Thu. Sep 19th, 2019

Palauan arrested in Manila was a confidential informant

A Palauan national identified as Mike Taman escorted by Philippine operatives during his arrest at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines. (Screenshot from video by Ernie Manio/ABS-CBN News): File Photo

Sebalt testified that Teman was  paid for his work with the task force but couldn’t remember the amount that he was paid.

The Palauan man arrested in Manila last week for alleged attempted methamphetamine trafficking was a confidential informant (CI) of former Belau Drug Enforcement Task Force (BDETF) and proved to be a key player in vacating a part conviction in Arnold Buck Vs Republic of Palau last year.

According to the court documents of Arnold Buck Vs Republic of Palau acquired by the Island Times, Mike Teman was a CI for BDETF who was used for ‘controlled buys’ by the task force.

Teman, who was arrested at an airport in Manila before he boarded the flight to Palau,was previously given incentives to participate in the controlled buys in the form of monetary compensation.

BDETF was in function before Narcotics Enforcement Agency (NEA) and involved the current NEA Director Ismael Aguon.

In Buck’s case, the prosecution that represented Republic of Palau failed to tell the defense that Teman was a CI before the trial.

It was only during the cross examination of the former task force officer Lebilau Sebalt by the defense that Temans relationship with the task force was revealed.

Sebalt testified that Teman was paid for his work with the task force but couldn’t remember the amount that he was paid.

The document also states that Teman testified he was paid between $300 and $500 per buy, but did not testify how much he was paid for Buck’s case.

The history of Arnold Buck Vs Republic of Palau goes back to 2016 when Buck was arrested on three counts of Trafficking of a Controlled Substance and three counts of Possession of a Controlled Substance.

His charges were related to three “controlled buys” of methamphetamine occurring in February, March and August of 2016.

A controlled buy was a term used by the task force officers to describe the procedure by which a CI purchases an illegal controlled substance from individuals under police investigation using marked bills.

The trial division stressed on the fact that Teman’s testimony was crucial to Bucks case without which there is no evidence linking to the defendant that drugs were recovered.

Under Braidy Evidence, it is prosecution’s responsibility to disclose material, favorable evidence to the defense, irrespective of the defense’s ability to obtain.

The fact that Temans relationship was not revealed to the defense prior to the trial led to vacating Buck’s convictions in part, affirming conviction in part and vacating the sentence. (By Eshan Kalyanikar)