission to gather intelligence, they
appear remarkably unobservant. They refer to John Martin's wife of nearly two decades as his "live-in
partner," and failed to notice that the Martin's had a daughter living in the house. Even though the street
sign clearly indicates the full name, when asked, they both referred to it as Roxas Street, and affirmed that
was the full name. Every street sign, of which there are many, clearly indicates it is President Roxas Street.
They stated originally, "continuous surveillance from 23 May until 6 June." On 26 May John Martin and
family left on a trip to Hong Kong and didn't return until 4 June. This was only acknowledged in the
substituted affidavit applying for the search warrant. Javar, on cross-examination however, still maintained
continuous surveillance during those dates. Obviously, nobody had informed him of the Martin's trip.
They claim that they observed several men, John's kili, or people with whom he was acquainted, go to the
front door of the Martin's house, and they witnessed John sell them packets of shabu. If this were true, then
John Martin had just as well put up a sign outside of his house, "Shabu for Sale." It defies the imagination
that any drug dealer would stand in full view at the door of his house and take a wad of money in full view
of any casual observer, then hand over a packet of shabu.
Further, all of the police witnesses admitted under cross-examination that no weighing equipment of any
kind was discovered in their search of the house, an essential piece of equipment of all drug dealers.
Perhaps they believed that John Martin was as good as their sergeant, SPO4 Cadiz in guessing accurate
When it comes to their evidence regarding the "test buy" ordered by "their superiors" their story becomes
even more incredible, but not as incredible as the attitude of the court.
Atty. Iguidez had both Javar and Iniwan admit that it was their sworn duty as policemen to make an
immediate arrest should they witness a crime being committed. Yet, under oath, they state that they were
with their asset when he purchased 5 grams of shabu from John Martin in exchange for P 5000. The
packet of shabu was presented as evidence, and was actually of 4.5 grams weight. They had previously
stated that John Martin only sold to kili, or people he knew. Thus, by deduction, their asset had to be
known to John Martin and therefore one can assume was a regular buyer and therefore a drug addict
himself. It is beyond belief that any drug addict would use P 5000. of his own money to purchase a drug
that will be immediately handed over to the police, calmly walk away P 5000 poorer and without any drug
to satisfy his craving.
What both policemen witnessed was a crime being committed. It was their sworn duty to effect an
immediate arrest of both their asset and John Martin, yet they did not do so. Why? "On the order of their
superiors." Total rubbish. The reason they didn't make an immediate arrest is because it didn't happen.
The surveillance was not carried out at all, and we could venture to say that the first time either had been
inside Josefaville II subdivision was on 14 June, the morning of the search.
More disturbing, however, is the attitude of the court. Atty. Iguidez asked:
Q. On June 4, 2001 at about 6:00 o'clock in the evening, in the process of your surveillance, where were
A. We were dispatched by our intelligence chief to conduct test buy, sir.
Q. I have been defending cases on drugs and this is the first time that I heard this "test buy", what is a test
Q. You mean counsel, you have been defending drug cases and you do not know test buy?
A. Yes, your honor.
Both the judge and the Public Prosecutor were laughing at this admission by Atty. Iguidez. Apparently, it
has become accepted practice, in cases of extortion, that is. The fact is that the law already allows what is
termed buy-bust. In this, marked money is handed over, the shabu received and an immediate arrest made.
There is no disputing the evidence presented. In so-called test buys, it is the policeman's word plus a
packet of shabu, easily obtained from the vast quantities of shabu already seized. Clearly, in order to
ensure justice to the accused, evidence of test buys should not only be disallowed by the courts, but any
policeman admitting to being involved in such a deal should be charged for being in possession of an
When it came to evidence on what happened between the police arriving at John Martin's house there also
was confusion. Cadiz and Javar failed to mention that they were accompanied into the house by P/Supt.
Bernardino. Only Iniwan admitted this fact. There was confusion as to whether they knocked and waited for
the maid to answer the door, or as to whether the door was already opened and so they entered. They all
claimed that only Cadiz followed the maid to the door of John Martin's bedroom, and even he didn't enter,
but asked John and Elvie to join him in the lounge. However, both John Martin and the housemaid were to
claim differently. Alma Millena, Martin's housemaid, clearly stated in her evidence that at 7:30 a.m. she
heard a knock at the door. The other housemaid. Analyn, opened the door. She saw three individuals, not
four, enter the house and go straight into Martin's bedroom. All three entered and remained for about 20
seconds, then emerged and went into the sala. It is a clear confession though, that they were in breach of
the terms of the search warrant, as there were no witnesses present, neither had the nominated searcher
himself been searched. This was further admitted to by Javar who in answer to a question of who
summoned the witnesses, stated it was Martin's family driver.
All three swore on oath, that although there were, including themselves, eight or nine policemen on the raid,
only four of them entered the house, the rest were deployed outside. This just does not make any sense.
To what purpose was there in having policemen stationed outside of the house? They were carrying a
search warrant not a warrant of arrest. Millena, the housemaid, who proved to be a very lucid witness, is
worth quoting a little:
Q. When you were in the sala already, what did you observe, if anything?
A. I noticed that more of them are entering the house, sir.
Q. And what were these people doing?
A. They just roamed around the house, it seems that they were looking for something, sir.
Q. Which part of the house were they going to?
A. Some of them went to the kitchen, some of them in the rooms of the house, sir.
Q. So, you noticed that the security guard and the barangay officials arrived from the time you also said
that the police officers arrived at 7:30 o'clock in the morning, is that correct?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. In relation to that time, Ms. Witness, more or less, how many minutes or hours after 7:30 did the
barangay officials and the security guard arrived in the house of the accused?
A. They arrived there probably around 8:00 o'clock in the morning, sir.
During his cross-examination of Ms. Millena, Public Prosecutor Santos appeared to assist the defense.
Q. After how many minutes after these three individuals went to the bedroom of the Martins when other
people started entering?
A. When they went outside the room of Mr. Martin and went to the sala, these other people started coming
Q. And how many people entered?
A. About 5 to 7 persons, sir.
Q. Were they in uniform, all of them?
A. No one of them was wearing uniform, sir.
These simple, straightforward answers by Ms. Millena appeared to come closer to the truth. This simple,
but honest lady was not aware of how dangerous it could be for her to expose the lies being told, under
oath, by Angeles City policemen. The policemen didn't actually lie, per se. After all, the questions put to
them were basically as to how many entered the house, meaning after knocking or not knocking the door.
They all answered four, although the housemaid only counted three. None were asked if any more
policemen entered the house at any other time.
Once both of the Martins had assembled in the sala, Cadiz claimed he sent Javar and Iniwan to commence
the search in the kitchen. This was a good decision, as it was there that they hit the jackpot. A bright
orange Kankunis (a herbal tea) can was clearly in sight alongside the oven toaster, and this can was
discovered to contain 230 grams of shabu.
There appeared to be some confusion among police witnesses when it came to the discovery of the shabu.
It was Javar who claimed to have discovered the Kankunis herbal tea canister in the kitchen. He said he
saw it alongside the oven toaster. He also stated that Iniwan, who was stood alongside him, witnessed this.
He then said:
A. When I saw the can it meant nothing to me, sir, but when I opened it, I was surprised.
Q. When you opened the Kankunis can, witness Cadiz was not with you, only witness Iniwan?
R. Yes, sir.
Q. In other words, as soon as you saw the Kankunis can, you picked it up on top of the lababo and then
A. It was already opened when I saw it, sir. It had no lid. It contained plastic, sir.
S. So you did not open anything?
A. Yes, sir.
The interesting thing about this exchange, which was a cross-examination conducted by Atty. Iguidez on
29 August 2001, was that he was trying to change his story as he suddenly remembered what Cadiz must
have told him concerning his own testimony on 15 August.
Everybody had agreed that Sergeant Cadiz remained in the sala while the kitchen was searched. Javar
called to him from the kitchen so he went to see what had been discovered. In his direct examination, he
Q. Were you present when Javar opened the can?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. After it was opened, what happened?
A. It contained three sachets of transparent plastic packs containing suspected shabu, sir.
Then, under the clever questioning of Atty. Iguidez:
Q. You only saw the Kankunis can when the same was shown to you by Javar?
A. No, sir, when (I was) called (by) him.
Q. And he was already holding the Kankunis can?
A. No, sir, he did not remove the Kankunis can until I arrived.
Q. My question is, when you went to see him, he was already holding the Kankunis can? That is a simple
A. Yes, sir.
Q. In fact, when he opened the Kankunis can, you were already present?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. You did not ask the supervising searcher to maintain fingerprints in the Kankunis can which is
considered physical evidence?
A. No, sir.
On further re-cross-examination, this time on 5 September, following Javar's claim that the Kankunis can
was without a lid, Cadiz was asked:
Q. When you saw the can, was the cap already in place?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Who removed the cap?
A. PO2 Javar, sir.
Q. PO2 Javar then knew that this can was with a cap because he was the one who removed it?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When this cap was removed, was PO1 Iniwan also present?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And he also knew that this can had a cap?
A. Yes, sir.
For a man who has reached the rank of Special Police Officer 4, the equivalent of sergeant, Cadiz does not
appear too bright. He was determined that the Court would believe that he witnessed the opening of the
Kankunis can and viewed the contents. Javar is a little brighter, as, while on the witness stand, he must
have figured he could be in a problem area. After all, he is searching a kitchen. He notices a can of herbal
tea on the counter and immediately calls his sergeant from the sala to look at it. It might have contained
herbal tea. Cadiz claims he only opened it in his presence, and lo and behold, they had hit the jackpot. It
contained shabu. Believing he was about to be asked as to why he would call his sergeant to the kitchen
just because he found a can on the counter, which he had not yet examined, he suddenly decided that if it
had no lid, he would have known it contained something that was not herbal tea, and this would have
explained him calling out to the sergeant. If it had a lid, and he did not look inside, he had no way of
knowing it held anything of importance.
The claim of Sergeant Cadiz to have been present when the can was opened and the shabu discovered is
also disputed by young PO1 Iniwan, as is his being alongside Javar when it was found.
Q. And tell us Mr. Witness, when witness Javar found the Kankunis can, did he immediately open it or what
did he do?
A. I did not notice because I was also searching the kitchen, sir.
Q. So, you do not know what witness Javar did when he found the Kankunis can, you don't know?
A. He opened it, sir.
Q. When he opened it, what happened?
A. He saw there is suspected shabu inside the Kankunis can, sir.
Q. And this time he opened the Kankunis can, SPO4 Cadiz was still in the sala with P/Supt. Bernardino, is
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When did Cadiz find the contents of the Kankunis can or when was it brought to his attention?
A. When PO2 Javar saw the contents of the Kankunis can, he immediately called SPO4 Cadiz, sir.
Yet another story. The fact is that there was no need to open the Kankunis can, as they all knew what it
In her evidence, Ms. Millena, the Martin's housemaid, stated she had been in the kitchen from 5:00 a.m.
that morning, used and cleaned the oven toaster, and had never seen the orange Kankunis can before. In
fact, Judge Viola clarified in his own questioning of the witness:
Q. You said that you don't know what is Kankunis, you don't use Kankunis?
A. No, sir.
Q. What about Mr. Martin, the accused, does he use Kankunis?
A. No, sir.
Q. What about Mrs. Martin, did she use Kankunis?
A. Not also, sir.
Q Was there any occasion that you were told to buy Kankunis by this Sps. Martin?
A. None, sir.
Q. During your entire stay with the Martins, there was never an occasion that you were asked to buy a can
A. None, sir.
At one time, John Martin had expressed nervousness at putting the maid on the witness stand. He needn't
have worried. Her simple honesty was believable. While on cross-examination, the Public Prosecutor did
everything he could to try to shake her credence. She had claimed to have met with Atty. Larry Iguidez only
once and that was a long time ago.
Q. And as a matter of fact, he told you what to say in Court today?
A. The only thing that Atty. Iguidez told me is that I just not get nervous and tell the truth, sir.
Going back to the testimonies of the three policemen versus this lady in relation as to who was in the
kitchen when the shabu was discovered. Iniwan had stated that when they were searching the kitchen that
Elvie Martin, the barangay representative, the security guard and a friend of John Martin were all present.
He stated that John Martin was also in the kitchen some of the time, but was going out to answer the
In her testimony, Ms. Millena disagrees with this:
Q. When one of these men announced to Sarge, as you call him, that they have found it, you said you
were already in the kitchen.
A. Yes, sir. I was told by Mrs. Martin to go to the kitchen, sir.
Q. What about the security guard and the barangay official, where are they when this was announced to
A. They were in the sala, sir.
With both Javar and Iniwan, in his cross-examination, Atty. Iguidez exposed some of the dreadful lack of
professionalism in the police methods, while at the same time greatly assisting his client, Martin, to prove
his innocence. To both officers he asked:
Q. Of course, as an intelligence officer and experienced at that, when you started the search, you wore
gloves in order to preserve any fingerprints on any items which you saw at the premises?
Both answered in the negative and admitted that there had been no attempt to lift any fingerprints from the
Kankunis can as the police themselves had handled it.
Simple common sense indicates that had John Martin been dealing in drugs, the last place he would store
them would be in the open, in the kitchen and in a bright orange can. The quantity of shabu in the can had
a street value of P 230,000.00, although a recent newspaper report stated that prices were dropping as the
police recycled seized drugs into the market. The kitchen has a door leading directly to the outside of the
house, and is used by many trade's people. Leaving shabu in that location meant that either anyone could
steal it, or worse, report that he had it. John Martin's business dealings had proven he was not a stupid
man, but he would have had to have been stupid to store shabu in that location, not even in a cupboard,
but there for all to see. Had it been discovered in his bedroom, the police story just might have had some
The most important item, however, was the policemen had, perhaps deliberately, smothered the can with
their own palm and fingerprints. There was no way of proving beyond doubt that John or Elvie Martin were
the owners of the can and its contents. The only people who could be proven to have touched the can
were SPO4 Cadiz, PO2 Javar and PO1 Iniwan.
When it came to the weight of the shabu discovered in the kitchen the sheer arrogance of policemen in this
type of extortion is clearly indicated. Sergeant Cadiz, in preparing the inventory in the house, had written
down the weights of each packet of shabu. He had the weights at 50 gram, 80 gram and 100 gram. On
cross-examination, Atty. Iguidez questioned him about this. He laid his groundwork thoroughly by asking if
they had found any weighing machine in the house, to which the answer was that they had not. To a drug
dealer, the weighing machine is the most important piece of equipment he requires.
Then Atty. Iguidez stated that Cadiz had not brought any weighing machine with him. Cadiz denied this. He
stated that he had a digital weighing machine, but it had run out of battery. Amazing that the police in
Angeles City can fork out P 5000. in a test buy, and lose it, yet cannot spend P 10 and carry a spare
battery. Cadiz, in answer to a question from Judge Viola, again states that he weighed the shabu, but the
battery ran out. He reiterates to Atty. Iguidez that he weighed the materials found in the house. Then,
within minutes, he admits that the weight of the shabu "was only his assumption," yet admitted that when
weighed in the laboratory, his "guessed" weights were absolutely spot-on.
Both Iniwan and Javar also admitted to not finding any weighing scales in the house. Again, under clever
cross-examination, Javar was to prove the most useful. He stated that Cadiz had estimated the weight of
the three packs and that they did not have any weighing scales. He admitted this in an answer to a direct
question from Judge Viola:
Q. So, Mr. witness, when Officer Cadiz made an initial field test, your group does not have any weighing
A. Yes, sir.
Q. And you did not have any weighing scales at that time?
A. I did not see any, sir.
Q. But as per estimate of Cadiz, the substance weighed is 230 grams more or less?
A. Yes, sir. That is what I saw in his inventory.
These admissions clearly prove that SPO4 Cadiz committed perjury, yet he will never be admonished, let
alone charged for so doing. Such is Philippine justice.
In the light of the forgoing, the finding of the handgun is of relative unimportance; it is a matter of overkill.
The gun was found under the mattress of Martin's bed, was handled and found to have three bullets in the
cartridge. No spare bullets or gun cleaning materials were found, but the full make and model number was
indicated in the inventory. The seizing of this gun was in violation of the search warrant, which clearly
stated that only suspected shabu was to be taken.
More importantly, Javar and Iniwan had sworn that they had witnessed John Martin selling 5 gram packs of
shabu. Yet, no loose 5 gram packs were discovered in the search, and not one of the three packets
discovered had been opened. Each contained a rounded weight of drug, indicating none of them had been
opened for repacking. No sachets were found, neither was a weighing scale available.
Except for 13 days in the custody of the drug squad and 10 days in Angeles City Jail, John Martin had
been confined to hospital throughout his trial. As Judge Viola had taken a four-week leave prior to its
completion, from early in September through to 16 October, a period of 5 weeks, he had not even stepped
out into the hospital corridor. At least previously, his weekly trip to court allowed him to go out in the
sunlight and have a change of scenery. The view of a schoolyard he had from his window was not one of
The frustration of the delay, plus the inevitable tensions meant he had little sleep, and absolutely nothing to
do. He found concentrating on anything extremely difficult. It was solitary confinement in a way, except for
the always-present guard. In actual fact, the only place he could be alone was the comfort room. He
thought that as Judge Viola had allowed 3 hearings every week upon his return, that once the trial restarted
it would soon then be over. In this he was also to be disappointed. The first day of recommencement,
the judge did not arrive in court until 10:15 a.m., leaving just 1 3/4 hours to hear a large
number of cases. At that hearing, Martin was able to present his bank manager to testify that he had
financially no need to deal in shabu, then to squeeze in the barangay chairman to testify as to his character.
As the chairman testified that he knew him from 1992, the prosecutor picked up on the fact that the man
had not become chairman until 1994, and spent 15 minutes on this unimportant point. Like most
prosecutors, he seemed to be eager to draw out the trial as long as possible.
The following day was better as the judge arrived at 9:15 a.m. and Martin was given 40 minutes on the
witness stand. The third hearing that week, things seemed even better. Sufficient time had been allowed
for Martin to complete his testimony and for the Public Prosecutor to carry out cross-examination. Atty.
Iguidez completed his direct examination within ten minutes, and then handed John Martin over for crossexamination.
The Public Prosecutor stated that as the transcript of the previous day was not yet available,
that he be allowed to postpone his cross-examination until after he could study it. This had to be granted by
Judge Viola. Atty. Iguidez then asked if he could present another witness instead. This had been allowed
when one of the policemen had failed to show for a cross-examination. Prosecutor Santos objected to this,
and again Judge Viola had no option but to sustain the objection. This meant one more week.
The following week, on Tuesday, 23 October 2001, John Martin duly turned up in his ambulance, as did an
officer from the Australian Embassy, who had traveled from Makati. At 9:15 a.m. the judge appeared, and
as there were only 9 other cases to be heard, it appeared that the trial might be nearly completed. It
probably could have been - except Prosecutor Santos failed to turn up, so the hearing was postponed.
The following day, again, ambulance to the court, where they were informed, only then, that on the Monday,
Prosecutor Santos had applied for two days leave of absence. Nobody had been courteous enough to
inform anybody. John Martin had paid two days for the ambulance. Atty. Iguidez had traveled from Quezon
City to Angeles each day for nothing, and even the Australian Embassy representative had made the
journey, all to no avail. As is usual in Philippine courts, judges, prosecutors, et al, can keep others waiting
for sometimes hours, and no apologies are ever considered necessary.
Fortunately, John Martin did get to complete his cross-examination the following day, and the housemaid,
Ms. Millena underwent both direct and cross-examination. Millena turned out to be the star of the show,
similar to Emma Lim in the impeachment of President Estrada. Simple, direct and unflappable, she was
more than a match for Prosecutor Santos. He got so flustered at one point he asked her if she had seen
the search officer remove the policeman from the can. She calmly answered, "I did not see the search
officer remove a policeman from the can," which brought the whole court, including the judge, to a stop with
laughter. This hearing set a record. It ran for 1 hour 15 minutes. Unfortunately, it was the final hearing of
the week, so back Martin went to the hospital.
The following Tuesday, now 30 October 2001, Atty. Iguidez had intended to have either the witness
security guard, or the witness barangay official to testify as to the number of policemen in Martin's house
during the search, but neither showed up. Whether they had been threatened or bought was not known.
Atty. Iguidez therefore decided that rather than hope either turned up the following day, he would rest his
defense. Judge Viola asked him how many days he would require to submit his "Offer of Evidence" and
"Formal Offer of Exhibits." Atty. Iguidez really showed his undoubted efficiency as he announced he
already had them ready for submission, and the process was finalized then and there. Then an amazing
thing happened. Judge Viola did not seek the normal "Memorandum" from counsel. The trial was over, and
now all that was required was the Decision. Martin's hope was that this would be handed down before
Christmas, although the Supreme Court allows judges 90 days maximum.
John Martin returned to the hospital, and decided that he needed a change of room. He had been at the
rear of the hospital where the sun came into the room every afternoon, making it unbearably hot, so he
requested a room on the other side. The move was made. Not an easy one, as a lot of junk can be
accumulated over fourteen weeks. He was now overlooking McDonald's. Once settled, he found that his
television only received one English channel. The hospital maintenance informed him that it was an old set,
and that there were none other available. There was, however, another room with a better set, so they
packed up everything again and moved him there. After all, this had to be much easier than changing the
While awaiting his decision, one troubling event occurred. John Martin's lifeline to the outside was his
mobile telephone. With it he would send and receive over 40 text messages every day. One day, he went
to the comfort room, and when he emerged, someone had stolen his telephone. The guard was there and
had noticed nothing, but three people had entered and left the room. It was not the loss of the telephone
that was worrying, although this was inconvenient. It was the fact that anyone who wanted to cause him
harm could get at him so easily.
In cases like this it is not just the immediate victim that suffers, it is also the family. People cruelly like to
think the worse, and the family has to suffer the pointing and whispering behind their backs. The financial
costs, with no chance of compensation, are enormous. The victim needs to be sufficiently wealthy to
ensure both health and reasonable comfort. Perhaps John Martin's daughter, who is 14 years of age, best
expresses some of the anguish. John's secretary discovered an assignment she had completed for her
school project. She had been requested to write a biography of someone close to her. An extract reads:
Why would anyone be so cruel to ruin my life when before this event happened I loved Angeles City and
my classmates? I had such a wonderful life with my mommy and daddy, looking forward to living in our
new home where I was allowed to design my own bedroom, my future schooling and seeing my
classmates, my mom and dad everyday, except when dad is away and now only have time to see him
once a week. I don't want to meet new people in Angeles City. As soon as they know I am a Martin they
ask questions. I don't want to speak to anyone who keeps asking me questions and now I am told daddy
will have to go away and I will only see him occasionally. All I want to do is run away and never see
Angeles City again. Why could anyone do this to ruin my family life?
The answer is, of course, pure greed for easy, unearned money. The true curse of the Philippines.
No matter what the final decision - and you be the judge - the enemies of John Martin and his family can be
well satisfied. They have effectively destroyed him, his wife and his daughter. May they too suffer hell,
preferably in this life.
STOP READING. THE DECISION IS ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES.
YOU NOW BE THE JUDGE!
On the final day of court prior to the
Christmas break, John Martin appeared for the last time before Judge Viola. That Thursday 20 December
2001 he learned of his fate. To his great relief, he was ACQUITTED. However, in his 15-page decision,
Judge Viola made some very pointed observations, which are worth repeating here. He stated:
Looking at the evidence much closer and examining it more keenly however, the Court cannot help but
notice inconsistencies, contradictions, and facts which are not in accord with human nature and experience.
Facts not believable and contrary to logic and reason not only in the very testimony of the witnesses but
also on its documentary and physical evidence submitted by the police during the trial of this case.
There was little doubt that Judge Viola had been wide-awake in listening to the evidence presented him, as
The Court then examined in detail the testimonies regarding the discovery of the Kankunis can, especially
that of Javar who clearly stated that the can had no lid.
The court would also like to point out that the Kankunis can submitted and offered as evidence by the
police, when identified and submitted in court, HAS AN ORANGE LID CAP contrary to the very narration of
Javar who allegedly found and discovered the Kankunis can.
Judge Viola noticed one extra fact that escaped our analysis, however:
Far more intriguing is the fact that though Cadiz and Iniwan testified in open court that the Kankunis can
was found at the back of the oven toaster, PO2 Javar, the policeman who found the Kankunis can,
admitted that he found it "at the left side of the lababo."
His comments of the purported surveillance are also interesting when he states:
In course of the trial and as per testimony. It was Javar and Iniwan who conducted surveillance of the
house of accused Martin for several days and both became aware that John Martin has a wife and househelpers,
but the two gave different answers when asked if the accused has a daughter, because Javar
admitted that he found out that Martin has a young daughter, while Iniwan said that they did not come to
know about it.
Overall, Judge Viola was not satisfied that the three police witnesses had told the truth:
A thorough scrutiny of the testimonial evidence offered by the prosecution's witnesses reveals gaping
inconsistencies and absurdities which when viewed in isolation, seem trivial and unimportant. But when
taken as a whole, however, the conflicting accounts and improbabilities cast doubt over the credibility of
the prosecution's witnesses and veracity of their narrations.
We had questioned the fact that a large quantity of shabu was purportedly stashed in a can of prominent
color in an area open to view and where a number of people had access. Fortunately, so did Judge Viola:
It did not likewise escape the attention of this Court the fact that the kitchen was the first place that was
searched as ordered by Cadiz and it was here where the shabu was found. The nagging questions,
therefore, that confronts the Court is, why did the police start their search in the kitchen and not in the sala
or the bedroom of the accused? The sala is much nearer and the bedroom could be a good hiding place of
something which one would like to conceal, but definitely not the kitchen where everybody can come and
go. If somebody would like to hide something or be wary of it would be a more natural reaction for him to
place said object far from prying eyes or at least exert effort to conceal it.
Although Judge Viola had joined in the laughter of the Public Prosecutor when Atty. Iguidez had queried
the "test buy" procedure, he appears to have been influenced by the questioning as he now stated:
Another point is the failure of the police to arrest the accused during the test buy they allegedly conducted
on June 4, 2001 at the house of accused Martin. The arresting officers admitted in court that with the aid of
a confidential agent, they were able to buy Php 5,000 worth of shabu from accused Martin. They could
have arrested the accused at that time for selling shabu and searched the entire house incidental to the
arrest but they did not do so, which to the mind of the Court is highly questionable if not irregular. The
opportunity presented to them, the possibility of the arrest of a drug pusher and the immediate eradication
of his nefarious activities, but instead of performing their functions, the police opt to postpone it deferring
their action in lieu of their application for a search warrant.
The amazing talent of Sgt. Cadiz to be able to guess weights with such accuracy was also doubted by His
But what surprised the Court was when the PNP Crime Laboratory at San Fernando, Pampanga
announced the that the weight of the shabu taken from the accused Martin is 230 grams exactly as
estimated by Cadiz which is hard to believe. Simple logic and probabilities will tell us that for Cadiz to
determine the exact weight of the shabu to be 230 grams absence of any weighing device, is not only nil
but close to impossibility. Said evidence adduced by the prosecution is also not in accord with human
nature and experience and truth to tell, this is the first time this Presiding Judge encountered a situation
that upon mere estimate, the apprehending officer was able to exactly determine the weight of the shabu,
especially in large quantity, which added doubt and further tainted the case.
The judge then made a lengthy observation on the fact that the police had applied for the search warrant in
Guimba, stating that although it was legal to do so, there were five other places much closer to their base
which could have also issued such a document. He ended this with "- if the intention of the police is to skirt
the Angeles City courts for reasons only known to them."
After carefully detailing the police actions, and noting that they failed to produce the independent witnesses
to verify their version of the search, he concludes:
In light of this, the Court cannot but conclude that the police officers who implemented the search warrant
at the house of accused Martin did not follow strictly the provisions of the Rules of Court and the
adherence to the constitutional requirements, hence the search warrant should be declared void.
John Martin was acquitted because the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt. This
typical acquittal can still leave room for those who wish to still believe it was a technical decision. However,
to end, let us quote one more statement within Judge Viola's decision:
Evaluating the documentary and evidentiary proof laid down for appreciation by the defense, the Court is
fairly convinced that there is truth in what the defense narrates.
That statement takes the decision beyond the statutory failure of the prosecution to prove its case beyond
reasonable doubt. The judge is going as far as he can to saying, "Martin. You did not do it." He reinforces
this with the statement:
The Court could not also believe that a 72 year old man with a severe coronary artery disease would
indulge himself in using prohibited/regulated drugs much more sell it.
John B. Martin is a free man, but also a changed one. Next time - it could be you!
WHAT TO DO IF IT HAPPENS TO YOU
1. THE POLICE ARRIVE WITH A SEARCH WARRANT.
a. Do not allow them to enter the house, politely informing them to comply with the warrant.
b. Carefully read the warrant.
c. Inform them of the name and address of your barangay representative and a known local resident.
d. Inform the police that entry will be granted once theses witnesses are present.
e. Once the witnesses arrive, ask the supervising officer who he has nominated to carry out the search,
then request that your witnesses are allowed to search that person.
f. If the supervising officer nominates two searchers, then politely point out that the warrant is addressed to
any police officer in the singular, therefore the intent is that two witnesses are with the searcher at all times.
Should the supervising officer argue this point, you may quote Section 7 of Rule 126 of the Rules of Court
whereby you must also witness the search, and you can only be in one place at one time.
g. Insist that the nominated searcher wear gloves and that any incriminating material discovered be tested
for your fingerprints
h. Once this has been sorted out, grant entry to the nominated searcher plus the witnesses. Inform the
supervising police officer that in order for them to comply with the warrant, all others must remain outside
until the search has been completed.
i. Note what item(s) are nominated on the search warrant. No other item may be seized other than that for
which the warrant is issued.
j. Should a prohibited drug be found, telephone a very good attorney. The police have only discovered
evidence of a possible crime, and have not witnessed a crime in progress, therefore you are not obliged to
go with them at that moment. You could request to wait for your attorney and use the time to put your
affairs in order. The police have to complete a lot of paperwork, then appear before a judge to obtain a
warrant of arrest.
Note: Under Philippine law, the possession of shabu of over 200 grams in weight is considered a heinous
crime and can carry the death sentence. As such, bail will not be granted.
a. If the weight of material seized from your house is over, but relatively close to the 200 gram limit insist
the Police Laboratory conduct a qualative examination to determine the real weight of methylamphetamine
hydrochloride contained in the sample.
b. The reason for this is that shabu sold on the streets has usually been mixed with other substances. It
may be found that the weight of methylamphetamine hydrochloride in the packet(s) taken from you could
be well below 200 grams, thus you could obtain bail and be subject to a less serious charge.
c. Inform your attorney the precedent for this is RTC National Capital Judicial Region Branch 31, Manila.
Criminal Case No. 00-183822. People Vs. Cynthea Olarte Y Felicidad. 11 October 2000.
PAY UP AND SHUT UP !
I have gone through a terrible nightmare, an unexpected ordeal at a time of my life when I should have
been reaping the rewards of a lifetime's work. This ordeal has unfortunately been shared with my family,
who has also suffered. To my wife, Elvie and my daughter Michelle, I thank God you were there to help me
and I regret the trauma you have had to suffer from these evil people who wished to destroy me.
In the situation I found myself in, one good thing emerged - you find out just who are your true friends. I
wish to thank my secretary, Marivic, who has worked very hard in my absence right up to the minute she
had to herself enter hospital to give birth to her son. Also to our maid, Alma. She courageously underwent
the interrogation of the Public Prosecutor, but firmly stuck to the truth.
I give thanks to the many members of Greenland's who would visit and give moral support, too many to
mention individually. One person, however, Peter O'Donnell, deserves special mention as he tirelessly
attended the many personal requests I made of him. Thank you Peter.
A special thanks to my two business partners, who prefer not to be named, but they never lost faith in me
and continued to protect my business interests.
To Dr. A. L. Villaza and his staff at the A.U. Hospital a special thanks. I have not always been a model
patient, but they have kept me alive in spite of the strain. An especial thank-you to my heart specialist, Dr.
Aristedes Panlilio who, in spite of the great mental stress I have been under, has managed to keep me not
only alive, but able to still fight.
My friend and lawyer of the past 15 years, Atty. Larry T. Iguidez, who has not only brilliantly defended me
on this spurious charge, but had to put up with the frustrations and intolerances of both my wife and myself
for over six months, I give many thanks, and apologize, knowing that he will understand and forgive us.
Many thanks to Alan Atkins, who not only suggested but authored this booklet. This has been published to
not only satisfy any remaining "no smoke without fire" opined members of the community, but also to
expose the danger that exists today to anyone choosing to live in the Philippines. He closely monitored my
trial and analyzed on a continual basis the evidence presented, passing the results to my lawyer.
A thanks for ongoing support from local personality Jim Dale, better known as Jimmy D, for his agreement
to be the main distributor of this booklet.
Finally, a thank-you to Mark Bell of the Australian Embassy. He has added a caring face to our embassy,
something that has been lacking for many years.
And thanks to those who helped me who wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.
I also acknowledge the kind treatment I have received from Supt. Romeo A. Selga and his staff of Angeles
City Jail. To those of you not mentioned individually, including crib-players, I apologize. You know who you
are and may your God go with you.
The fact remains that someone, for whatever reason, set me up on this false charge, ruined my life, totally
disrupted my family life and cost me a great deal both in financial and emotional terms. Adding up the total
cost, it would have been cheaper for me to pay the P 2 million plus needed for my freedom. It is not only
distressing that three policemen, men who are supposed to guard us against criminal activity, can, under
oath, tell outright lies and get away with it. It is a fact that someone, much higher up, can order them to do
so and also not suffer the consequences. One has to ask the question as to how can a country survive if
the police themselves can be hired to extort money or obtain revenge in a purely commercial transaction?
Worse, it begs also the question as to the Philippine judicial system. Had such an accusation been made in
my country, Australia, within 24 hours of arrest I would have appeared before a Magistrate. The police
evidence, being prior to their discovery of their error, of "continual surveillance" for a period of 12 days
would have been immediately exposed as a lie by my being overseas for 9 of those days. The case would
have been thrown out and an official investigation launched. In the Philippines, I have been subjected to
over six months incarceration and a full trial.
I have been reliably informed that my life is in danger. That the person(s) behind this frame-up will not
accept defeat. This threat, although meaning that I will have to leave Angeles City, for a man of my age
and poor health, is meaningless. I have a fairly good idea of who has been behind it. To them, you have
won a battle, but you will lose the war!
John B. Martin
Manila, November 2001