Está en la página 1de 177

G.R. No.

185383

September 25, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
GIOVANNI OCFEMIA y CHAVEZ, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION
LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:
For review is the Decision1 dated May 27, 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR.-H.
C. No. 0248l, which affirmed the Decision2 dated August 31,2006 of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC), Branch 13, of the City of Ligao in Criminal Case No. 4594, finding accused-appellant
Giovanni C. Ocfemia guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal sale of dangerous drugs,
defined and penalized under Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known
as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
In the Information dated April 14, 2003, accused-appellant was charged before the RTC as
follows:
That at or about eight thirty o'clock in the morning of February 21,2003, at Barangay San
Rafael, Municipality of Guinobatan, Province of Albay, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction
of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, having in his possession, custody and
control methamphetamine hydrochloride commonly known as "shabu," did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell one piece of transparent plastic sachet weighing
0.0953 gram of shabu, a prohibited drug, to a poseur-buyer in consideration of the amount
of Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00), without any authority or permit from the concerned
government agency to possess and sell the same.3
Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on May29, 2003. 4
The prosecution presented the testimonies of Police Superintendent(P/SUPT) Lorlie Nilo
Arroyo (Arroyo),5Forensic Chemist of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Crime
Laboratory Office at Camp GeneralSimeon Ola in Legaspi City; Police Officer (PO) 2 Martin
Benedict Aldea (Aldea);6 and PO3 Emerito Zamora (Zamora).7 The prosecution also
proffered documentary and object evidence consisting of the Request for Laboratory
Examination8 of the "one (1) pc. transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline
substance, a suspected shabu," prepared by Police Senior Inspector (PS/INSP) Dennis
Ariston Vargas (Vargas) of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Albay
Provincial Office; the Chemistry Report No. D-067-2003 9dated February 21, 2003 issued by
P/SUPT Arroyo; three plastic sachets10 of varying sizes – inside the small plastic sachet was
a smaller plastic sachet, and inside the smaller plastic sachet was the smallest plastic
sachet, containing white crystalline substance; and two pieces of P100.00 marked bills.11
The entirety of the evidence for the prosecution presented the following version of events:

Based on a tip from a confidential informant, a team, headed by PS/INSP Vargas and
composed of PO3 Zamora, PO2 Aldea, and other agents/officers from PDEA and the PNP
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), conducted a buy-bust operation against
accused-appellant in San Rafael, Guinobatan, Albay, on February 21, 2003. PO2Aldea was
designated to act as the poseur-buyer and was given five marked P100.00 bills to be used
as buy-bust money.
Around 8:00 in the morning, the team, together with the informant, proceeded to accusedappellant’s residence in San Rafael, Guinobatan, Albay. The team members strategically
positioned themselves within the vicinity of accused-appellant’s residence right before the
informant and PO2 Aldea transacted with accused-appellant. The informant called out to
accused-appellant who came out of his house. The informant then introduced PO2 Aldea to
accused-appellant as a buyer of shabu. PO2 Aldea handed the five marked P100.00 bills to
accused-appellant. Accused-appellant went inside his house and came back a few minutes
later to hand a heat-sealed small plastic sachet of shabu to PO2 Aldea. After examining the
purchased item, PO2 Aldea took off his cap from his head, the pre-arranged signal for the
rest of the team that the transaction had been consummated.PO3 Zamora and the other
team members rushed to the scene, apprised accused-appellant of his constitutional rights,
and apprehended accused-appellant. Incidental to accused-appellant’s lawful arrest, PO3
Zamora bodily frisked accused-appellant and was able to retrieve only two of the five
marked P100.00 bills from accused-appellant’s possession. Thereafter, accused-appellant
was brought to the police station.
At the police station, PO2 Aldea marked with his initials the sachet of shabu sold to him by
accused-appellant. PO2 Aldea then submitted the said sachet of shabu to their crime
laboratory, together with PS/INSP Vargas’s letter-request for chemical analysis of the same.
P/SUPT Arroyo conducted the chemical examination of the submitted specimen which
tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride.
The defense presented the testimonies of accused-appellant 12 and his spouse, Daisy
Ocfemia (Daisy),13 and the transcript of the preliminary examination conducted by Judge
Antonio C. Bagagñan (Bagagñan) of the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Guinobatan, Albay,
on February 21, 2003.14
Daisy testified that her husband, accused-appellant, was engaged in the business of buying
and selling of fighting cocks. Accused-appellant would usually leave their house at 6:00 in
the morning and return at around 10:00 in the morning. Accused-appellant would leave
again at around 3:00in the afternoon and come home at around 9:00 or 10:00 in the
evening. At around 7:00 to 8:00 in the morning of February 21, 2003, accused-appellant
returned home, after accompanying their daughter to school, with two companions aboard a
tricycle. Accused-appellant’s companions introduced themselves as Captain Vargas and
PO3 Zamora and they informed Daisy that accused-appellant would go along with them to
Camp General Simeon Ola because a certain Cardona wanted to talk with accusedappellant. After that, Captain Vargas and PO3 Zamora left with accused-appellant. The
following day, Daisy found out that accused-appellant was already locked up in prison
allegedly for the illegal sale of shabu.

When accused-appellant took the witness stand, he denied the charge against him and
claimed that he was framed-up by the police.
Accused-appellant averred that he was an "asset" of the police, having once joined the
police in an entrapment operation in Legaspi City. On February 21, 2003, he joined the
police in another buy-bust operation. Ataround 7:00 in the morning of the said date,
PS/INSP Vargas, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 4 Fernando Cardona, and PO3 Zamora
dropped by accused-appellant’s house to ask accused-appellant to accompany them to
Iriga City. Accused-appellant assented to the police officers’ request and on their way to
Iriga City, the police officers briefed accused-appellant about the operation. The police
officers told accused-appellant that the suspect was a certain Danny Contreras (Contreras)
and that accused-appellant would act as the poseur-buyer.
Accused-appellant went on to narrate that upon meeting Contreras at the latter’s residence
at around noontime, he handed P1,000.00 to Contreras. Contreras, in turn, instructed
accused-appellant to wait in front of the Park View Hotel, which was about 10 meters from
where PS/INSP Vargas, SPO4Cardona, and PO3 Zamora positioned themselves. Moments
later, Contreras met accused-appellant in front of the said hotel and handed to accusedappellant the shabu. At this point, the police officers arrested Contreras and brought him to
Camp General Simeon Ola. Accused-appellant then turned over the shabu to SPO4
Cardona.
Accused-appellant related further that at Camp General Simeon Ola,urine samples were
taken from him and Contreras. Thereafter, accused-appellant was escorted by PO3 Zamora
to the PDEA to talk to PO2 Aldea.PO2 Aldea disclosed to accused-appellant that accusedappellant would be charged with illegal sale of shabu; that PO2 Aldea would claim to be the
poseur-buyer at the purported buy-bust operation against accused-appellant; and that PO2
Aldea would testify against accused-appellant. When accused-appellant protested, PO2
Aldea simply replied that it was an order from the latter’s superior which could not be
refused. Subsequently, accused-appellant was brought to Judge Bagagñan’s office in
Guinobatan, Albay.
According to accused-appellant, Judge Bagagñan conversed first with PS/INSP Vargas,
SPO4 Cardona, and PO3 Zamora. When Judge Bagagñan talked to accused-appellant, the
Judge said that he had already signed a document and there was nothing more he could
do. Thereafter, accused-appellant was requested to immediately leave Judge Bagagñan’s
office, giving him no opportunity to ask what document the Judge had signed.SPO4
Cardona approached accused-appellant, asking the latter to please understand ("Pare,
pasensiya na.") for he "did not want this to happen, it was them," 15 referring to the other
police officers.
The prosecution presented Judge Bagagñan, already retired by that time, as rebuttal
witness. Judge Bagagñan confirmed on the witness stand that in the evening of February
21, 2003, he conducted the preliminary investigation in accused-appellant’s case and that
based on the evidence presented before him, he found probable cause to indict accusedappellant. Judge Bagagñan also recalled that after the preliminary investigation, accusedappellant confided that he was a police asset and that he was just being framed-up. Judge

the case shall be decided in such station by the transferred judge who shall adjust his/her calendar to enable him/her to dispose the undecided case at his/her own expense without sacrificing efficiency in the performance of his/her duties in his/her new station. 90-2004. however. title and status of each case. who may opt to have the case decided by the new judge. brushed aside accused-appellant’s claim believing that the same was already a matter of defense best threshed out during the trial. the Court en banc approved on June 8. entitled " Resolution Providing Guidelines in the Inventory and Adjudication of Cases Assigned to Judges who are Promoted or Transferred to Other Branches in the Same Court Level of the Judicial Hierarchy. The manifestation of the plaintiff that the case should be decided by the transferred judge shall be forwarded to the Office of the Court Administrator which. considered the case submitted for decision.) No. 2005. Should the plaintiff fail to submit such manifestation within the said 5-day period. 6. should the defendant oppose the manifestation of the plaintiff. 16 In the meantime. within five (5) days from receipt of such notice. 04-5-19-SC. then presided by Acting Presiding Judge William B. the records of cases formerly assigned to him/her shall remain in his/her former branch. A judge transferred. Should any case be left undecided by the transferred/detailed/assigned judge. upon receipt thereof. upon assumption of duty and within one (1) week. 4." which was reiterated and disseminated by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to all trial judges for their proper observance through OCA Circular No. the judge conducting the inventory shall cause the issuance to the parties of a notice of transfer/detail/assignment of the judge to which the case had been assigned. . However.Bagagñan. However. the RTC. with a directive for the plaintiff/s to manifest.M. the new judge shall resolve the matter in accordance with these Guidelines. detailed or assigned to another branch shall be considered as Assisting Judge of the branch to which he was previously assigned. On October 13. Pertinent provisions of the Resolution read: 3. whether or not he/she desires that the transferred judge should decide the case. Volante (Volante). 5. conduct an inventory of all pending cases in the branch. the presumption is that he/she desires that the case be decided by the transferred judge. shall issue the proper directive. The desire of the plaintiff. The inventory shall state the docket number. The judge who takes over the branch vacated by a transferred/detailed/assigned judge shall. shall be respected. The inventory shall be submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator within five (5) working days from completion thereof. A directive requiring the transferred judge to decide the case immediately shall state any of these conditions: a) If the new station of the transferred judge is within the province of the judicial region of his/her former station. except as herein below provided. 2004Administrative Matter (A.

the Office of the Court Administrator shall furnish the parties to the case with a copy of such directive and the transferred judge shall return to his former branch the records of the case with the decision that the new judge shall promulgate in his stead. On August 31.M. 2006. 04-5-19-SC contained in OCA Circular No. The prohibited drug known as Shabu is ordered confiscated in favor of the government and the same is ordered destroyed by the PDEA in accordance with the existing regulation. convicting and sentencing accused-appellant of the crime charged. ." It was error on the part of the trial court to convict the accused. The result is a denial of due process. 2006. the new judge shall preside over the same.000. the RTC notified the parties that Acting Presiding Judge Volante had already been replaced by Presiding Judge Angeles S. Giovanni Ocfemia. there cords of the undecided case shall be delivered either by personal service or by registered mail. penned by Judge Vasquez. The accused is likewise ordered to suffer the accessory penalties as provided for by law. In either case. the RTC promulgated its Decision. Should a motion for reconsideration of the decision or for new trial be filed by any party. beyond reasonable doubt hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500. to wit: WHEREFORE. if a motion for new trial is granted by the transferred judge. the transferred judge shall resolve the same. otherwise. resolve the motion.00) with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency. 19 Accused-appellant appealed to the Court of Appeals. the Court having been convinced of the guilt of the accused. it would already be decided by Judge Vasquez.17 While the prosecution did not submit such a manifestation.b) If the new station of the transferred judge is outside of the province in the judicial region of his/her former station. (Emphasis supplied. 2006 informing the RTC that he wished for Judge Volante to decide the case. arguing that: I The Honorable Judge who penned the assailed Decision did not observe the guidelines laid down in A. Vasquez (Vasquez) and directed the parties to manifest within five days from notice whether they want the case to still be decided by Judge Volante. and see to its final disposition. to the transferred judge and at his/her own expense. 7. However. 90-2004. he has of doubtful authority to render and promulgate the same. II The prosecution failed to establish beyond reasonable doubt the" corpus delicti. No.) In an Order dated June 6. accused-appellant filed his Manifestation18 on July 13. hence.

accused-appellant expressed his desire that the case be decided by Judge Volante for it was said Judge who received the evidence of the parties. 2006 of the Regional Trial Court of Ligao City. Preceding A. accused-appellant posits that he was effectively denied due process of law. Mabunay. In his own Manifestation dated July 13. 2008. Branch 24. V The prosecution’s evidence fell short of the required quantum of proof that the guilt of the accused must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.M.III The trial court erred in giving credence to the testimony of Martin Benedict Aldea and Ernesto Zamora. 04-5-19-SC. When the Presiding Judge of that branch to which a case has been raffled or assigned is transferred to another station. The judge who takes over this branch inherits all these cases and assumes full responsibility for them.M. 2006. Under A. in view of the foregoing. RTC. At the outset. 2003. a case once raffled to a branch belongs to that branch unless reraffled or otherwise transferred to another branch in accordance with established procedure. 04-5-19-SC was Re: Cases Left Undecided by Judge Sergio D. No. Accused-appellant points out that plaintiff-appellee failed to file its manifestation as directed in RTC Order dated June 6. accused was used a[s] poseur-buyer in a buy-bust operation in Iriga City on the same date.22 in which the Court first laid down the rules on cases left behind by a trial court judge: Basically. yet said Judge still proceeded to decide the case without even giving any explanation for his non-observance of the guidelines. the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision on May 27. Manila. He may decide them as they are his . 2006. Judge Vasquez should have endorsed the case to the OCA for appropriate action. The Court is not persuaded. He does not take these cases with him even if he tried them and the same were submitted to him for decision. No. Branch 13 in Criminal Case No. with the following dispositive portion: WHEREFORE.giving rise to the presumption that it preferred Judge Volante to decide the case. by misapplying the rule that public officers are presumed to have regularly performed their functions. the decision dated August 31. he leaves behind all the cases he tried with the branch to which they belong. 21 Accused-appellant comes before this Court seeking the reversal of his conviction. but instead. on February21. IV The court erred in not giving credence to the defense that there was no buy-bust operation that took place in Guinobatan. 20 Following an exchange of Briefs by the parties. 4594 is hereby AFFIRMED. Albay.

disqualified. he may be liable for insubordination and his judicial profile may be adversely affected. The following procedure may be followed: First. Upon direction of the Court Administrator. Since the primary responsibility over a case belongs to the presiding judge of the branch to which it has been raffled or assigned. or has become disabled. on his own. the Judge who takes over the branch must immediately make an inventory of the cases submitted for decision left behind by the previous judge (unless the latter has in the meantime been promoted to a higher court).cases. for recording and promulgation. whichever is more feasible. may be required to decide the case. the judge who is asked to decide the case is not expected to complain. take with him to his new station any case submitted for decision without first securing formal . cases substantially heard by them and submitted to them for decision. he may also decide the case to the exclusion of any other judge provided that all the parties agree in writing that the incumbent presiding judge should decide the same. Third. and before whom it was submitted for decision. unless any of the parties moves that his case be decided by the judge who substantially heard the evidence and before whom the case was submitted for decision. We take this opportunity to remind trial judges that once they act as presiding judges or otherwise designated as acting/assisting judges in branches other than their own. and upon request of any of the parties. or any of his Deputy Court Administrators acting in his behalf. If coursed through the Office of the Court Administrator. otherwise. the judge before whom a particular case was earlier submitted for decision may be compelled to decide the case accordingly. at least substantially. as one may question the authority of the other to transfer the case to the former. the succeeding judge may request the Court Administrator to formally endorse the case for decision to the judge before whom it was previously submitted for decision. retired or for any reason has left the service. after the judge who previously heard the case is through with his decision. Second. he should send back the records together with his decision to the branch to which the case properly belongs. In this event. he may simply address his request or motion to the incumbent Presiding Judge who shall then endorse the request to the Office of the Court Administrator so that the latter may in turn endorse the matter to the judge who substantially heard the evidence and before whom the case was submitted for decision. The Presiding Judge who has been transferred to another station cannot. unless they are promoted to higher positions in the judicial ladder. or otherwise incapacitated to decide the case. or unless the judge who substantially heard the case and before whom it was submitted for decision has in the meantime died. by registered mail or by personal delivery. may be decided by them wherever they may be if so requested by any of the parties and endorsed by the incumbent Presiding Judges through the Office of the Court Administrator. If a party therefore so desires. the succeeding judge must then inform the parties that the previous judge who heard the case. This will avoid the "renvoir" of records and the possibility of an irritant between the judges concerned. with notice of such fact to the Court Administrator.

" hence. does not have any effect on the validity of the decision or resolution of either the transferred judge or the new judge..M." In the same vein. 160540. 4594. to establish an orderly system for the management and disposition of cases of a trial court in the event of transfer. It does not touch upon any jurisdictional issue and. i. It intends to prevent conflict between the transferred judge and the new judge. he cannot feign denial of due process (Pascual vs. Nonetheless.) Eventually. This is to minimize.e. 2007). accused-appellant was sufficiently given the opportunity to be heard. 04-5-19-SC. Contrary to accused-appellant’s averment. People. or promotion of its presiding judge. a situation of "case-grabbing. No. due process was not denied to the . (Emphases supplied. No. 04-5-19-SC. where.authority from the Court Administrator. Under A. in turn.M. while Judge Vasquez may face administrative liability (after appropriate administrative proceedings) for his failure to comply with A. Worth reproducing herein are the pronouncements of the Court of Appeals on the matter: Contrary to accused-appellant’s argument. 2006 in Criminal Case No. No. it bears to stress that he was not at all denied of due process. 334 SCRA 20. "judges who are promoted or transferred to other stations leave many undecided cases. 04-5-19-SC. he was not denied due process of law just because of Judge Vasquez’s lapses in the observance of A. when the Presiding Judge before whom a case was submitted for decision has already retired from the service. would have authorized Judge Volante to decide the case. to defend himself and to confront his accusers on the offense hurled against him. the Court resolved to adopt guidelines under which "cases assigned to judges who have been transferred. and confusion as to when. thereby unfairly creating additional workload for judges who are subsequently appointed thereto. March 22. 04-5-19-SC actually recognizes that both the transferred judge and the new judge can decide the case but gives consideration to the preference of the parties. No. Judge Vasquez should have endorsed the case to the OCA.M. 4594 is completely valid absent any showing that it had been rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or in violation of accused-appellant’s constitutional right to due process. 04-5-19-SC is primarily administrative. G. reassignment.M.As in this case. and how case records shall be transferred and decisions shall be promulgated in such cases.M. Judge Volante was the presumed choice of plaintiff-appellee and the expressed option of accusedappellant to decide Criminal Case No. which. if not totally avoid. the judge assigned to the branch to take over the case submitted for decision must automatically assume the responsibility of deciding the case. No. No.M. the Court observed in the Whereas Clauses of A. detailed or assigned to any branch within or outside the judicial region of the same court or promoted to a higher court shall be managed and decided. Calimag. Hence.04-5-19-SC that despite existing administrative circulars and its Resolution in Mabunay. Indeed. 26 [2000]). As held by the Supreme Court. A. his Decision dated August 31.R. in general. No." It is clear from the foregoing that the reason behind A. due process means giving every contending party the opportunity to be heard and the court to consider every piece of evidence presented in their favor (Co vs. When a party has been afforded a chance to present his or her own side.

Competente.23 Furthermore. In People v. paidP500. Alfredo: "The circumstance that the Judge who rendered the judgment was not the one who heard the witnesses. Citing People v. Even a cursory perusal of the Decision would show that it was based on the evidence presented during trial and that it was carefully studied. Paling. and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment thereof. the transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the trial were extant and complete. handed to PO2 Aldea a small heat-sealed plastic sachet containing 0. . the Court concludes that the factual findings of RTC Judge Vasquez.) Further. PO2 Aldea. it was sufficiently shown that the PDEA and the PNP-CIDG jointly conducted a legitimate buy-bust operation against accused-appellant on February 21.0953 grams of shabu. this Court held in People v. the following elements must concur: (1) the identities of the buyer and seller. who. are sufficiently supported by the evidence on record.accused-appellant by the mere issuance of a judge of a decision based on the records despite the fact that said judge was not the one who conducted the trial and receive the evidence of the parties.00 to accused-appellant. In the prosecution for the crime of illegal sale of prohibited drugs. there was no impediment for the judge to decide the case. "it is not unusual for a judge who did not try a case in its entirety to decide it on the basis of the records on hand. knowledge and observation of ordinary men. especially where the evidence on record is sufficient to support its conclusion. the situation wherein the judge rendering the decision in a case was not the same judge who heard the case and received evidence from the parties is not new or unique. Such reliance does not violate substantive and procedural due process of law. First. in turn." Considering that. does not detract from the validity of the verdict of conviction. coupled with the presentation in court of the substance seized as evidence. with testimonies on direct and cross examination as well as questions from the Court carefully passed upon. Second." (Emphasis in the original.24 the Court upheld the validity of such a decision.) Upon review. (Citations omitted. ratiocinating that: The fact that the trial judge who rendered judgment was not the one who had the occasion to observe the demeanor of the witnesses during trial but merely relied on the records of the case does not render the judgment erroneous. the very same sachet of shabu sold by accused-appellant to PO2 Aldea was presented as evidence by the prosecution during trial. 25 The prosecution herein was able to duly establish all the essential elements of the crime charged against accused-appellant. as affirmed by the Court of Appeals." This is because the judge "can rely on the transcripts of stenographic notes and calibrate the testimonies of witnesses in accordance with their conformity to common experience.2003. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually occurred. and consideration. as the poseur-buyer. object. in the instant case.

9165 which requires that the drugs seized must be physically inventoried and photographed immediately after seizure and confiscation in the presence of the accused or his representative or counsel. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. accused-appellant additionally argues that the prosecution cannot rely on the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties by the police officers. to photograph. seized and/or surrendered. and to mark the shabu at the place of arrest do not automatically render it inadmissible in evidence or impair the integrity of the chain of its custody. and any elected public official. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items. plant sources of dangerous drugs.26 Of particular significance to the present case is the following discussion of the Court on Section 21(1) of Republic Act No. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. 9165 in People v. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. On that premise. Cortez. for proper disposition in the following manner: (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. the Department of Justice (DOJ). Accused-appellant’s assertions are bereft of merit. Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. Resurreccion 27: Jurisprudence tells us that the failure to immediately mark seized drugs will not automatically impair the integrity of chain of custody. Cognizant of this fact.Accused-appellant though protests that the prosecution failed to prove with moral certainty that the sachet of shabu presented before the RTC was the same one he allegedly sold during the buy-bust operations since the police officers who had initial custody and control thereof neither showed an inventory nor a photograph taken of the same. Jurisprudence has already decreed that the failure of the police officers to make a physical inventory. 21(1). the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9165 on the handling and disposition of seized dangerous drugs provides as follows: "SECTION 21. As we held in People v. or his/her representative or counsel. II of RA 9165does not necessarily render an accused’s arrest illegal or the items seized or confiscated from him inadmissible. The failure to strictly comply with Sec. a representative from the media. and that assuming it was marked. Accused-appellant contends that the police officers disregarded Section 21(1) of Republic Act No. as these would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. a representative from the media and the . controlled precursors and essential chemicals. Art. immediately after seizure and confiscation. testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain an unbroken chain. the marking was not immediately done after its seizure and confiscation at the place where he was apprehended. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals.

the integrity and evidentiary value of the sachet of shabu presented in evidence against accused-appellant was properly preserved in substantial compliance with Section 21(1) of Republic Act No. in case of warrantless seizures. its transfer to the police laboratory for examination. Gum-Oyen. P/SUPT Arroyo was the forensic officer who conducted the chemical examination of the contents of the sachet bearing PO2 Aldea’s initials and she confirmed on the wit stand that the said contents tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. Provided.Department of Justice (DOJ). and its presentation as evidence before the RTC." or where said marking should be done: "What Section 21 of R. in People v. citations omitted. No. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items x x x. "Immediate confiscation" has no exact definition. explains that RA 9165 does not specify a time frame for "immediate marking. testimony that included the marking of the seized items at the police station and in the presence of the accused was sufficient in showing compliance with the rules on chain of custody. 9165 and its implementing rule do not expressly specify is the matter of "marking" of the seized items in warrantless seizures to ensure that the evidence seized upon apprehension is the same evidence subjected to inventory and photography when these activities are undertaken at the police station rather than at the place of arrest. then. He also personally submitted the same sachet of shabu to the PNP crime laboratory for forensic examination.A. (Emphases supplied.9165. during the buy-bust operation. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. it being kept in police custody while awaiting trial. PO2 Aldea identified the sachet of Shabu and confirmed his initials thereon. whichever is practicable. the poseur-buyer. Sanchez. Provided. that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. . People v. Thus. or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. the chain of custody of the sachet of shabu sold by accused-appellant could be continuously traced from its receipt by PO2Aldea. however." Accused-appellant broaches the view that SA Isidoro’s failure to mark the confiscated shabu immediately after seizure creates a reasonable doubt as to the drug’s identity. Thus. PO2 Aldea himself marked the said sachet of shabu with his initials upon arriving at the police station with the arrested accused-appellant. Consistency with the "chain of custody" rule requires that the "marking" of the seized items – to truly ensure that they are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in evidence –should be done (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator (2) immediately upon confiscation.) In this case. When he testified before the RTC. Marking upon immediate confiscation contemplates even marking at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending team. what is required is that the marking be made in the presence of the accused and upon immediate confiscation. further. as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team." To be able to create a first link in the chain of custody.

in the absence of evidence that they have been inspired by an improper or ill motive. Accused-appellant's assertion that all evidence to exculpate him is in the custody of the police is only too convenient and fails to convince the Court to waive away the requisite burden of evidence. Moreso. and launch a concerted and elaborate plan to put accused-appellant in jail. because the jurisprudential doctrine that factual findings of the trial court are binding upon the appellate courts does not apply when the trial court judge who decided the case was not the same judge who held trial and heard the testimonies of the witnesses. 1âwphi1 Once more. and even Judge Bagagfian. the Court is not swayed by accused-appellant’s arguments. an alleged police informant/asset. coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti. Accused-appellant argues that the RTC erred in giving credence to the evidence of the prosecution rather than that of accused-appellant.Lastly. Inconsistencies and discrepancies in the testimony referring to minor details and not upon the basic aspect of the crime do not diminish the witnesses’ credibility.00 bills used in the said operation to PO2 Aldea or who were their companions in their respective vehicles on the way back to Camp General Simeon Ola after the operation.28 In addition. an inconsistency. the defenses of denial and frame-up must be proved with strong and convincing evidence.29 which accused-appellant failed to produce in this case. who caught accused-appellant in flagrante delicto. accused-appellant’s defense of frame-up cannot prevail over the prosecution witnesses’ positive testimonies on the conduct of a legitimate buy-bust operation against accused-appellant. In contrast. during the preliminary investigation conducted by Judge Bagagñan. according to accused-appellant. accused-appellant attempts to raise doubts on the veracity of the prosecution witnesses’ testimonies. is not a ground to reverse a conviction. that he could not even recall the name of the poseur-buyer. as compared to the accused's defenses of denial and frame-up. accused-appellant proffers his clear and consistent defenses of denial and frame-up. As aptly pointed out by both the RTC and the Court of Appeals. The testimonies of police officers. and the Court of Appeals similarly erred when it simply relied on the assessment of witnesses’ credibility by the RTC. Also cause for suspicion. accused-appellant could have bolstered his defenses by presenting witnesses who could attest that he was. to turn against accused-appellant. There is absolute lack of reason or motive for the police. . was PO3 Zamora’s purported statement. In order to prosper. a "confidential informant" or an "asset" of the police. He calls attention to alleged inconsistencies between the narratives of PO2 Aldea and PO3 Zamora as to the details of the buy-bust operation. which have been invariably viewed with disfavor for the same can easily be concocted. in fact. which has nothing to do with the elements of a crime. such as who actually marked and gave the five P100. are usually credited with more weight and credence. He explains that he could hardly be expected to provide evidence that he was merely an informant and poseur-buyer during the buy-bust operation against Contreras since such evidence is precisely in the possession of the police. or who could corroborate the existence of Danny Contreras. The inconsistencies alluded to by accused-appellant in the prosecution witnesses’ testimonies are trifling and pertain to minor details which do not affect any of the elements of the crime charged.

I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.R.H. A. REYES Associate Justice ESTELA M. SERENO Chief Justice Chairperson BIENVENIDO L.C. SERENO Chief Justice Footnotes * ** Per Special Order No. 1545 (Revised) dated September 16. the Decision dated May 27. the imposition by the RTC of the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500. under Article II. TERESITA J.000. the Court finds no cogent reason to deviate from the judgment of conviction rendered against accused-appellant by the RTC and affirmed by the Court of Appeals. 1537 (Revised) dated September 6. regardless of the quantity and purity involved.00) upon accused-appellant. Section 5 of Republic Act No. WHEREFORE.000. is correct. LEONEN** Associate Justice C E R T I F I C AT I O N Pursuant to Section 13. The penalty for illegal sale of shabu. CR. PERLAS-BERNABE* Associate Justice MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. Per Special Order No. likewise affirmed by the Court of Appeals.000. 2008 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. A. MARIA LOURDES P. 2013. . shall be life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging t1·om Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500.In consideration of all the foregoing. Article VIII of the Constitution.00).00) to Ten Million Pesos (P10. 02481 is AFFIRMED in toto. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO Associate Justice WE CONCUR: MARIA LOURDES P. No. 9165. SO ORDERED. Hence.000. 2013.

9 Id. p. Tijam and Ramon M. 17. pp. 18 Id. at 41-42. 25. 2005. 8 Records. 20 Id. 5 TSN. January 30. 16 Records. 2003. October 2. August 10. 181. 21 Rollo. 17-21. 7. . concurring.. 3 Records. July 13. 11 Records. p. at 182. Bato. 17 Id. pp. 23 Rollo. at 248. p. Reyes. with Associate Justices Noel G. 2-29. 18. at 249. p. Jr. 243. 1 2 CA rollo. 7 TSN. penned by Judge Angeles S. 15 TSN. August 10. Jr. p. May 5. p.Rollo. 10 Exhibits B-4 and B-5. 704-706 (1998). pp. 2005. 47. Left in the custody of the RTC. p. 2005 and October 6. 2004. 2004 and February 4. 698. p. 2004. 28-47. Vasquez. at 59-60. 13 TSN. 19 CA rollo. 14 Records. 4 Id. 28. 12 TSN. 6 TSN. 22 354 Phil. 2005. penned by Associate Justice Jose C.

PEREZ.html Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Manila THIRD DIVISION PEOPLE OF THEPHILIPPINES.. 603 SCRA 510.versus - G. No. Villahermosa. Accused-Appellant. 653 SCRA 826. 28 People v. GARET SALCENA Y VICTORINO. Jr. 275-276. J. 186380. Castro.. 186465. March 16. 2011. G. ABAD. 834. JR. Chairperson. 645 SCRA 627. June 15. 192261 Present: VELASCO. 193003. G. 269. 2009. http://www. PERALTA. Lazaro. No.24 G. 2011.R. October 16. No. 27 G. No. 518-520.2009.net/judjuris/juri2013/sep2013/gr_185383_2013. 185390.R. 2011.. G. 194836. and . Plaintiff-Appellee. 25 People v.R.R. 650 SCRA 256. . 186418.R. No.R. 29 People v. 408. G. July 13. No. 2011. 636-637. 26 Imson v. June 1. People. October 12. 604 SCRA 250.R. No.lawphil. 652 SCRA 393.

JJ. CR-HC No. conspiring together. zero point zero four gram (0. 2005. confederating with and mutually helping each other. distribute or act as broker in the said transaction. willfully and unlawfully sell.: This is an appeal from the February 9. finding accused Garet Salcena y Victorino (Salcena) guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Section 5. deliver. was charged with illegal sale of shabu. dispense. Q-05-134553. not being authorized by law to sell. did then and there. CONTRARY TO LAW. Branch 103. 2005. Quezon City.000. (RTC) in Criminal Case No.R. dispense.04) of Methylamphetamine hydrochloride.00. Article II of Republic Act (R. Promulgated: November 16. 9165. which affirmed the July 10. transport or distribute any dangerous drug. a dangerous drug.A. 2010 Decision [1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. together with a certain Arlene Morales Armas (Armas). In the Information[3] dated May 24.MENDOZA. 2007 Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court. 2011 x ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION MENDOZA. Philippines. J. otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. deliver. transport. in Quezon City. 02894. the accusatory portion of which reads: That on or about the 19th day of May. . and sentencing her to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and ordering her to pay a fine of ₱500. the said accused. Salcena.) No.

Armas). BSDO Elmer Esguerra (Esguerra). Appellant handed to Catubay a plastic sachet containing shabu and in return received the ₱100 marked money. Upon arriving at the entrapment place. Ronnie Catubay and Elmer Esguerra. another woman (identified in court as Arlene M. at around 5:20 p. the poseur buyer. prompting the tanods to arrest her.. Responding to the report.00 bill by the barangay chairman. The Version of the Prosecution The Peoples version of the incident has been succinctly recited by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in its Brief[5] as follows: In the afternoon of May 19.m. Catubay immediately arrested appellant and recovered from her the marked money. SFDM. namely. The prosecution presented the testimonies of Barangay Security Development Officer(BSDO) Ronnie Catubay (Catubay). an informant reported to the barangay tanods of Barangay San Antonio. Catubay and Esguerra went to appellant and asked if they could buy shabu. After which. Quezon City. trial on the merits ensued. The defense. Just as appellant was apprehended. presented the lone testimony of Salcena. Thereafter. At this point. that appellant Garet was selling illegal drugs. Barangay tanods Catubay and Esguerra were assigned to act as poseur buyer and given a marked ₱100. ran from the scene. the team proceeded to No. Forensic Chemist Filipinas Francisco Papa of the CPD Crime Laboratory conducted the test on the specimen submitted and the result yielded positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride.Quezon City. 2005.[6] After the prosecution had formally offered its evidence and rested. and Forensic Chemist Filipinas Francisco Papa (Papa). After pre-trial was terminated. they were taken to the PNP Headquarter in Camp Karingal in Quezon City.When arraigned. the barangay tanods met in the afternoon and plotted an entrapment against appellant. The two women were brought to the BSDO office of the barangay hall of Barangay San Antonio for recording purposes. 23 Paco Street. on the other hand. SFDM. coaccused Armas filed a demurrer to evidence anchored on the ground that the . both Salcena and Armas entered a plea of NOT GUILTY[4] to the offense charged.

the RTC granted the demurrer and dismissed the charge against Armas.A. Catubay and Esguerra. Thus: On May 19. 9165 (for pushing shabu) as charged and she is sentenced to suffer a jail term of LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay a fine of ₱500. in flagrante. at around 10:00 oclock in the morning.04 gram of shabu. Consequently. a plastic sachet was taken from the table of one of the tanods and planted as evidence against the accused. . the lady tanod said. two (2) barangay tanods stopped their tricycle and asked them to step out.00.evidence adduced by the prosecution failed to meet that quantum of proof necessary to support her criminal conviction for the offense charged. GARET SALCENA and Arlene Armas were on board a tricycle en route to Pantranco. negative ito. however. 2005 is diametrically opposed to that of the prosecution.[7] The Version of the Defense In her Brief. 2005. selling shabu and claimed that she was just a victim of a frame-up. Before they were able to reach their destination. the RTC rendered judgment convicting Salcena for illegal sale of 0.000. Despite this. the duo were invited to the barangay hall where they were bodily frisked by a female barangay tanod. After they were frisked. Her version of the events that transpired in the afternoon of May 19. On March 15. The decretal portion of the RTC Decision reads: ACCORDINGLY. 2007. a male tanod said. kahit na negative yan. Subsequently. She vehemently denied the accusations against her. 2006. positive yan.[8] Salcena denied that she was caught. [9] The Decision of the RTC On July 10. judgment is rendered finding the accused GARET SALCENA y VICTORINO GUILTY of violation of Section 5 of R. The duo was subsequently brought to the Camp Karingal police station. The trial court rejected her defenses of denial and frame-up and accorded weight and credence to the collective testimonies of barangay tanods.

SO ORDERED. SO ORDERED. The appellate court also sustained the RTC in holding that Salcenas constitutional right to counsel was never impaired as she was adequately represented and assisted by a counsel at all stages of the trial proceedings. 9165 and sentencing her to Life Imprisonment and to pay a fine of ₱500.000.[11] On February 22. The appellate court rejected the defense of frameup for her failure to substantiate the same.A. It stated that the prosecution was able to establish the elements of the crime of illegal sale of dangerous drugs as well as the identity of Salcena as its author.00 is hereby AFFIRMED. No. article II of R.The shabu in this case weighing 0.A.04 gram is ordered transmitted to the PDEA thru DDB for disposal as per RA 9165. the CA held that the apprehending team properly observed the procedure outlined by Section 21 of R. in view of the foregoing. the CA affirmed the conviction of the accused on the basis of the testimonies of Catubay and Esguerra which it found credible and sufficient to sustain the conviction. Salcena filed a Notice of Appeal[12] which the CA gave due course in its Minute Resolution[13] datedMarch 17. Branch 103. The CA was of the view that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty in favor of the barangay tanods was not sufficiently controverted by Salcena. 9165 and that the integrity and evidentiary value of the subject shabu was duly preserved. . Moreover. Q-05-134553 convicting accusedappellant of the violation of Section 11. 2007 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). The dispositive portion of the CA Decision dated February 9. No.[10] The Decision of the CA On appeal. Quezon City in Criminal Case No. 2010 reads: WHEREFORE. the appealed Decision dated July 10. 2010. 2010.

The parties. 2010. No. Also.A.In the Resolution dated July 2. . the Court required the parties to file their respective supplemental briefs. She adds that the omission of the two barangay tanods to observe the procedure outlined by Section 21 of R. Salcena contends that the prosecution failed to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Salcena ascribes to the RTC the following errors: I THE TRIAL COURT VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO COUNSEL. however. She avers that both the RTC and the CA were mistaken in giving undue credence to the testimonies of Catubay and Esguerra as well as in upholding the validity of the alleged buy-bust operation. She assails the prosecution for its failure to establish the proper chain of custody of the shabu allegedly seized from her. she submits that her acquittal is in order in the light of the denial of her basic constitutional rights to counsel and to due process.[14] The Issues Insisting on her innocence. manifested that they had exhausted their arguments before the CA and. She decries that she was a victim of a frame-up claiming that a barangay tanod merely planted the subject shabu on her for the purpose of harassing her. III THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN RENDERING A JUDGMENT OF CONVICTION DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY OF THE ALLEGED SHABU WAS NEVER ESTABLISHED. 9165 impaired the prosecutions case. would no longer file any supplemental brief. thus. II ACCUSED-APPELLANTS THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN RENDERING A VERDICT OF CONVICTION DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT WAS NOT PROVEN BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

A. appreciate and correct errors in the appealed judgment whether they are assigned or unassigned. True. counters that the culpability of Salcena for the crime of illegal sale of shabu was proven beyond reasonable doubt. a deviation from the general rule is justified. as a rule. The Courts Ruling: The foregoing assignment of errors can be synthesized into: first. the trial courts assessment of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies. and that the prosecution was able to establish an unbroken and cohesive chain of custody of the confiscated narcotic substance. it must be emphasized that an appeal in a criminal case throws the whole case open for review and it is the duty of the appellate court to cite. the core issue of whether there was a valid buy-bust operation. however.[15] After a meticulous review and examination of the evidence on record. This rule. Prefatorily. the Court finds merit in the appeal. . whether sufficient evidence exists to support Salcenas conviction for violation of Section 5. hence. and second. misapprehended or misapplied by the trial court. on the other hand. It avers that there was proper coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) before the buy-bust operation was conducted. she was afforded with adequate and effective legal representation at all stages of the trial. Article III of R. It alleges that contrary to her stance.The OSG. No. 9165. does not apply where it is shown that any fact of weight and substance has been overlooked.[16] The case at bar falls under the above exception and. is entitled to great weight and will not be disturbed on appeal.

Accordingly. which in recent years has been accepted as valid and effective mode of arresting violators of the Dangerous Drugs Law. but must apply with studied restraint. and (3) that the buyer and seller were identified. material and competent evidence. In determining the credibility of prosecuting witnesses regarding the conduct of a legitimate buy-bust operation. A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment. An assiduous evaluation of the evidence on record in its totality exposes flaws in the prosecution evidence which raises doubt as to its claim of an entrapment operation.Jurisprudence has firmly entrenched that in the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs.[20] The prosecution seeks to prove the entrapment operation through the testimonies of barangay tanods Catubay and Esguerra. Not all the elements necessary for the conviction of Salcena for illegal sale of shabu were clearly established in this case.[18] It has been proven to be an effective way of unveiling the identities of drug dealers and of luring them out of obscurity. the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty by law enforcement agents. coupled with the presentation in court of the confiscated prohibited or regulated drug as evidence. De Guzman[21] is utilized. the objective test as laid down in People v.[19] To determine whether there was a valid entrapment or whether proper procedures were undertaken in effecting the buy-bust operation. Courts are duty-bound to exercise extra vigilance in trying drug cases and should not allow themselves to be used as instruments of abuse and injustice lest innocent persons are made to suffer the unusually severe penalties for drug offenses. [17] Implicit in all these is the need for proof that the transaction or sale actually took place. it is incumbent upon the courts to make sure that the details of the operation are clearly and adequately established through relevant. the following essential elements must be proven: (1) that the transaction or sale took place. The courts cannot merely rely on. (2) the corpus delicti or the illicit drug was presented as evidence. Thus: . the innocence or culpability of Salcena hinges on the issue of their credibility.

the .buyer while BSDO Esguerra and the rest of the members. who were police officers. unsupported by coherent and rational amplification. and the delivery of the illegal drug.We therefore stress that the objective test in buy-bust operation demands that the details of the purported transaction must be clearly and adequately shown. 2005 (Exh. whether to the informant alone or the police officer. and their testimonies before the RTC. the payment of the buy-bust money. relative to matters occurring prior to the buy-bust operation. Ratuita). would serve as members of the back-up team. The Joint Affidavit states that a confidential informant (CI) came to the Barangay Security and Development Office(BSDO) at around 8:00 oclock in the morning of May 19. that upon arrival of the team at the agreed meeting place in front of Palamigan store. that Salcena asked the CI to look for buyers of her shabu. that Dino coordinated with the Chief of DAID-SOTG. The Court finds loose ends in the prosecution evidence. must be the subject of strict scrutiny by courts to insure that law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an offense. Arlene Armas. First. the offer for purchase. Police Superintendent Gerardo Ratuita (P/Supt. there are marked discrepancies between the Joint Affidavit of Arrest[22] dated May 21. This must start from the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and the pusher. Applying this objective test. the offer to purchase the drug. the Court is of the considered view that the prosecution failed to present a complete picture of the buy-bust operation highlighted by the disharmony and inconsistencies in its evidence. Barangay San Antonio. 2005 to inform Barangay Captain Martin Dino (Dino) about the illegal drug trade activities of Salcena and her companion. B) executed by the barangay tanods. The manner by which the initial contact was made. whether or not through an informant. Gatus) as team leader. Catubay and Esguerra. the promise or payment of the consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal drug subject of the sale. who immediately formed a team to conduct a buy-bust operation against Salcena and Armas composed of a certain Police Inspector Alberto Gatus(P/Insp. BSDO Catubay as poseur.

Witness. Q: Can you tell this Honorable Court what information that informant relayed to your office? A: According to the informant si Garet raw po ipapaano roon. Catubays testimony. 2005? A: I was at the Barangay Hall Q: What barangay is that? A: Barangay San Antonio. Q: Who were with you when you went there? A: Elmer and I. Q: Who received that information? A: I and my colleague BSDO by the name of Elmer Esguerra. sir. Q: What do you mean by Nagbebenta? A: Nagbebenta ng droga.CI and Catubay waited for Salcena and Armas while Esguerra and the other team members monitored the process of entrapment from a viewing distance. District 1. was in stark contrast to the above declaration. Nio Street. Sto. Q: What time was that? A: About 5:30 in the afternoon . xxx Q: How about in the afternoon of May 19? A: In the afternoon the informant arrived at the barangay office. xxx Q: What was the action taken by you and your companion with respect to that information? A: We went to the place pointed out by the informant somewhere near San Antonio.[23] [Emphases supplied] . Thus: Fiscal Gibson Araula (On Direct Examination) Q: Mr. however. do you remember where were you in the morning of May 19. nagbebenta.

During cross-examination, Catubay maintained that he and Esguerra (not the
barangay chairman) were the ones informed by the CI about the drug pushing
activities of Salcena in the afternoon (not 8:00 oclock in the morning) of May 19,
2005 and that they were the only ones who went to the place named by the CI for
the conduct of the alleged buy-bust operation without the aid and support of any
police operative.
Atty. Concepcion
(Cross-examination)
Q: YOU SAID ON May 19, 2005 in the afternoon, you and certain BSDO
Elmer received information from confidential informant that Garet is
selling shabu, mr. witness?
A: Yes sir.
Q: You and Elmer proceeded to the place where that confidential informant
was telling this Garet is selling shabu, mr. witness?
A: Yes sir.
Q: With no other companion, no police officer, you conducted the buy bust
operation, mr. witness?
A: Yes sir.
xxx
Q: When you decided, you and Elmer decided to conduct the buy bust
operation, what preparation did you made, mr. witness?
A: We have a briefing sir.
Q: Can you tell us what the briefing all about between you and Elmer, mr.
witness?
A: Ako ang bibili at siya ang huhuli po.[24]
[Emphases supplied]

What then happened to the entrapment team which was supposedly formed for the
purpose of arresting Salcena red-handedly, and whose members were individually
named and enumerated in the Pre-Operation Report [25] (Exh. H)? They seemed to
have suddenly vanished into thin air when the operation was about to be set into
motion. Was an entrapment team really organized?

Second, Catubay and Esguerra made it appear in their joint affidavit that it
was the CI who had access to Salcena and who was tasked by the latter to look for
prospective buyers and to arrange for the sale and delivery of the shabu. While at
the witness stand, however, these two barangay tanods claimed that they directly
approached Salcena and bought shabu from her without the intervention and
participation of the CI. Should it not have been the CI, who was the conduit to the
pusher, who should have arranged for such a meeting?
The Court finds it hard to believe that these two barangay tanods were able
to pick the propitious time to be in front of the Palamigan store, Barangay San
Antonio, to consummate the alleged sale with Salcena who conveniently appeared
thereat. It must be stressed that neither Catubay nor Esguerra testified that the CI
arranged the time of the meeting with the alleged drug pusher and, yet, they
astoundingly guessed the time that Salcena would turn up on the scene.
Third, another slant that nags the mind of the Court is the confused narration
of prosecution witness Catubay anent how the sale occurred. The Court finds it
hard to believe the testimony of Catubay on the transaction he had with Salcena:
Fiscal Araula:
(On Direct Examination)
Q: When you arrived at that place what happened there?
A: I myself was intending to buy from Garet.
Q: Where?
A: Sa harap ng palamigan doon sa No. 32 yata.
Q: Where you able to talk to that person at that time?
A: I did not, I was not able to talk to her.
Q: You were not able to talk to her at that time?
A: Yes, sir.
xxx
Q: When the two of you were not able to talk to Garet, what did you do, if
any?

A: I was intending to buy shabu.
Q: To whom?
A: Garet and I did not talk to each other since I was buying shabu
nagkaabutan lang ho kami.
xxx
Q: In other words you were able to talk to Garet?
Court:
Abutan lang daw, walang usapan.
xxx
Q: How about the money you mentioned between the two of you that
person you mentioned Garet, what is the first, the money you gave to
Garet or Garet gave you the shabu?
A: Garet first gave the shabu and I gave her the money.
Q: Now when you said that you received the shabu in exchange to (sic)
P100.00 bill, what did you do after?
A: After I got the shabu we immediately arrested Garet.[26]
xxx
Q: Now, you said that you arrested Garet at that time, how about your c0BSDO officer, where was he?
A: In my right side.[27]
[Emphases Supplied]

Not even the barest conversation took place between the poseur-buyer and
the alleged drug peddler. Catubay, along with Esguerra, approached Salcena and
then the latter instantly handed over to him a small heat-sealed transparent plastic
containing suspected shabu. In turn, Catubay gave Salcena a ₱100.00 bill.
Thereafter, the barangay tanod arrested Salcena. The situation was simply
ludicrous.
The Court is not unaware that drug transactions are usually conducted
stealthily and covertly and, hence, the parties usually employed the kaliwaan
system or the simultaneous exchange of money for the drugs. Still, it baffles the
mind how Salcena knew exactly who between Catubay and Esguerra would buy

00 bill? A: I also got the money from Garet. Ratuita and the Joint Affidavit of Arrest that it was Esguerra who confiscated the buy-bust money from the right palm of Armas because. signs or gestures. the ₱100. seemingly trivial when viewed in isolation. Salcena passed the money to Armas. Fourth. equally damaging to the cause of the prosecution is the confusion that marks its evidence as to who confiscated the buy-bust money and from whom it was seized. It simply does not conform to the natural course of things. however. claimed that he recovered the buy-bust money from Salcena herself. Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but it must also be credible in itself such that common experience and observation of mankind lead to the inference of its probability under the circumstances. Catubay.[30] The foregoing conflicting narrations and improbabilities. however. It was stated in both the Investigation Report [29] submitted by P/Supt. cast serious doubt on the credibility of the prosecution witnesses when considered together. Unfortunately.shabu. and how much would be the subject of the transaction despite the absence of an offer to purchase shabu. Court: You mean to say you put your hand inside her pocket? A: Yes. your Honor. It should be stressed. through words. allegedly.[28] Catubays story of silent negotiation is just not credible. they were glossed over by the RTC and the CA invoking the presumption that barangay tanod Catubay and Esguerra were in the regular performance of their bounden duties at the time of the incident. this presumption cannot prevail over the constitutional right of the accused to be . made by either of the two tanods. immediately after receiving the ₱100. Q: Where in particular. Q: Likewise when you arrested Garet where was the buy-bust money. what part of her body? A: Right pants pocket of her pantalon.00 bill. that while the court is mindful that the law enforcers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties.

Moreover. Angelito Tan[32] that courts are mandated to put the prosecution evidence through the crucible of a severe testing and that the presumption of innocence requires them to take a more than casual consideration of every circumstance or doubt favoring the innocence of the accused. the Court finds the prosecution fatally remiss in establishing an unbroken link in the chain of custody of the allegedly seized shabu. Proof beyond reasonable doubt demands that unwavering exactitude be observed in establishing the corpus delicti the body of the crime whose core is the confiscated illicit drug. The chain of custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. Kamad. Thus. In the case at bench. constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. by itself.[35] the Court enumerated the links that the prosecution must establish in the chain of custody in a buy-bust situation to be as follows: first. the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer.[34] In People v. Viewed vis--vis the peculiar factual milieu of this case. every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be established. when placed under severe testing. it is pertinent to mention the ruling in the case of People v. of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer.[33] Hence. the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory . does not prove with moral certainty that a legitimate buy-bust operation was conducted against Salcena. doubt is engendered on whether the object evidence subjected to laboratory examination and offered in court is the same as that allegedly sold by Salcena. if practicable. third. the prosecution evidence. the seizure and marking.presumed innocent and it cannot.[31] The attendant circumstances negate the presumption accorded to these prosecution witnesses. second.

the prosecution failed to supply vital details as to who marked the sachet. Neither did he claim that he retained possession until it reached the police station. It is significant to note that the testimonies of poseur-buyer Catubay and his back-up.examination. and fourth. Martinez. the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized from the forensic chemist to the court. The RTC wrote: x x x. In passing. In People v. and (2) immediately upon confiscation in order to protect innocent persons from dubious and concocted searches and to shield the apprehending officers as well from harassment suits based on planting of evidence and on allegations of robbery or theft. lack specifics on the post-seizure custody and handling of the subject narcotic substance. Although Catubay testified that he seized the small plastic sachet containing the suspected shabu from Salcena and brought it to the BSDO office. he never disclosed the identity of the person/s who had control and possession of the shabu at the time of its transportation to the police station. Tanod Catubay recalls that he marked the sachet but could not remember if it is RC or GV.[37] . Esguerra. Furthermore. to truly ensure that they were the same items that enter the chain and were eventually the ones offered in evidence. These links in the chain of custody were not adequately established by the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and the documentary records of the case. Records show that both the RTC and the CA agreed in holding that it was Catubay who marked the plastic sachet containing the subject shabu. where and how the same was done. Tanod Esguerra said he saw Tanod Catubay put markings thereon and remembers the letters RC which letters appear on the sachet.[36] the Court ruled that the "marking" of the seized items. and who witnessed the marking. should be done (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator. the court is satisfied that the plastic sachet at bench was properly identified.

Esguerra remembered that Catubay marked the plastic sachet with the initials RC and Catubay. however. witness? A: I could not recall if it is RC or G[V] sir. [40] Neither was there any statement from Catubay that he placed markings on the plastic sachet of shabu right after seizing it from Salcena.Excerpts from the assailed CA Decision on this score is hereto quoted. [41] Verily. it was shown to the satisfaction of the Court that when the sale transaction was consummated. In the instant case. what is the relation. shows that these observations are not reflected.[38] xxx. RC or G[V]. am I correct to say that. Q: Why cant you remember. Mr. who placed the necessary markings in the confiscated items. Mr. Thus: Atty. Concepcion: (On Cross. Q: G[V]? A: I dont know what it means sir.Examination) Q: You identified the buy bust money because of the initial GB. to wit: xxx. Contrary to the findings of the RTC and CA. witness? A: RC refers to Ronnie Catubay sir. the records of the case do not provide for the identity of the officer who placed the marking RC GVS 5-19-05 on the plastic sachet containing the . All that he testified to was that he could identify the subject shabu because it had the marking RC. there is nothing on record that Esguerra made a categorical declaration that he saw Catubay put the marking RC on the plastic sachet. In fact. the shabu was first handed-over to the poseur-buyer.[39] A perusal of the pertinent Transcript of Stenographic Notes. on the other hand. cannot remember if the markings he made is GB or RC. Catubay claimed that he could not remember whether the marking was RC or GV.

the subject 0. stored and safeguarded pending its offer as evidence in court. tampering.[43] They were not given an opportunity to testify either as to the condition of the item in the interim that the evidence was in their possession and control. the prosecution failed to do so. While a perfect chain of custody is almost always impossible to achieve. In the case at bench. from the time the shabu was retrieved from Salcena during the buy-bust operation to its submission to the forensic chemist until its presentation before the RTC. the subject shabu was still in the possession of the forensic chemist as manifested by Assistant City Prosecutor Gibson Araula. Neither BSDO Catubay nor BSDO Esguerra was confronted with the subject shabu for proper identification and observation of the uniqueness of the subject narcotic substance when they were called to the witness stand because at that time. It is likewise noteworthy that the prosecution evidence is wanting as to the identity of the police investigator to whom the buy-bust team turned over the seized item. Jr. no evidence was adduced showing how the seized shabu was handled.04 gram of shabu was never identified by the witnesses in court. as to the identity of the person who submitted the specimen to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory. and as to who exercised custody and possession of the specimen after the chemical examination and before it was offered in court. contamination and even substitution and exchange. each and every link in the custody must be accounted for.allegedly confiscated shabu and whether said marking had been done in the presence of Salcena.[42] Accordingly. as to whether the forensic chemist whose name appeared in the chemistry report was the one who received the subject shabu when it was forwarded to the crime laboratory. Further. Lastly. an unbroken chain becomes indispensable and essential in the prosecution of drug cases owing to its susceptibility to alteration. Said flaw militates against the prosecutions cause because it not only casts doubt on the identity of the corpus .

Esguerra testified on this matter. your Honor. Court: Okay. can you identify that transparent plastic sachet? A: Yes. Q: Why? A: Because it has a marking. Im going to reserve the right to identify the shabu. What happened after that? A: We brought them to Camp Karingal and turned them over together with the evidences. Q: What was the marking there that your companion was able to buy shabu from Garet at that time.delicti but also tends to discredit. sir. sir.[44] x x x. Q: You said you were able to turn over the shabu and the money. what marking was placed? . the claim of regularity in the conduct of the entrapment operation. Q: Other than that you mentioned the one that you recovered. sir. as follows: Q: The two accused were arrested at that time. you cannot identify the shabu other than what you mentioned now? A: Makikilala po. Can you identify that shabu and the money? A: Yes. That is the one we got from her so we can remember it. The records bare the following: Fiscal Gibson Araula (On Direct Examination) Q: If the transparent plastic sachet is shown to you. if not negate. granted. Q: How will you know that that is the shabu? A: I knew it yun ang nahuli naming. Fiscal Araula: By the way your Honor the shabu was in possession of the chemist.

In Catuiran v. In the light of the failure of the prosecution evidence to pass the test of moral certainty. a slightest doubt should be resolved in favor of the accused.[49] .[48] In dubio pro reo. and the irregularity which characterized the handling of the evidence before the same was finally offered in court. Suffice it to say. In view of the loopholes in the prosecution evidence as well as the gaps in the chain of custody. does not advance the cause of the prosecution because its evidence must stand or fall on its own weight and cannot be allowed to draw strength from the weakness of the defense. may we reserve the right to present the transparent plastic sachet? Court: Okay. however. This. Fiscal Araula: Your Honor.A: RC Q: How about the money? A: RC din po sir. fatally conflicted with every proposition relative to the culpability of the accused. Concededly. the prosecution never presented the transparent plastic sachet for identification by the two barangay tanods. the evidence for the defense is weak and uncorroborated and could even engender belief that Salcena indeed perpetrated the crime charged. [47] The prosecution has the burden to overcome the presumption of innocence and prove the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt. granted.[45] Despite the reservation of the right. a reversal of Salcenas judgment of conviction becomes inevitable. People. there is no assurance that the identity and integrity of the subject narcotic substance has not been compromised. The Constitution mandates that an accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved.[46] the Court held that the failure of the prosecution to offer the testimony of key witnesses to establish a sufficiently complete chain of custody of a specimen of shabu.

within five (5) days from receipt hereof. SO ORDERED.WHEREFORE. JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA Associate Justice WE CONCUR: . 2010 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. accused Garet Salcena y Victorino is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime charged against her and ordered immediately RELEASED from custody. Accordingly. 02894 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. CR-HC No. of the date when Salcena was actually released from confinement. the appeal is GRANTED. The Superintendent of the Correctional Institution for Women is ORDERED to forthwith implement this decision and toINFORM this Court. The February 9.R. unless she is being held for some other lawful cause.

JR. VELASCO. PERALTA ROBERTO A. ABAD Associate Justice Associate Justice JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ Associate Justice . Associate Justice Chairperson DIOSDADO M.PRESBITERO J.

Salazar. pp. Jr. CORONA Chief Justice  Designated as additional member in lieu of Associate Justice Estela M. at 99. [5] CA rollo. per Special Order No. 1-2. [8] CA rollo. CA rollo. 72-74. [10] Id. pp. [3] Records.. 2-20. [1] Rollo. [4] Id. pp. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. Associate Justice Chairperson.AT T E S TAT I O N I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. at 34. Third Division C E R T I F I C AT I O N Pursuant to Section 13. RENATO C. [7] Records. pp. Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairpersons Attestation. at 62-64. at 16. [9] Id. [2] Penned by Judge Jaime N. [6] Id. 2011. at 100-101. Perlas-Bernabe. JR. PRESBITERO J. 29-46. pp. 57-75. [11] Id. pp. [12] Id. at 38. . 1152 dated November 11. VELASCO. 12-16.

p. September 29. 2007. De la Cruz. G. 2010. 2007. 506 (1999). 151205. November 23. October 29. 2008. November 30. Regional Director. 8-12. 2005] P/SR. G. [49] Latin legal maxim which literally means when in doubt. G. November 15. No. December 13. at 35-37. 2010. June 9.ph/jurisprudence/2011/november2011/192261. 2005. G. 191366. 2005. 2005. 431 SCRA 516. p. p.R. No. December 14. [20] Valdez v. 556 SCRA 421.R. November 30. 439. [26] TSN. Baga.4-5. 307-308. pp. 2005. pp. G. 178876. [47] People v. 61-62. March 29. January 19. 2009. 177222. pp. 6-7.R. [30] TSN. Pagaduan. October 17. MABUTAS. 586 SCRA 640. 36. 189844. Santos. 3-7. 8.R. at 97. No. RTJ-03-1817. 91(1997). 171. 493. 538 SCRA 611.R. Concepcion. No. [41] TSN. 570 SCRA 273. November 30. 99. 637 SCRA 791. [17] People v. No. 177163. 2009. [39] Id. 505.R. 186471. 2010.R. SUPT. [24] TSN. 370 Phil. No. [40] TSN. 611 SCRA 118. People. 16. [36] G. G. No. 2008. [33] People v. 179029.gov. 2008. p. for the accused. December 14. 594. [43] TSN. ORLANDO M. 361 Phil. [38] Id.No. [45] Id. 2005. No. [37] CA rollo. June 27. Manambit. Agulay. [35] G. Almorfe. p. November 30. 5-7. 179939. [25] Records. 57.R. 633. 627 SCRA 308. 617 SCRA 52. at 104. G. [34] People v.R. September 26. [22] Records.htm SECOND DIVISION [A. No. 2010. at 14. [29] Records. August 9. [23] TSN. [21] G. [32] 432 Phi. at 84. No.R. 175593. [15] People v.R. Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. No. Rollo. Magat. 644-645. [48] People v. G. De Leon.566 SCRA 571. 2005. January 25. [44] Id.judiciary.R.R. G. 30-36. 174198. 2004. 19 and 37. Milan. April 24. Doria. Balagat. 2010. 567 SCRA 86. 2010. [46] G. Metro Manila Regional . 181747. [19] People v. No. [42] People v. June 8. May 8. [18] People v. 198 (2002).R. 175647. 170180.[13] Id. No. 2008. citing People v. 587 SCRA 567. 621 (1999). 322. 610 SCRA 295. 818. at 15-19. 580. pp. 14-15. 181831. pp.R. pp. 634 SCRA 743. [14] http://sc. [27] Id. pp. 2005. No. 283. 338 Phil. [28] People v. 132. 749. [16] People v. 14. 536 SCRA 489. No. November 30. G. G. [31] People v. 595.M.

a colleague notified him of a scheduled preliminary investigation of Omadans case on the following day (May 6). Perello. Supt. respondent. P/Sr.78 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu). Omadan and her counsel were not around. Regional Director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. When P/Insp. Omadan filed a petition for bail and it was being heard on the same day. complainant. together with PO2 Saturnino Mayonte and PO2 Allan Lising. Muntinlupa City. PO2 Mayonte . 9165. Tuy merely asked them to sign the minutes of the preliminary investigation. Apparently. 03-265. vs. as follows: In the evening of May 5. someone handed P/Insp. June 8. P/Sr. Butuyan a subpoena for the arraignment of Omadan on May 9. TOGONONON. respondent. No. who stated in his report. or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Mabutas complained of certain irregularities committed by respondent Judge in the grant of bail to accused Aiza Chona Omadan in Criminal Case No. JUDGE NORMA C. Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 276) of Muntinlupa City. complainant. 2005] CITY PROSECUTOR EDWARD M. and the police officers were not furnished with a copy of Omadans counteraffidavit. RTJ-04-1820. Butuyan. JUDGE NORMA C. J. RESOLUTION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. Presiding Judge.M. went to the Office of the City Prosecutor. custody and control of 57. Butuyan. with Violation of Section 11 of Republic Act No. vs. Orlando M.Office. Omadan was charged in an Information. 2003. Metro Manila Regional Office. dated April 21. for the possession. 2003. Admin. Mabutass complaint was based on the memorandum submitted by Police Inspector Darwin S. Branch 276. PERELLO. Mabutas. Assistant City Prosecutor (ACP) Florante E. Supt. with no bail recommended. Matter No. During the scheduled arraignment.: Subject matters of the present administrative cases are two complaints against respondent Judge Norma C. they were surprised when ACP Vicente Francisco called PO2 Mayonte to the witness stand. Regional Trial Court. RTJ-03-1817 This case originated from a letter of Police Senior Supt. On May 8. 2003. PERELLO. [A. 2003.

and PO2 Lising asked ACP Francisco for a rescheduling of the hearing because they
were not prepared to testify but the former declined, saying that it is just a motion for
bail. After PO2 Mayonte testified, PO2 Lising asked ACP Francisco to present him as
witness but again, the former declined since his testimony would only be corroborative.
ACP Francisco also presented two (2) barangay tanods.
On May 12, 2003, P/Insp. Butuyan went to deliver a communiqu to ACP Francisco
from P/Sr. Supt. Mabutas requesting that in the event bail was granted, its
implementation be held in abeyance so that the police authorities may file the necessary
motion, and in order to prevent Omadan from escaping. Since ACP Francisco was not
around, they went to Branch 276 to secure a copy of the motion for bail. However, the
police officers were shocked to learn that Omadan has already been released on
a P1,000,000.00 bail on May 9, 2003, which was a Friday. Court personnel also
informed them that they spent overtime work for the processing of the release papers.
They asked for a copy of the transcript of stenographic notes of the hearing held on May
9, 2003, but it was not available.
Respondent Judges Order dated May 9, 2003, granting Omadans petition for bail,
reads in part:

Clearly, the evidence of guilt is not very strong for the denial of the bail. It was not
proven that the object that SPO1 Mayonte allegedly saw wrapped in a tissue paper
was indeed methamphetamine hydrochloride. He is not very sure if the specimen was
in fact subjected to an analysis to determine what it was. There is also no specifying
the quantity of the item.
There also seem to be an irregularity in the service of the search warrant for it was
NOT witnessed by two disinterested persons. Admittedly two Barangay Tanods were
brought to the residence of accused, but they never witnessed the search because when
they arrived the search had already been completed. The wife of the owner of the
residence was allegedly found in the house but she was not made to go with the
searching team to witness the search. An evaluation of the record of the search, it
appears also the search warrant, showed some material defect, because no witness
who appeared to have personal knowledge of the illegal activities of the accused and
husband, executed an Affidavit before the officer who issued the search warrant. In
fact the searching questions were conducted on the applicant but not on the
confidential informant, who alone had the personal knowledge of the alleged illegal
activities in the vicinity. No deposition was taken of the applicant. Only the applying
officers executed an affidavit, yet had no personal knowledge of the crime as they
were only told by his confidential informant. No copy of the deposition is attached to
the application. Although this court has no jurisdiction to hear the MOTION TO
QUASH the search warrant however this fact are [sic] taken into consideration for the
petition to bail if only to show the strength or weakness of the prosecution evidence,
to ascertain if Prosecution have [sic] a witness who has personal knowledge of the

alleged illegal activities of the accused in her home. There is none. Even the Barangay
policemen Arturo Villarin, cannot tell with certainty if drugs were indeed found in the
residence of the accused.
Bail is therefore allowed in the sum of ONE MILLION PESOS (Php 1,000,000.00)
which accused AIZA CHONA OMADAN may post in cash, by property or thru a
reputable bonding company, and under the additional condition that her counsel, Atty.
GENE CASTILLO QUILAS guarantees her appearance in court whenever so
required.
It is SO ORDERED.

[1]

Admin. Matter No. RTJ-04-1820
This case proceeded from a letter of Prosecutor Edward M. Togononon of
Muntinlupa City, accusing respondent Judge of partiality, serious misconduct in office
and gross ignorance of the law, concerning the latters grant of bail in four criminal cases
for Violations of R.A. No. 9165 pending before her.
In Criminal Case No. 03-065, entitled, People of the Philippines vs. Rosemarie
Pascual y Mozo @ Rosema, for Violation of Section 5 of R.A. No. 9165, accused
Pascual was charged with selling, trading, delivering and giving away to another 0.20
grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu), with no bail recommended.
Pascual filed, on February 5, 2003, a motion for bail on the grounds that the quantity
ofshabu involved is minimal and the imposable penalty is likewise minimal in degree;
and that she is nine months pregnant and due to give birth anytime.
[2]

[3]

On the day of arraignment, February 7, 2003, respondent Judge issued an order
granting Pascuals motion for bail without hearing, which reads:

The MOTION FOR BAIL filed by Accused through counsel is granted on the reason
cited thereat.
Accordingly, Accused ROSEMARIE PASCUAL Y MOZO may post her bail in the
amount of P200,000.00 in cash or thru a reputable bonding company, or by property
bond for her provisional liberty.
It is SO ORDERED.

[4]

ACP Francisco filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing that since the crime
charged against Pascual is a capital offense, bail is not allowed as a matter of right, and
a hearing is indispensable. Respondent Judge denied the motion in her Order dated
March 12, 2003, which reads, in part:

...
This Court is immediately appalled and shocked by the thirst for blood of these
officials, were selling shabu in the quantity of 0.20 gram, they would put the accused
to DEATH. It seems that, to these officials LIFE IMPRISONMENT and DEATH is
the only solution to this problem, without considering the intended provision of the
law, and the possible dislocation that the death of the accused will cause to his family
and even to society itself. The prosecution and some City Officials have distorted the
provision of the law by considering shabu as a dangerous drug, in the category of
opium puppy (sic) or morphine. They cannot be more wrong!
In the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol,
Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is NEVER considered as dangerous drugs to come
under the provision of the first paragraph of Sec. 5, Republic Act No. 9165. The
definition of dangerous drugs under Sec. 3, letter J of the said law, specifies those
considered as dangerous drugs. Instead Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is
considered as a controlled precursor or essential chemical, which is found and listed in
No. 7, LIST OF SUBSTANCES in SCHEDULE NO. 111 of the 1971 United Nations
Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Therefore, Methamphetamine
Hydrochloride is a chemical substance or psychotropic substance and NOT a
dangerous drug.!
Since the quantity is very much less than a gram of this essential chemical, is
punishable with imprisonment of only 12 years, as paragraph 2 of Sec. 5, R.A. 9165
provides. There is no law, statute, or jurisprudence that classifies 12 years
imprisonment as a capital punishment, and non-bailable. Only bloodsuckers who thirst
for blood will consider death for these offenders for this kind of offense!
Prosecution will probably argue that this drug is considered dangerous under Sec. 11,
R.A. 9165, but this section does not define what are dangerous drugs, and the term is
used generally to encompass all drugs. Still, this section only shows that for
possession of certain quantities of shabu, is punishable with 12 years imprisonment
only, NEVER DEATH!
This Court has no quarrel with the Prosecutors if the drugs accused is pushing or
found in the custody of accused are of large volume, for then they would really
deserve to DIE! Then be richer by several millions, and foster a society of drug
abusers yet! But this Court cannot agree with Prosecutors when the quantity that is
peddled is not even enough to put body and soul together of accused. Foisting death
on these kind of offenders, is death itself to him who imposes such a penalty! This
court cannot be that unjust and unfeeling, specially as the law itself does not so allow!

Respondent Judge believes that under R. that she did not have any hand or influence in ACP Franciscos handling of the hearing on the petition for bail as it is within the latters control and supervision. accused Uy was charged with selling.A. Perhaps if these questioning individuals will provide employment to their constituents.A. shabu is not a dangerous drug but merely a controlled precursor. Mary Jane Regencia y Mozo @ Grace. [8] In Admin. Rolando Uy y Manata @ Nono. and 03-288 all involve selling of less than 5 grams of shabu. among others. Aiza Chona Omadan y Chua and John Doe. entitled. No. and that bail was granted because the prosecutions evidence of Omadans guilt was not strong. 03-288 entitled People of the Philippines vs. [5] In Criminal Case No. RTJ-04-1820.12 grams Uy was released on a P200. Matter No. respondent Judge explains that she did not conduct any hearings on the motions/petitions for bail filed in the criminal cases subject of the complaint because the crimes charged are not capital offenses as the quantity of shabu involved therein was minimal.The prosecutors are also reminded that the grant of bail to all offenses is constitutionally guaranteed. In Admin. delivering and giving away to Philippine National Police (PNP) operatives after a buy-bust operation 0. and the shabu confiscated was planted on him.000. that she denies that there was undue haste in the grant of bail in Omadans favor. 03-082. Respondent Judge likewise granted Regencias motion for bail without hearing. are set forth and dealt with in Admin. only the EXCEPTIONS! It is never the rule. for Violation of Section 5 of R. . delivering. trading. Matter No. 9165.. Criminal Case Nos. 2003. 03-265 entitled People of the Philippines vs. trading and giving away to another 0. People of the Philippines vs. [7] Respondent Judge was required to comment on these two complaints. the latter will not engage in this kind of trade to survive. respondent Judge contends that P/Sr. for Violation of Section 5.A. 9165. Uy filed a petition for bail cum motion to suppress prosecution evidence on February 18. 03-065. Mabutass charges against her are baseless. alleging. No.A.07 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu). for Violation of Section 11 of R. RTJ-03-1817. that the arrest was illegal as no buy-bust operation happened. respondent Judge granted Uys petition for bail since the quantity of drug allegedly pushed is only 0. that the preliminary investigation conducted on Omadans case was outside her jurisdiction. 9165. RTJ-03-1817. on the ground that the quantity of shabu involved is minimal and the imposable penalty is also minimal. accused Regencia was charged with selling. No. Supt. Senson recommended no bail. paragraph 1 of R.00 bail. Without hearing. [6] The antecedents of Criminal Case No. No. Even those punishable with death or capital offenses.12 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu). Matter No. 03-082. in . 9165. In Criminal Case No. The motion for reconsideration filed by ACP Francisco remains unresolved.. ACP Romeo B.

It had not been shown that the present administrative complaints had any purpose other then seeking administrative sanctions against respondent judge. with the following findings and conclusion: The charges arose out of the same set of facts and are interrelated and will be discussed together. Jr. (351 SCRA 606 [2001]) Anent the charge of partiality and serious misconduct. . The investigating justice will now therefore tackle only the charge of gross ignorance of the law against respondent judge. the filing of administrative complaint is not the proper remedy to correct actions of a judge citing the case ofBarbers vs. Thus. Where a sufficient judicial remedy exists. [9] The two complaints were consolidated and referred to Court of Appeals Associate Justice Jose C. the Supreme Court held: It has been held that the pendency of an appeal from a questioned judgment renders the filing of administrative charges premature. it was not shown that an appeal or any other proceeding had been filed to reverse the respondent judges orders granting bail. Reyes. Before proceeding further. and recommendation. the investigating justice finds that no evidence as to partiality nor serious misconduct exists and these charges should be dismissed for lack of evidence. They had even filed an appeal from the judgment therein of respondent judge. for investigation. the filing of an administrative complaint is not the proper remedy to correct the actions of a judge. the investigating justice will first dispose respondent judges assertion that the complaints should be dismissed outright claiming that where sufficient judicial remedy exists. respondent Judge maintains that bail is a matter of right and a hearing is not required. In the present administrative complaints. the investigating justice notes that these particular charges were not touched upon in the testimony of any of the witnesses presented by the complainants. After due proceedings. Therefore. Jr. Laguio. Such being the case. the Investigating Justice submitted his Report and Recommendation.which the selling of less than 5 grams is punishable only with imprisonment of 12 years to 20 years. report. A close scrutiny of the said Barbers case shows that it is not applicable in the present administrative complaints because in the said case it was clear that complainantspetitioners were not merely concerned with the alleged act of the judge of rendering an unjust judgment but was also seeking the reversal of the judgment of acquittal.

No. Include those listed in Tables I and II of the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances as enumerated in the attached annex. Meth. that by the plain wordings of R. 9165 and should therefore be considered merely as a chemical precursor. there are other substances which may be considered dangerous drugs even if not listed in the above-mentioned schedules. 9165 in relation to the definitions of dangerous drugs and controlled precursors. Include those listed in the Schedules annexed to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. the UN Single Convention was referred to in Section 3 of R. No. to wit: (h) Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. to wit: .. as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Ice. No. Under Section 3(x) of the R. (j) Dangerous Drugs. 9165 the substance was defined as: Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or commonly known as Shabu. For clarity..Turning now to the merits of the administrative complaints. . Refers to the drug having such chemical composition. or by its any other name. 9165 dangerous drugs are not limited to those substances listed in the schedules attached to the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs because of the use of the word include. which is an integral part of this Act. however.. .A.A.. the primordial issue is: Whether or not there is an ambiguity in the law as to the classification of methamphetamine hydrochloride. including any of its isomers or derivatives in any form. It is respondent judges position that shabu is not expressly classified as a dangerous drug under Section 5 of R. It should be noted.A. and in the Schedules annexed to the 1971 Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances as enumerated in the attached annex which is an integral part of this Act. It can be noted that nothing in this provision indicates the classification of the substance either as a dangerous or regulated drug.A. No. That is.

The investigating justice would first discuss Crim. that the lawmakers intended to classify Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu as a dangerous drug. a hearing was conducted before the bail was granted. to wit: . the charge of gross ignorance in relation to this case should be dismissed for lack of factual basis.. therefore.. there is no question that methamphetamine hydrochloride is classified as a dangerous drug. in the Crim. which involve selling. it would be absurd to consider methamphetamine hydrochloride a dangerous drug under Section 11 of R. Case No. . an accused shall be entitled to bail as a matter of right unless charged with an offense punishable with a capital penalty.A.It is also worth noting that under Section 11 of R. Therefore. Case No. This is necessary in order to determine if the accused are entitled to bail. and Crim.A. 03-265 where the accused was charged with possession of 57. 9165 provides that the penalty imposable is life imprisonment to death. No. Methamphetamine Hydrochloride was specifically mentioned as a dangerous drug.78 grams of Methemphetamine Hydrochloride. Section 11 of R. 03-265 accused therein is not entitled to bail as a matter of right. Case No. Therefore. (5) 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.. 9165 and merely a precursor under Section 5 of the same law. 03-288 (against Mary Jane Regencia). In fine. Crim. the next issue that calls for resolution is the penalty imposable to the criminal cases under consideration. Case No. Case No. trading. delivering or giving away Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. The investigating justice. Moreover.A. The Court notes that the criminal cases under consideration can be grouped into two (2): A) Crim. Rightly so. No. Having made the foregoing findings. after a careful consideration of the evidence presented by the complainants. 03-082 (against Rolando Uy).. 03-265 (against Aiza Chona Omadan) which involve possession of the said substance. No. 9165. . opines that there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation that bail was hastily granted to accused Aiza Chona Omadan. 03-065 (against Rosemarie Pascual. It is clear. Case No. Under Section 13 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution. and B) Crim.

Under the law. the error must have been gross. 03-065. hence.. deliberate and . the probability of the accused appearing at the trial. RTJ-02-1726. 03-082.. However. In fine. no such hearing was conducted. Case No. Crim. 9165 reads: . Case No. No. It was impossible for respondent judge to determine the application of these guidelines in an ex-parte determination of the propriety of Palacols motion for bail. for his failure to conduct any hearing on the application for bail. 03-288). As held in Managuelod vs. therefore. and Crim. the accused has no right to bail when the evidence of guilt is strong. Extreme care. 03-288. Case No. we hold respondent Judge Go guilty of gross ignorance of the law justifying the imposition of the severest disciplinary sanction on him. character and reputation of the accused. is required of him in granting bail. 2004). Case No.A. Case No. 03-082. Crim.The investigating justice will now tackle the other set of cases (Crim. 03-082. weight of evidence against him. argued that she cannot be held liable asserting that to be held guilty of gross ignorance. these are punishable with penalty ranging from life imprisonment to death. Case No. In offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua or death. in this last instance. A hearing is of utmost necessity because certain guidelines in fixing bail (the nature of the crime. Paclibon. Respondent judge. and Crim. respondent judge erred in granting bail to the accused in Crim. As to Crim. et al. No. 03065. Respondent Judge Go should have known the procedure to be followed when a motion for admission to bail is filed by the accused. 03065. Thus. March 29. Crim. 03-288 without hearing because the crime charge carries with it capital penalty. Case No. (Emphasis supplied) It is clear. The fact that the provincial prosecutor interposed no objection to the application for bail by the accused did not relieve respondent judge of the duty to set the motion for bail for hearing. specially in case where bail is not a matter of right. among other things) call for the presentation of evidence. It is imperative that judges be conversant with basic legal principles and possess sufficient proficiency in the law. not to mention the highest sense of personal integrity. Case No. naturally. (A. a hearing for the grant of bail should have been conducted.M. Crim. the next issue to be resolved is: whether or not the mistake amounted to gross ignorance of the law which would justify an administrative sanction against respondent judge. Pertinent portions of Section 5 of R. Case No. that as to said criminal cases the accused were likewise not entitled to bail as a matter of right.

In conclusion. The same should hold true in the present administrative cases considering that the criminal cases involved drugs. Thus. the investigating justice finds respondent judge guilty of gross ignorance of the law in relation to the granting of bail without hearing in Crim. thus: . for his failure to conduct any hearing on the application for bail. Perello be DISMISSED on the ground of gross ignorance of law in relation to the grant of bail in Criminal Case No. 03-065. 01-8-10-SC amending Rule 140 of the Rules of Court on the Discipline of Justices and Judges. which took effect on October 1. No. The next issue then is the penalty imposable on respondent judge. 2001. Case Nos.00. RTJ-04-1820.000. the Investigating Justice made the following WHEREFORE.00 but not exceeding P40. the Supreme Court does not always require the presence of malice to find erring judges liable for gross ignorance. . suspension or a fine of more than P20. 03-288. Espanol (A. we hold respondent Judge Go guilty of gross ignorance of the law justifying the imposition of the severest disciplinary sanction on him. gross ignorance of the law is classified as a serious charge which carries with it a penalty of either dismissal from service. [10] Based on the recommendation: foregoing. a major problem of the country today. 74) and in absence of fraud. . Criminal Case No. 03-065. . RTJ-04-1820. No. [11] .M. July 14. thus: Under Section 8 of A. However. RTJ-04-185014. in view of the foregoing. 75). or corruption that judge cannot be held liable (Rollo.. In the above-cited Managuelod case the Supreme Court held that failure to hold a hearing before granting bail in crimes involving capital punishment constitutes gross ignorance of the law. p.. 03-082. Criminal Case No. 03-265.M.000. 2004) the Supreme Court enumerated the proper penalty for gross negligence (sic). it is respectfully recommended that respondent Judge Norma C. In Mupas vs. dishonesty.malicious (Rollo. p. 03-082 and 03-288 and exonerate her as to the charge in relation to Criminal Case No.

As such. shall be admitted to bail when the evidence of guilt is strong. Rule 114. a capital offense. or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. (5) 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. 7 of the Rules of Court states: [12] No person charged with the capital offense.00) to Ten Million Pesos (P10. before conviction.78 grams of shabu. hence. As earlier stated. punishable under Section 11 thereof. Admin. Under the foregoing provision. Matter No. except those charged with offenses punishable by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong.000.-. In this regard. regardless of the stage of the criminal prosecution...000.. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. bail becomes a matter of discretion. possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is punishable by life imprisonment to death. 9165.The issue in these administrative cases is whether respondent Judge may be administratively held liable for the grant of bail in the particular criminal cases subject of the complaints.A. or be released on recognizance as may be provided by law. and control of 57.000. regardless of the degree of purity thereof: . Article III of the 1987 Constitution. Possession of Dangerous Drugs. Sec. Excessive bail shall not be required. the criminal cases subject of the present administrative complaints all involve violations of R. This provision is based on Section 13. Aiza Chona Omadan). The matter of determining whether or not the evidence is strong is a matter of judicial discretion that remains with the judge. Such discretion must be sound and exercised within reasonable bounds. which reads: SEC. No.00) shall be imposed upon any person.The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500. custody. [13] [14] . shall possess any dangerous drug in the following quantities. or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. 03265 (People of the Philippines vs. shall. RTJ-03-1817 particularly relates to Criminal Case No. involving the possession. 11. be bailable by sufficient sureties. which reads: All persons.. (Emphasis supplied) . who unless authorized by law.

the prosecution was given the opportunity to present its evidence in support of its stance. 2003 granting the accuseds petition for bail contained a summary of the prosecutions evidence. Darwin S.Under the present rules. the judge is entrusted to observe the following duties: [15] 1. A hearing was held on the petition. a hearing on an application for bail is mandatory. after the hearing. Where bail is a matter of discretion. P/Insp. 3. do not relate solely to respondent Judges acts. A summary is defined as a comprehensive and usually brief abstract or digest of a text or statement. 03-265 that would render respondent Judge administratively liable. Whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion. the prosecutor should be given reasonable notice of hearing. the courts order granting or refusing bail must contain a summary of the evidence for the prosecution. the testimonies of P02 Saturnino Mayonte and Arturo Villarin. but to the prosecutions conduct in handling the case. Butuyan stated in his report that there is something wrong in the procedures and circumstances adopted by the Office of the City Prosecutor of . and 4. or at least his recommendation on the matter must be sought. respondent Judge based her findings on the prosecutions evidence. respondent Judge complied with the foregoing duties. [16] Based on the above-cited procedure and requirements. Thus. Records show that respondent Judge afforded the prosecution ample opportunity to present all the evidence it had and there was no protest from the prosecution that it had been deprived of its right to present against the accused. In case an application for bail is filed. Otherwise the bail should be denied. the petition for bail was granted. the judge formulates his own conclusion on whether such evidence is strong enough to indicate the guilt of the accused. and since it was her conclusion that the evidence of accused Omadans guilt is not strong. [17] In this case. respondent Judges Order dated May 9. In all cases. discharge the accused upon the approval of the bail bond. [18] It is noted that the other circumstances. If the guilt of the accused is not strong. Thus. namely. Respondent Judge did not violate procedural requirements. conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound discretion. the Court does not find any irregularity in the grant of bail in Criminal Case No. notify the prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require him to submit his recommendation. Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on the summary of evidence of the prosecution. whether bail is a matter of right or discretion. complained of in this case. Based on the summary of evidence. 2.

which list is attached annex. It is beyond respondent Judges authority to compel the public prosecutor to exercise its discretion in a way respondent Judge deems fit. It was the prosecutions judgment to limit the presentation of evidence to two witnesses. 1. the selling or trading of this substance in a quantity less than a gram is punishable with an imprisonment of only twelve (12) years as provided by the second . all criminal actions are prosecuted under the direction and control of the public prosecutor. The definition of what are considered as DANGEROUS DRUGS. 3. however. in Letter X of the Definition. 9165. and the Court will not interfere on the matter. listed in 1961 Singled Convention on Narcotic Drugs. RTC. respondent Judge granted bail in Criminal Cases Nos.. Matter No. Art. the complainant in this case had also filed a letter-complaint with the Department of Justice against the concerned public prosecutors. [21] Admin. and 03-288 without the requisite hearing. shabu is not a dangerous drug but merely a controlled precursor. bail is a matter of right and a hearing is not required. [19] The Court recognizes that the manner in which the strength of an accuseds guilt is proven still primarily rests on the prosecution. 9165. Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is listed in Table II. Methamphetamine and is listed as a CONTROLLED PRECURSOR or ESSENTIAL CHEMICAL. undersigned exhaustively studied the provision of this law and found that in Letter H. Therefore.A. 12 of the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Sec. 3. The prosecutor has the right to control the quantum of evidence and the order of presentation of the witnesses. under the definition by law itself. in which the selling of less than 5 grams is punishable only with imprisonment of 12 years to 20 years. shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride is classified as a controlled precursor or essential chemical. 1. is (sic) those in Letter J. Therefore. Sec. Section 3: Definition of Terms. No. portrays an entirely different picture.Muntinlupa City and Branch 276.e. Art. Such matter is best left handled by the Department. i. it was respondent Judges defense that under R. an integral part of this Act. 03-065. RTJ-04-1820.A. Art. After all. which list is again an integral part of this Act. No. In so doing. in support of the denial of bail. This is more imperatively classified as a chemical. as amended by the 1972 Protocol. In this case. Respondent Judge argued that: In determining whether methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is indeed classified as a dangerous drug under the said Republic Act. Muntinlupa City in handling the case leading to the granting of bail to accused Aiza Chona Omadan y Chua. [20] In any event. and as such. where shabu is considered as such chemical. to determine whether strong evidence of guilt exists such that the accused may not be entitled to bail. 1 of R. 03-082. Methamphetamine is NOT one of the enumerations of dangerous drugs. so long as such exercise of discretion will not defeat the purpose for which the hearing was held. as it felt that the testimonies of the other witnesses would be merely corroborative.

as respondent Judge stated. as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Section 11.A. No. Corollarilly. dangerous drugs are classified into: (1) narcotic drugs. It becomes a capital offense only if it is in the quantity of fifty grams (50 GRAMS) under No. Article II. which are considered dangerous drugs. No. as including those in the Schedules listed annexed to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. 5) to be punishable with capital penalty must be in the quantity of FIVE GRAMS (5 GRAMS). Art. II) while PUSHING of methamphetamine hydrochloride (Paragraph 2. as she asserted. as listed in the 1971 UN Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances. respondent Judge insists that she did so because of her belief that methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is merely a precursor and therefore the sale thereof is not a capital offense. items (h) and (j). No.A. hence. For purposes of this case. 9165 to see respondent Judges palpable error in the application of the law. II. A plain reading of the law would immediately show that methamphetamine hydrochloride is a dangerous drug and not a controlled precursor. 9165. [22] To justify her granting bail in the three criminal cases. and properly made the corresponding reference to the schedules and tables annexed thereto.A. possession of methamphetamine hydrochloride is NOT punishable with a capital penalty. bailable! To stress POSSESSION of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride is considered as capital offense punishable with capital penalty if the quantity is 50 GRAMS (50 GRAMS). particularly Section 3. of the same Act. If only respondent Judge prudently went over the pertinent provisions of R. she would have easily ascertained that methamphetamine hydrochloride is listed in the 1971 UN Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances. (Guidelines for RA 9165).A. 11. and (2) psychotropic substances. Under the foregoing section.paragraph of Section 5. Art. Sec. is bailable. 5 of Section 11. punishable with death or life imprisonment. (Sec. only if the accused is in possession of it in the quantity of 50 GRAMS (50 grams). No. is not on capital offense punishable with death or life imprisonment. the list of substances in Schedule II of the 1971 UN Single Convention of Psychotropic Substances is hereby reproduced. This opinion is blatantly erroneous. where possession of this substance is considered as a capital offense. which were made an integral part of R. [23] Dangerous Drugs are defined by Section 3. Respondent Judge need not exhaustively study R. 9165. Art. 9165. if it is less than this quantity. It is not listed in the 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. II. to determine the nature of methamphetamine hydrochloride. 9165. to wit: . paragraph (j) of R. as listed in the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. No. irrespective of the purity of the substance. and in the Schedules annexed to the 1971 UN Single Convention on Psychotropic Substances. as amended by the 1972 Protocol. treats of POSSESSION NOT SELLING.A. One need not even go beyond the four corners of R.

LIST OF SUBSTANCES IN SCHEDULE II
1.

AMFETAMINE (AMPHETAMINE)

2.

DEXAMFETAMINE (DEXAMPHETAMINE)

3.

FENETYLLINE DRONABINOL

4.

LEVAMFETAMINE

5.

LEVOMETHAMPHETAMINE

6.

MECLOQUALONE

7.

METAMFETAMINE
(METHAMPHETAMINE)

8.

METAMFETAMINE RACEMATE

9.

METHAQUALONE

10.

METHYLPHE NIDATE

11.

PHENCYCLIDINE (PCP)

12.

PHENMETRAZINE

13.

SECOBARBITAL

14.

DRONABINOL (delta-9-tetrahydro-cannabinol and its
stereochemical variants)

15.

ZIPEPROL

16.

2C-B (4-bromo-2,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine)

It clearly shows that methamphetamine is a psychotropic substance, or a dangerous
drug.
On the other hand, under Section 3, paragraph (h) of R.A. No. 9165, controlled
precursors and essential chemicals, refer to those listed in Tables I and II of the 1988
UN Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances,
which were likewise made integral part of R.A. No. 9165, to wit:
TABLE I

TABLE II

1.

ACETIC ANHYDRIDE

1.

ACETONE

2.

N-ACETYLANTHRANILIC ACID

2.

ANTHRANILIC ACID

3.

EPHEDRIN

3.

ETHYL ETHER

4.

ERGOMETRINE

4.

HYDROCHLORIC ACID

5.

ERGOTAMINE

5.

METHYL ETHYL
KETONE

6.

ISOSAFROLE

6.

PHENYLACETIC ACID

7.

LYSERGIC ACID

7.

PIPERIDINE

8.

SULPHURIC ACID

8.

3,4METHYLENEDIOXYPHENYL-2
PROPANONE

9.

NOREPHEDRINE

10.

1-PHENYL-2-PROPANONE

11.

PIPERONAL

12.

POTASSIUM PERMANGANATE

13.

PSEUDOEPHEDRINE

14.

SAFROLE

9.

TOLUENE

It readily reveals that methamphetamine is not one of those listed as controlled
precursor or essential chemical.
Given the foregoing, methamphetamine hydrochloride is a dangerous drug, and not
a controlled precursor or essential chemical. That methamphetamine and not
methamphetamine hydrochloride is the term specifically listed in Schedule II of the 1971
UN Single Convention of Psychotropic Substances does not detract from the fact that it
is a dangerous drug. Section 3, paragraph (x) of R.A. No. 9165, states that
methamphetamine hydrochloride is a drug having such chemical composition, including
any of its isomers or derivatives in any form.
This is further strongly manifest in Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165, wherein it is
specifically provided that the possession of dangerous drugs, such as
methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, is punishable with life imprisonment to death
and a fine ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten Million
Pesos (P10,000,000.00), if the quantity thereof is 50 grams or more. It would be absurd,
to say the least, that Section 11 of R.A. No. 9165 would qualify methamphetamine
hydrochloride as a dangerous drug, while Section 5 of the same law, penalizing the sale
thereof, would treat it as a controlled precursor.
Had respondent Judge been more circumspect in going over the pertinent
provisions of R.A. No. 9165, she would certainly arrive at the same conclusion. It does
not even take an interpretation of the law but a plain and simple reading thereof.
Furthermore, had respondent judge kept herself abreast of jurisprudence and decisions
of the Court, she would have been apprised that in all the hundreds and hundreds of
cases decided by the Court, methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu had always
been considered as a dangerous drug.
[24]

[25]

The indispensable nature of a bail hearing in petitions for bail has always been ardently and indefatigably stressed by the Court. paragraph 1 of R. shall sell. deliver. it is incumbent upon respondent Judge to hold a hearing on the petitions/motions for bail filed by the accused therein to determine whether evidence of guilt is strong. A judge is called upon to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules. who. dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug. 03-082. Being a capital offense.000.00) shall be imposed upon any person. RTJ-04-1820. he should be held administratively liable. Tabamo. trade. to the end that he be the personification of justice and the Rule of Law. the Court rejected the defense that the judges failure to apply the clear provisions of the law is merely an error of judgment. Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. Dispensation.A. dispense. the applicable provision in Criminal Case Nos. civilly or administratively for every erroneous judgment or decision rendered by him in good faith. such gross ignorance of law is in violation of Rule 3. distribute. is Section 5.000. [26] In Gallardo vs.Given that methamphetamine hydrochloride is a dangerous drug.00) to Ten million pesos (P10. 03-065.000. administer. [30] . 9165. Regardless of quantity. The penalty of life imprisonment to death and fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500. distribution and transportation of shabu is punishable by life imprisonment to death. delivery. trade. and 03-288 subject of Admin. Trading. it is imperative that they should have basic knowledge of the law. administration. Delivery. No. The Code of Judicial Conduct enjoins judges to be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence. which states that a judge shall be faithful to the law and maintain professional competence. dispensation.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. [27] Moreover. including any and all species of opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved. Administration. give away to another. which reads: SECTION 5. and the judge was held administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law where the applicable legal provisions are crystal clear and need no interpretation. He should strive for excellence exceeded only by his passion for truth. unless authorized by law. [29] Even if a judge acted in good faith but his ignorance is so gross. Sale. the sale. [28] Although judges cannot be held to account or answer criminally. Matter No. or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions. it is imperative that he be conversant with basic legal principles and be aware of well-settled authoritative doctrines. To grant an application for bail and fix the amount thereof without a hearing duly called for the purpose of determining whether the evidence of guilt is strong constitutes gross ignorance or incompetence whose grossness cannot be excused by a claim of good faith or excusable negligence.

grave misconduct and oppression for the delay of almost nine (9) months in the transmittal of the records of Civil Case No. 02-002.M. and disqualification from reinstatement or appointment to any public office. Provided. as amended by A. or 3. [31] [32] [33] The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) also notes. Proc.. Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for more than three (3) but not exceeding six (6) months. gross ignorance of the law is classified as a serious charge and is now punishable with severe sanctions. without any material evidence in support of her findings and conclusion. Thus. Spl. 01-268 to the Court of Appeals. and that at the time the petitions were granted. If the respondent is guilty of a serious charge. A. Aiza Chona Omadan). Nos. 03-265(People of the Philippines vs. 02-10. R.00. No. Dismissal from the service. in its Memorandum dated November 22.e. that the forfeiture of benefits shall in no case include accrued leave credits. A fine of more than P20. 02-008. No. 98-023 and 98-048. respondent Judge was held administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law. and recommendation on these two cases be made. However. In A.00 and a reprimand was imposed on respondent Judge for dereliction of duty for her failure to act on Civil Case No. and was fined P20. Sanctions. The OCA further stated that in Spl. an appeal from the convictions in these two cases is pending before the Court (G. the Investigating Justice recommended that respondent Judge be dismissed from the service. the OCA recommends that an investigation. In similar cases. that respondent Judge caused the release from the National Bilibid Prison of several persons convicted of violation of the drugs law by granting the petitions for habeas corpus filed in her court. 2001.00. the Court takes judicial notice that this is not the first time that respondent Judge was administratively fined. respondent Judge granted the petitions without determining the veracity of the allegations therein. 2002. any of the following sanctions may be imposed: 1. 98-023 and 98-048. to wit: Sec.M. Thus. the Court imposed a fine on the respondents therein for gross ignorance of the law for having granted bail to the accused without notice and hearing. No. Proc. The Court finds such penalty to be too harsh.000. [34] . including government-owned or controlled corporations.000. report. however.00 but not exceeding P40. which took effect on October 1.000. Nos.000. the Court is imposing a penalty more severe than a fine. 9-138 for three years. RTJ-02-1686. excluding Criminal Case No. forfeiture of all or part of the benefits as the Court may determine. RTJ-04-1820. a fine of P5. 11. is sufficient and reasonable. 2. and that it be authorized to conduct an audit on all the petitions for habeas corpus in all the courts of the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City from 1998 to the present. RTJ-04-1846. Suspension from office for six (6) months in Admin. In this case.M. 131622-23). In A. Nos. i.Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court. Matter No. 01-8-10-SC.

and she is hereby SUSPENDED for Six (6) Months. No. MTJ-04-1529. finding respondent Judge Norma C. 27-40. SO ORDERED. defines a capital offense as an offense which. 02-008.M. p.WHEREFORE. [9] Rollo.. 41. 35-36. A. [10] Report and Recommendation. RTJ-03-1817. 02-10.. 60. [11] Id. concur. Bersales. Section 6 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. A. p. 22. RTJ-04-1820. pp. Puno. pp. and to conduct preliminary investigation and submit report thereon within ninety (90) days from notice hereof. No. 3-4. DISMISSING the complaint against respondent Judge. [3] Id. Tinga. pp. Matter No. RTJ-04-1820. on all the petitions for habeas corpus in all the courts of the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa City from 1998 to present. [5] Id. 23. Proc. . and Chico-Nazario. pp. A. may be punished with death. A. [8] Rollo.. AS TO OTHER MATTERS: (a) The Court ORDERS the Office of the Court Administrator to initiate the appropriate complaint for grave misconduct and/or gross ignorance of the law against respondent Judge. [4] Id. [1] Rollo.. No. 02-002. (2) In Admin.. on official leave. insofar as Spl. RTJ-03-1817. Matter No. December 16. RTJ-03-1817.. (Chairman). [7] Id. pp. with warning that a repetition of similar acts shall be dealt with more severely. Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 276) of Muntinlupa City GUILTY of gross ignorance of law.M.. Sr. A. 27.M.. No. p. [2] Rollo. JJ. pp. RTJ-04-1820. p. as amended. Callejo. 67-68. 59. p. [6] Id.M. Nos. [13] Jamora vs. judgment is hereby rendered: (1) In Admin. and. [12] Rule 114.M. 2004. 40. 98-023 and 98048 are concerned. No. Perello. (b) The Office of the Court Administrator is AUTHORIZED to conduct an audit and submit a report within ninety (90) days from notice hereof. under the law existing at the time of its commission and of the application for admission to bail. 229-238.

People vs. 395 SCRA 461. p. No. [24] Lim vs. 292 SCRA 436. Layola vs. [33] January 31. No.M. 2003. 269 SCRA 220. Jr. RTJ-03-1817. 643. August 27. January 20. Bugtas. 2003. [29] Guyud vs. No. April 29. buy-bust operation. Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. February 16. 2002.M.M. [26] Ypil vs. A. 02-2-07-SC. accused acquitted. [34] Rollo. 146284-86. [18] Rollo. Pine. 1998. Dumlao. Beldia. [19] Id. 400 SCRA 37. p. http://sc. No.M..M. No. People vs. People vs. 323 SCRA 348. No.M. A. Jr.M. March 31.M.M. 2003. 388 SCRA 44. RTJ-01-1663. RTJ-96-1335.M. [32] May 7. Bugtas. 2003. G. 11. 2004. [25] People vs. July 23. RTJ-03-1817. 206. supra. December 27. Perez. April 11.gov. RTJ-92-881. [31] Docena-Caspe vs. 2004. Gabo. [28] Docena-Caspe case.judiciary. 2005.M. No. No. [15] Ruiz vs. 394 SCRA 478.M. .. No.M.[14] Basco vs. RTJ-1524. [21] TSN. Ibrahim. G. [20] Rule 110. 148825.03-1767. MTJ-03-1469. p. A.M. A. 391 SCRA 673.M. A. 66-68. No. 2002. No. No. G. 2003. A. [23] Rollo. MTJ-04-1556. Rapatalo. Canton. 1994.R. Medina. March 5. No. MTJ-02-1453. Corpus. 290-291.M. Matter No. A. 2002. November 15. January 26. [22] Rollo.R. July 16. pp. Nos. 394 SCRA 191. [17] Docena-Caspe vs. [30] Gil vs.R. People vs. [16] Te vs. RTJ. Manonggiring vs. 1997.R. 80. Admin. A. Lopez. January 13. MTJ-01-1384. Macalaba. 290. 2005. RTJ. 380 SCRA 396. A. p. July 10.ph/jurisprudence/2005/jun2005/am_rtj_03_1817. 148919. G. January 21. No. 436 SCRA 62. A. A. 401 SCRA 635. Tabao vs. pp. June 22. MTJ-00-1286. A. 2002. proper procedure for chain of evidence. Nos. August 11. 2005. 394 SCRA 478. Panganiban vs. RTJ-04-1820.. 395 SCRA 26. Senior Superintendent Orlando Mabutas. 2004. No.htm Drugs. 276 SCRA 24. as amended by A. March 28. 374 SCRA 130. No. G. Tang Wai Lan. A. RTJ-03-1817. Barataman. March 28. No. 400 SCRA 37. 1997.R. 2002. December 17. No. A. No. MTJ-02-1457. RTJ-02-1731. 2002. No.M. A. [27] A. 118736-37. 127157. Vilo. No.M. Section 5. 2000. CupinTesorero. RTJ-1454.03-1767. A.

independently of the general procedures geared to ensure that the rights of people under criminal investigation and of the accused facing a criminal charge are safeguarded. the need for entrapment procedures.versus ARNEL BENTACAN NAVARRETE. BRION.[16] [B]y the very nature of anti-narcotic operations.R. Thus.. the possibility of abuse is great. the courts have been exhorted to be extra vigilant in trying drug cases lest an innocent person is made to suffer the unusually severe penalties for drug offenses. G. No. No. and VILLARAMA. J. Appellant. Owing to the built-in dangers of abuse that a buy-bust operation entails. the ease with which sticks of marijuana or grams of heroin can be planted in the pockets or hands of unsuspecting provincial hicks.: x x x.[17](underscoring supplied) . ABAD. Appellee. the use of shady characters as informants. J.R. Promulgated: June 6. 185211 Present: MORALES. 2011 x------------------------------------x DECISION CARPIO MORALES. 185211 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. BERSAMIN. and the secrecy that inevitably shrouds all drug deals. .G. the law prescribes specific procedures on the seizure and custody of drugs.

xxxx A: The confidential agent was already instructed that after the transaction is completed the poseur buyer will have to place his right hand on the head as pre-arranger signal. 6. our poseur [buyer] quickly executed our pre-arranged signal by placing his right hand on his head. we brought Arnel Navarette to our Station while the confiscated packet of white crystalline substance which our poseur buyer bought from him was later submitted for examination at the PNP Crime Laboratory 7. prompting us to hurriedly rushed towards them and placed Arnel Navarette under arrest and recovered from his possession and control the buy bust money described above. After apprising him of his constitutional rights. xxxx Q: After that pre-arranged signal. At this instance. the latter handed to our poseur buyer a small transparent plastic sachet. viz. what happened next? . in exchange of our buy bust money. quoted verbatim: xxxx 4. believed to be shabu. containing white crystalline substance. Q: How did he approach the accused? A: He went to the subject and the transaction was going on considering that there was already an exchange of the buy bust money and the shabu. Consider the team members’ Joint Affidavit executed and sworn to by them two days after the operation or on March 14. While positioning ourselves at a place where we can sufficiently see and observed the movement of my poseur buyer we saw the latter approached an amputated left arm man and after a brief transaction. 2005.[18] Consider too team member SPO1 Selibio’s testimony viz: PROSECUTOR ALEXANDER ACOSTA: Q: How far were you from the subject when you went to the place? SPO1 WILLARD SELIBIO: A: Approximately 8 meters. 5. Q: So you could see the subject? A: Yes.The records of the case indicate that even the basics of the outlined procedure in the custody of seized drugs was not observed. sir.

Consider further the testimony of team leader SPO1 Abelgas: PROSECUTOR ALEXANDER ACOSTA: Q: After that what happened? A: We rushed to the suspect and it was Selibio who recovered from the possession of the suspect the buy bust money and after that we arrested him and informed him of his constitutional rights and we brought him to the police station including the shabu and submitted it to the PNP Crime Laboratory. to whom did you turn over the same? A: It was turned over to SPO1 Abelgas for him to make some request to the Crime Laboratory. Q: You said the poseur buyer was able to purchased [sic] pack of shabu to whom did the poseur buyer turn over the said shabu? A: To Selibio. Q: And then what happened? A: We arrested the said person and informed him of his constitutional rights. xxxx Q: What happened after that? A: We confiscated the said shabu and the buy bust money. xxxx Q: You said you got the items. sir.[19] (emphasis and underscoring supplied) There was thus a blanket declaration that the team members confiscated the shabu. The Public Prosecutor took pains to “supply” the vital detail of who marked the initials “ANB” on the plastic sachet allegedly obtained by the poseur-buyer from appellant. tell this Honorable Court if this is the same shabu that was purchased at the time of the buy bust operation? A: Yes. Q: What was the marking? A: Arnel B. xxxx Q: Showing to you Exhibit “B” one heat-sealed plastic pack. Navarrete. . Q: How did you [know] that this [plastic pack] is the one? A: Because of the marked [sic]. And when the marking of “ANB” was allegedly affixed to the sachet before the sachet was sent for testing to the crime laboratory was not indicated too.A: We rushed to the position of the subject then we arrested the said person after we recovered the buy bust money from the accused.

xxxx Q: How about the shabu that was purchased from the poseur buyer can you still identify the same? A: Yes. while SPO1 Selibio claimed at the witness stand to have marked the sachet with “ANB. as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. sir. of course. this is the same. To . however. 21 of the Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002 is not. Oddly. underscoring and emphasis supplied) The apprehending team in the present case has not.[20] (emphasis and underscoring supplied) PO2 Labiaga merely echoed that of SPO1 Abelgas’. Q: What is the marking? A: A N B Q: Have you seen the markings? A: Yes. are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. Q: Showing to you this plastic pack.” not one of his team mates related having seen him mark it. [21] (citation omitted. Q: In your office what did you do then? A: We prepared a request for PNP Crime Laboratory for examination. who was then in possession of the shabu from the place where you arrested the suspect up to your office? A: It was Selibio. Its non-compliance will not render an accused's arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. shown any justifiable ground to exempt it from complying with the legal requirements. always fatal as the law admits of exceptions: Non-compliance by the apprehending/buy-bust team with Section 21 is not fatal as long as there is justifiable groundtherefor. Q: How did you know that this is the same? A: Because of the markings. sir.Q: From the time of the arrest of the accused and the said shabu was turned over to Selibio. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items. tell this Honorable Court if this is the same shabu? A: Yes sir. Non-compliance with the procedure laid down in Sec.Serious doubts necessarily arise as to whether the sachet and its contents submitted for laboratory examination werethe same as that claimed to have been taken from appellant. and as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the confiscated/seized items.

WHEREFORE.His acquittal.[22] the Court did not hesitate to strike down the conviction of the therein accused for failure of the police officers to observe the procedure laid down under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Law. More recently. It negates the presumption that official duties have been regularly performed by the police officers.impose benediction on such shoddy police work. Laxa.e. the assailed decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. if there be any. the Court concluded that the prosecution failed to establish the identity of the corpus delicti.. any apprehending team having initial control of said drugs and/or paraphernalia should. would only spawn further abuses. i. where the buy-bust team failed to mark the confiscated marijuana immediately after the apprehension of the accused.[23] Appellant’s contention that the apprehending police officers were gravely remiss in complying with the statutory requirements imposed under Section 21 is thus well-taken. have the same physically inventoried and photographed in the presence of the accused. In People v. The Court made a similar ruling in People v. The failure of the agents to comply with the requirement raises doubt whether what was submitted for laboratory examination and presented in court was actually recovered from appellant. the Court held that the material inconsistencies with regard to when and where the markings on the shabu were made and the lack of inventory on the seized drugs created reasonable doubt as to the identity of the corpus delicti. in Zarraga v. on grounds of reasonable doubt. In People v. who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. thus: First. Lim. IN FINE. the Court held that the deviation from the standard procedure in anti-narcotics operations produced doubts as to the origins of the marijuana. For failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt . Kimura. The Court thus acquitted the accused due to the prosecution's failure to indubitably show the identity of the shabu. the unjustified failure of the police officers to show that the integrity of the object evidence-shabu was properly preserved negates the presumption of regularity accorded to acts undertaken by police officers in the pursuit of their official duties. and or his representative. Orteza. absent exempting circumstances. Consequently. where the Narcom operatives failed to place markings on the seized marijuana at the time the accused was arrested and to observe the procedure and take custody of the drug. People. must follow. immediately after seizure or confiscation. there appears nothing in the records showing that police officers complied with the proper procedure in the custody of seized drugs as specified in People v.

beyond reasonable doubt. 73-83. [2] Records. 2005. [12] TSN. pp. 2005. 2005. SO ORDERED. 2005. 4. 997 dated June 6. 2-5. pp. [10] Records. is ACQUITTED of the crime charged. 2-13 [5] TSN. 43. pp.” records. 2006. pp. [7] Exhibit “D. November 22. with the concurrence of Associate Justices Franchito Diamante and Florito Macalino. pp. 2011. January 17. [8] TSN.” id. who isORDERED to cause the immediate release of appellant. November 8. pp. at 56. December 13. and to inform this Court of action taken thereon within ten (10) days from notice. 2-8. [1] Penned by Associate Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla. Arnel Bentacan Navarrete. p. pp. 53-56. 1. 6-7. [4] TSN. [3] TSN. 2005. 2-8. [15] CA rollo. 2005. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Director of the Bureau of Corrections. CA rollo. Muntinlupa City. p. [9] Exhibit “A. * Additional member per Special Order No. unless he is being lawfully held for another cause. [14] Id. November 22. appellant. [6] TSN. p. p. 2-8. 2-8. pp. . December 6. March 14. pp. [13] Rendered by Judge Gabriel Ingles.” records. 1-12. pp. October 18. 8. 81-82. 2006. pp. [11] Exhibit “C. at 44. records.

5-8. accused-appellant. November 8. 2000. pp.[16] People v. -versusALEXANDER NAVAJA. [22] G. Sanchez. 5-7. [19] TSN. Gireng. August 31. 175928. plaintiff-appellee.R. 2007. [21] People v. 536 SCRA 489. G. October 15. No. No. 4. 173051. citing People v. G.com/2011/07/drugs-buy-bust-operation-proper. 133001. Sta. [17] People v. 1993 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 2008. Jr. 171019. p. 273. 208. October 17. No. No. Crispin Montejo Menchavez for accused-appellant. 9. R.html THIRD DIVISION G.blogspot. 2005. Pagaura. 175832. 528 SCRA 750. 2007. . The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. Tan. pp. Santos. No. 758-759. July 31. No. Pringas. November 22. December 14. 683 (1997) and People v. 175593. February 23. [23] People v. 516 SCRA 621. G. 2005. 311 Phil. [20] TSN. 842-843 citing People v. 401 Phil.R. Maria. 569 SCRA 194.R. No. G. http://attylaserna. 334 Phil. G. 104044 March 30.R. 259. 2007..R. 531 SCRA 828. 12 (1995). 2007. 505. [18] Records.R.

) No. and absent any modifying circumstances. as amended. Art. finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of selling a prohibited drug in violation of Section 4. The dispositive portion of the decision reads in part as follows: WHEREFORE. of RA No. Labangon. 4 Accused was the object of a buy-bust operation conducted by the Anti-Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section (ANDDRUS) of the Cebu City Police Station. J.A.000. Cebu City. otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act. this Court finds accused Alexander Navaja guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation (sic) of Sec. hereby sentences said accused with (sic) the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of P20.: Accused Alexander Navaja appeals from the decision 1 of Branch 5 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu in Criminal Case No. II. Salvador Extension." The trial court gave due course thereto and correctly ordered the transmittal of the records of the case to this Court. 2 Judgment was promulgated on 14 October 1991. JR. all the foregoing considered.00 and cost de oficio.. CBU-16994. Metropolitan District Command on 30 August 1989 at sitio Tambisan. as amended.DAVIDE. Article II of Republic Act (R. Thereupon. the accused filed a Notice of Appeal 3 manifesting his intention to appeal the said decision "to the Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court. 6425. 4. Unlike in other buy-bust operations where the supposed seller of prohibited drugs is arrested immediately . 6425.

On 23 October 1989. the Office of the City Prosecutor prepared an Information against the accused for the violation of Section 4. 6425. and decreed the issuance of an alias warrant of arrest. RA 6425. one (1) line of marijuana dried leaves. a prohibited drugs. as amended. as amended. 5 A preliminary investigation was conducted by the latter without any controverting evidence having been offered by the accused because of the non-submission of counter-affidavits.A. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. without authority of law. (sic) to a person who posted himself as buyer. II.A. at about 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Article II of R.after the transaction. On 6 September 1989. in the City of Cebu. 6 The same was filed on 13 November 1989 with the RTC of Cebu City. Philippines. 1989. which was duly endorsed to the Office of the City Prosecutor of Cebu City. In its Order of 28 February 1990. 6425. as amended. Art. Navaja successfully evaded arrest after the consummation of the sale and just as the members of the buybust team were about to pounce on him. Article II of R. (sic) in Violation of Section 4. the ANDDRUS filed a complaint against the accused for the violation of Section 4. the said accused. approximately 100 grams. CBU-16994 and was raffled off to Branch 5 of the same court. buds and seeds. did then and there sell and deliver. 7 . The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. with deliberate intent. No. as the accused had not yet been arrested. the trial court archived the case. its accusatory portion reads: That on or about the 30th day of August. No.

CBU-16994 was revived and arraignment of the accused was set for 2 July 1990. Cesar Cagalawan. their testimonies disclosed that on August 30. presented Seno Cañedo. Arraigned on said date. The facts. Pat. a confidential informant arrived and .On 10 May 1990. Cebu City in connection with a case of illegal possession of firearms filed against him. 1989 at around 8:00 o'clock in the morning. Cebu City. as proven by the prosecution and as summarized by the trial court in its decision. together with Pfc. are as follows: Stripped to essentials. Chief of the Chemistry and Physical Identification Section of the PC/INP Crime Laboratory Service. a member of the team which conducted the buy-bust operation. Joaquina Navaja (mother of the accused) and the accused himself. Ranulfo Espina. their Chief of Office Lt. Pfc. Ranulfo Espina was on duty at ANDDRUS (Anti-Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section]. 8 Consequently. Fortunato Quijon. Fuente Osmeña. Milo Dagasdas. Roseller Paler. The defense. and two agents. The last two testified that the pieces of evidence submitted to them (Exhibits "A" and "B" to "B-62") were positive for marijuana. Criminal Case No. Abraham Ocampo. namely Belocura and Camargo. 9 During the trial. the accused was finally apprehended while attending the hearing of a habeas corpus case filed by his mother against the police officers stationed at Pahina Central or Taboan Market. While there. Regional Chemist of the NBI. on the other hand. Cebu City. the accused pleaded not guilty. the prosecution presented Pfc. and Myrna Areola.

and tailing [sic] them secretly. At the target place. In the briefing.informed them that a certain Alex is engaged in the selling marijuana (sic) at Sitio Tambisan. Quijon informed them that two poseur-buyers will be utilized in the buy-bust operation because Alex is a big time marijuana pusher. Gualberto Gabales. That the first time he heard of Alex was five days before. Milo Dagasdas. together with Pfc. Upon arrival.. At 12:30 noon of that same day. they posted themselves in different strategic places in order to get a clear view of their poseur-buyers and the pusher. Roseller Paler.00 bill bearing serial number HA483042. Pfc. because they received calls regarding his illicit trade. they noticed their poseur-buyers approached . Fortunato Quijon called them for a briefing relating to a buy bust operation to be conducted against Alex. Salvador Ext. and from a distance of 8 to 10 meters. They arrived at sitio Tambisan. Their informant further told them that Alex will not sell by joint but by line or kilo. Lt. Pfc.00 bill bearing serial number JR685858 and one P50. That moments later. Afterwards. and agents Belocura and Camargo left their office to conduct the operation. they let the two poseur-buyers to walk [sic] ahead of them. Abraham Ocampo. Salvador St. They also supplied the informant the marked money to be used in the buy-bust. Cebu City. at around 1:00 o'clock in the afternoon. he. Lt. Pat. one P100. for the buy-bust operation.

E-2. the pusher. Instantly. but the latter ran upon noticing their presence. E-3) of Lt. E-1. they recovered from their poseur-buyers the one line of marijuana leaves. That when they inquired from the neighborhood the [sic] name of the person who sold the marijuana they were told that the man was Alexander Navaja. C-1. Quijon. C-2 and C-3) issued by Lt. That some of their comrades gave chase to Alex but they failed to catch him. the evidence were [sic] found positive for marijuana. the accused in this case. they rushed to the place where Alex. That they then submitted the evidence confiscated to Lt. was. They failed also to recover the marked money from Alex. they sent the evidence for laboratory examination to the PC Crime Laboratory per letter-request (Exhs. E. Quijon. They also found a brown cigarette case (Exh. they saw the person got [sic] something wrapped in a sheet of newspaper under the galvanized roof. the poseur-buyer immediately gave the pre-arranged signal by combing his hair. After a short conversation. B-1 to B-62) near the chicken pens. That per certification (Exhs. C. Quijon for a field test examination. After giving the money. A).by a person beside the chicken pens. However. That per Chemistry Report . The person then handed it to one of their poseurbuyers. The other poseur-buyer took the marked money from his pocket and handed the same to the pusher. buds and seeds (Exh. After the field test examination. B) containing 62 sticks of handrolled marijuana cigarettes (Exhs. alias "Sindak".

Dalaguete which is an hour's ride from Cebu City. shows that the specimens submitted were positive for marijuana. That Dangerous Drugs Report No. Regional Chemist of NBI. the court a quo relied on the testimony of Pfc. they were in Mantalongon. F. the said "Sindak" was killed in January 1990 by his financier and associate. F-1. the evidence submitted were [sic] positive for marijuana. thus: ." the son of Pepe Navaja.No. 90-DD-16309 (Exhs. 13 Defense witness Seno Cañedo also testified that he and the accused were engaged in the buying and selling of fighting cocks. D-1. 10 The accused denied that he was at any time engaged in the selling of marijuana or that he had ever smoked it. C-314-89 (Exhs. 11 He likewise denied that he was caught selling the prohibited drug presented as Exhibits "A" and "B" by the prosecution in a buy-bust operation conducted on 30 August 1989. Cebu City. the evidence confiscated from the accused were [sic] also submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for examination. however. F-3) issued by Myrna P. Furthermore. In convicting the accused. F-2. Areola. Oscar Parba. was the person selling marijuana in the area. D-2. on the day of the alleged buy-bust operation. upon order of the court. Alexander Navaja alias "Sindak. Ranulfo Espina. D. 12 All three (3) defense witnesses testified that the accused has never been known as "Sindak" and that the accused's namesake. Region 7. D-3) issued by Cesar Cagalawan. Chief of the Chemistry and Physical Identification Section of the PC/INP Crime Laboratory Service.

Pfc. and the identity of the person who sold to the poseur-buyers the said marijuana leaves. Espina has not been corroborated by any of his companions during the buy-bust operation. Cesar Cagalawan. respectively. he made a positive and affirmative testimony [sic] how the operation was conducted. Ranulfo Espina made a positive identification of the accused. Areola and Mr. Alexander Navaja. Espina and anyone of his companions in the buy-bust operation. accused was arrested by virtue of the warrant issued in this case in the course of the hearing of the petition for a writ . buds. the 100 grams of dried marijuana leaves. seeds and stalks were found to be positive of [sic] marijuana by the findings of both Lt. where and when. As a matter of fact. Raul Tumakay. the Forensic Chemist of the PCCL and of the National Bureau of Investigation. Myrna P. Accused admitted that he had no misunderstanding with Pfc. to be the same person who sold and delivered 100 grams of dried marijuana leaves. The defense have [sic] not produced any single evidence of any improper motive on the part of Pfc. seeds and stalks wrapped in a sheet of paper to the poseur-buyers. Espina and other prosecution witnesses to prevaricate and testify falsely against the accused. The filing of the instant case was wellahead of the filing of the habeas corpus petition against another group of police officers headed by one Pat. buds. xxx xxx xxx Although the testimony of Pfc.

ERROR NO. Meinrado Paredes. et al. TWO THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT GIVING FULL CREDIT TO THE TESTIMONIES OF ALL THE WITNESSES OF THE ACCUSED. Definitely. 14 In his Appellant's Brief. accused interposes five (5) errors allegedly committed by the trial court. before the sala of Hon.of habeas corpus. Raul Tumakay. CONSIDERING THAT THE DISTANCE FROM CEBU CITY TO MANTALONGON IS AROUND EIGHTY [80] KILOMETERS AND IT IS A FACT THAT TRANSPORTATION IN THE TOWNS OR IN THE PROVINCES IS VERY HARD FOR MOST OF THE BUSES ARE HEAVY LOADED WITH . ONE THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN GIVING FULL CREDIT TO THE LONE WITNESS RANULFO ESPINA WHO WAS AT A DISTANCE OF FROM EIGHT [8] TO TEN [10] AWAY [sic] FROM THE ALLEGED TRANSACTION AND THERE WAS A FENCE SURROUNDING THE HOUSE OF ACCUSED AND OBSTRUCTING THE VIEW ASIDE FROM THE CHICKEN PENS. it cannot be said that this case was filed in retaliation and as leverage to the petition for habeas corpus filed by the mother of the accused against Pat. hereby quotedverbatim: ERROR NO.

BUT ONLY ON MAY 10. FOUR THAT THE ACCUSED WAS NOT PROPERLY IDENTIFIED. DURING THE TRIAL OF THE HABEAS CORPUS CASE. CEBU CITY.PASSENGERS AND ONE IS LUCKY IF HE CAN RIDE IMMEDIATELY ON THE FIRST BUS THAT PASSED BY. IN COURT. ERROR NO. 1989. AS THE MOTIVE BEHIND THE CASE IN ORDER TO DEFEAT OR WEAKEN THE HABEAS CORPUS CASE. 1990. ERROR NO. YET NO ARREST WAS MADE AFTER OCTOBER 23. MOTHER OF THE ACCUSED. 1989. DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE REAL ALEXANDER SINDAC WHO IS THE ONE ENGAGED IN THIS MARIJUANA BUSINESS IS DEAD AND IN ORDER TO WEAKEN THE HABEAS CORPUS CASE. LABANGON. CONSIDERING THAT THE CASE WAS FILED IN COURT ON OCTOBER 23. . DURING THE HEARING OF THE HABEAS CORPUS CASE FILED BY JOAQUINA NAVAJA. 1990. YET AND THE ACCUSED [sic] RESIDENCE IS ONLY IN TAMBISAN. THREE THAT THE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN NOT ANALIZING [sic] THE ARREST MADE ON ACCUSED ON MAY 10.

We are unable to agree. moreover. It is the prosecuting fiscal's prerogative to determine who or how many witnesses are to be presented 17 in order to establish the quantum of proof necessary for conviction. Ardiza. In this case. Espina alone since any other testimony which would have been given by the other members of the buy- . He also faults the trial court for relying on People vs. ATTY. accused contends that while prosecution witness Ranulfo Espina had five (5) other companions. In support of the first assigned error. There is no rule of evidence which requires the presentation of a specific or minimum number of witnesses to sustain a conviction for any of the offenses described in the Dangerous Drugs Act. SANTIAGO AND NOT BECAUSE OF THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED. their non-presentation was not sufficiently explained. He concludes that the companions' testimonies would have been adverse if they had been presented in court. FIVE THAT THE ACCUSED WAS CONVICTED DUE TO THE MERIT OF THE PROSECUTING FISCAL. who was eight (8) to ten (10) meters away.ERROR NO. he argues that Ranulfo Espina. 16 he claims that the said case is not applicable because two (2) peace officers had testified therein. could not have fully seen the accused and the poseur-buyers because the accused's house is surrounded by a fence and chicken pens which supposedly obstructed Espina's line of sight. none of them was presented as a witness. the prosecution deemed it sufficient to present Pfc. VIRGINIA P. 15 We shall take up these errors in the order they are presented. Besides.

Accused has not presented evidence of any ulterior motive that could have moved Ranulfo Espina to testify against him. law enforcers are presumed to have regularly performed their duty. 19 The court. 20 The accused was seen — not caught as he had escaped — in flagrante as a result of the buy-bust operation. (2) the evidence suppressed or withheld is merely corroborative or cumulative. The nonpresentation of corroborative witnesses does not constitute suppression of evidence and would not be fatal to the prosecution's case. for its part. what is important is the fact that the poseur-buyer received the marijuana from the accused and that the same was presented as evidence in court. The rule is settled that the adverse presumption from a suppression of evidence is not applicable when (1) the suppression is not willful. there exists no such contrary proof. 22 In the instant case. (3) the evidence is at the disposal of both parties and (4) the suppression is an exercise of a privilege. 18 Besides. The rule is also settled that in the absence of evidence that would show why the prosecution witness would testify falsely.bust team would be merely corroborative in nature. there is no showing that the other peace officers were not available to the accused for the latter to present as his own witnesses. is not precluded from rendering a judgment of conviction based solely on the testimony of a single witness as long as such testimony is found to be credible and satisfies the court that the accused is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of the crime charged. 21 This Court has consistently held in drug cases that absent any proof to the contrary. In such an operation. the .

is not convincing at all. Espina. Espina to see and recognize the accused as the person with whom the poseur-buyers transacted business. 24 it could not have been impossible for Pfc. Espina's testimony and find no reason to doubt his positive identification of the accused. During the cross-examination of Pfc. 23 Accused has misunderstood the case of Andiza wherein We held that in a buy-bust operation where the peace officers had witnessed the transaction between the seller and poseur-buyer. The allegation that Ranulfo Espina could not have seen both the accused and the poseur-buyers as they transacted business because of the fence and the chicken pens. counsel for the accused did not even endeavor to show the impossibility of the former's having been able to observe or . as admitted by the accused in his Appellant's Brief.logical conclusion is that no improper motive existed and that such testimony is worthy of full faith and credit. the testimonies of the peace officers who had witnessed the transaction would be sufficient for conviction and would not constitute hearsay. the latter's testimony is not indispensable. Although he was eight (8) to ten (10) meters away from the spot where the transaction took place. We have carefully read the transcript of the stenographic notes of Pfc. considering that the incident occurred in broad daylight (1:00 o'clock in the afternoon) and. the said fence is a wire fence. That two (2) peace officers testified in Andiza and only one (1) took the witness stand in the instant case is of no moment since one witness would be enough if he is credible and if his testimony satisfies the mind of the court as to the guilt of the accused with moral certainty.

Secondly. they inquired front the neighbors and were informed that the complete name of the person who had just escaped is Alexander Navaja alias "Sindak. the rule is well-settled that the issue of the witnesses' credibility is to be resolved primarily by the trial court because it is in a better position to decide the question. We find no reason — and the accused himself has not shown any — to depart from the said rule. 26 In the instant case. the principal party involved in the case. We find the failure of the accused. misunderstood or misapplied some facts or circumstances of weight and substance which would have affected the result of the case. Firstly. the trial court's findings on the matter of the credibility of the witnesses are entitled to the highest degree of respect and would not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of any showing that it overlooked. both he and the accused were in Mantalongon. As regards the name of the person who sold marijuana leaves to the poseur-buyers. either deliberately or through his counsel's sheer neglect. Dalaguete. Espina also testified that after the operation. a place which is eighty (80) kilometers from Cebu City. to propound the appropriate questions to corroborate Seno Cañedo's testimony that on the date and hour of the alleged illegal transaction. Cebu. the accused failed. Thirdly. it was not shown by Cañedo that the distance of eighty (80) kilometers is such that it would have been impossible for . having heard such witnesses and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. Pfc. Said counsel only realized too well the risks of such further inquiry. to personally claim the defense of alibi — which Cañedo testified on — rather strange.witness the transaction because of the alleged obstructions. Accordingly." 25 The second assigned error is wholly unacceptable.

it was this May arrest which brought about the filing by the accused's mother of the habeas corpus case against the police officers responsible therefor. the Information in this case was prepared on 23 October 1989 and was filed in court on 13 November 1989. 29 The records readily disclose that the Information in this case was filed long before the accused was arrested for the charge of illegal possession of firearms on 4 May 1990. it must likewise be demonstrated that it was physically impossible for him to have been at the scene of the crime at the time of its commission. 28 The trial court correctly brushed aside the accused's allegation that he was only prosecuted for the offense subject of this appeal to weaken the habeas corpus case which his mother had filed against certain policemen. As stated earlier. Thereupon. it is not enough to prove that the accused was somewhere else when the crime was committed. accused claims that he is not the Alexander Navajo. the case was archived in the meantime because despite efforts to arrest the accused.27 Furthermore. the latter always managed to elude his would-be captors.the accused to be at the scene of the buy-bust operation at the time the same was conducted. for this defense to prosper. Espina testified that they tried three (3) to four (4) times to arrest the accused but were always informed that the latter could no longer be found in that place. 30 As his fourth assigned error." who sold the prohibited drugs to the buy-bust team on 30 August 1989. It is a fundamental juridical dictum that the defense of alibi cannot prevail over the positive identification of the accused. nicknamed "Sindak. Accused avers that he is . but a mere namesake of the said drug-pusher.

whether or not there lived another person with the same name in the area where the buy-bust operation was conducted is immaterial to the case at bar. . Espina positively identified the appellant in court as the man who sold marijuana that day.known in the neighborhood as "Alex. of the crime of VIOLATION OF SECTION 4. indeed. The identity of the accused as the person who sold marijuana to the poseur-buyers was established by Pfc. AS AMENDED. a member of the buy-bust team who saw the face of the seller. By failing to object thereto. The party named as accused in the caption of the Information in this case is "ALEXANDER NAVAJA @ SINDAK. At his arraignment. Thus: Q What happened to the two marked money [sic] the P100 and the P50 bill? A We were not able to recover it because the pusher managed to escape. he thus admitted that his alias or nickname is." The opening paragraph of the body thereof reads: The undersigned 4th Assistant City Prosecutor of Cebu accuses ALEXANDER NAVAJA @ SINDAK. he voluntarily entered his plea without any protest as to his alias or nickname. Espina. ARTICLE II." Moreover. RA 6425." 31 This contention is absolutely without merit." He further relies on the testimony of Seno Cañedo that his (accused's) nickname is "Alex" and not "Sindak. committed as follows: 32(italics supplied for emphasis). "SINDAK.

Q At the time the buy bust operation was conducted wherein your poseur buyers was [sic] approached by a person. Q How about the Seller? A The same. how far were you from the poseur buyers and the Seller? A I was about 8 to 10 meters. Q What was your position in relation to the poseur buyers? A I was fronting on [sic] his direction. Q When for the first time did you know his complete name? A After the operation. Q With this position. Q How did you come to know his complete name? A We asked from the neighbors during the incident. you saw clearly the face of the pusher? . what is the name of the seller whom [sic] you have conducted a buy bust operation? A Alexander Navaja alias Sindak.Q By the way.

City Prosecutor Virginia P. will you please point him out? A (witness pointing to a man who answered the name Alexander Navaja. She adheres to the two-fold function [sic] of a public prosecutor. that Asst. Q If Alexander Navaja alias Sindak is present before this Court. it may be worth to mention in passing. in raising the last error. she would not hesitate to stand up before this court to ask for the dismissal of a case if on the basis of what she found or discovered. xxx xxx xxx Q How far were you from the two other members of your group? A Three or four arms length.A Yes. misread or misinterpreted the following statement in the appealed decision: Parenthetically. Santiago. The trial court did not render a judgment of conviction "due to the merit of the prosecuting fiscal. It is evident that the latter. is observed to be objective in the prosecution of cases.) 33 The last assigned error is unworthy of any consideration. But she and this court are not . the public prosecutor regularly assigned of [sic] this branch of the court. further prosecution would result to injustice to the accused." but on the basis of the evidence against the accused.

5. Id. therefore.persuaded by the version of the accused in his defense. Feliciano. 53. concur.. . 25. is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. the Decision of Branch 5 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu in Criminal Case No. 55. 34 Prescinding from all the foregoing. 13-25. Bidin. JJ.. 6 Id. J.. 41-53. Gimenez. 56. WHEREFORE. Jr. CBU-16994 convicting the accused ALEXANDER NAVAJA @ "SINDAK" of the crime charged. Gutierrez. 2 Id. 5 Id.. is on leave. 4 Id.. 3 Original Records.. Romero and Melo. SO ORDERED. be affirmed. 1.. # Endnotes 1 Original Records (OR). Rollo. Per Judge Celso M.. Costs against the accused. the challenged decision must.

7 Id., 8.
8 TSN, 10 December 1990, 12.
9 Original Records, 11.
10 Original Records, 42-44; Rollo, 14-16.
11 TSN, 26 November, 1990, 3; TSN, 10 December
1990, 3, 15.
12 Id., 15-16.
13 TSN, 26 November 1990 3; TSN, 10 December
1990, 3, 15.
14 Rollo, 18-20.
15 Rollo, 36-37.
16 164 SCRA 642 [1988].
17 People vs. Ruedas, 194 SCRA 553 [1991]; People
vs. Gadiana, 195 SCRA 211 [1991]; People vs.
Mandapat, 196 SCRA 157 [1991].
18 People vs. Capulong, 160 SCRA 533 [1983];
People vs. Tangliben, 184 SCRA 220 [1990].
19 People vs. De Jesus, 205 SCRA 383, 391 [1992].
20 People vs. Rumeral, 200 SCRA 194 [1991]; People
vs. Javier, 182 SCRA 830 [1990], cited in People vs.
Babac, 204 SCRA 968 [1991].

21 People vs. Catan, 205 SCRA 235 [1992].
22 People vs. De Jesus, 145 SCRA 521 [1986]; People
vs. Claudio, 160 SCRA 646 [1988]; People vs. Khan,
161 SCRA 406 [1988]; People vs. Bati, 189 SCRA 97
[1990]; People vs. Fernandez, 209 SCRA 1 [1992].
23 People vs. Macalindong, 76 Phil. 719 [1946];
People vs. Borbano, 76 Phil. 702 [1946]; People vs.
Araja, 105 SCRA 133 [1981]; People vs. Campana,
124 SCRA 271 [1983]; People vs. Patog, 144 SCRA
429 [1986]; People vs. Simon, 209 SCRA 148 [1992].
24 Rollo, 40.
25 TSN, 18 September 1990, 8.
26 People vs. Demecillo, 186 SCRA 161 [1990];
People vs. Payumo, 187 SCRA 64 [1990]; People vs.
Manalansan, 189 SCRA 619 [1990]; People vs. Gupo,
190 SCRA 7 [1990]; People vs. Toring, 191 SCRA 38
[1990]; People vs. Felipe, 191 SCRA 176 [1990];
People vs. Tismo, 204 SCRA 535 [1991].
27 People vs. Mercado, 97 SCRA 232 [1980]; People
vs. Clores, 184 SCRA 638 [1990]; People vs. Arceo,
187 SCRA 265 [1990]; People vs. Beringuel, 192
SCRA 561 [1990].
28 People vs. Esmael, 37 SCRA 601 [1971]; People
vs. Diaz, 55 SCRA 178 [1974]; People vs. Turalba, 55
SCRA 697 [1974]; People vs. Baylon, 57 SCRA 114

[1974]; People vs. Dueño, 90 SCRA 23 [1979]; People
vs. Mercado, 97 SCRA 232 [1980].
29 TSN, 10 December 1990, 7.
30 TSN, 18 September 1990, 14-15.
31 TSN, 26 November 1990, 3; TSN, 10 December
1990, 15.
32 Original Records, 1.
33 TSN, 18 September 1990, 8-9.
34 Rollo, 23.

University of Santo Tomas, Faculty of Civil Law © 2010 All
Rights Reserved.
http://www.ustcivillaw.com/Jurisprudence/1993/gr_104044_1993.php

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 105005 June 2, 1993

Article III of R. Hernandez. M/Sgt. Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Afable Cajigal rendered on 19 June 1991 a resolution wherein he recommended the filing of an . finding appellant Juanita Marcelo y Andrade guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the violation of Section 15. Bulacan. No. DAVIDE. plaintiff-appellee. in Criminal Case No. 3 As a result of the reinvestigation. The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. J. as amended. Article III of R. in Criminal Case No. accused-appellant. -versusJUANITA MARCELO y ANDRADE @ BABY TSINA. No. the team leader of the buy-bust operation conducted on 24 April 1991 which led to the apprehension of both accused.A. Oscar B. 1 The appellant and one Danilo Sarmiento alias Mike were originally charged with the violation of Section 16.: This is an appeal from the decision of Branch 14 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos. 6425 (the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972).A.. Bernardo for accused-appellant. 900-M-91 before Branch 14 of the court a quo. as amended." The trial court granted the motion. 1188-M-91. filed a motion to defer arraignment and for leave to reinvestigate the case 2 on the ground that "the prosecution witnesses were not able to present fully their evidence during the preliminary investigation. On 3 June 1991 and before the arraignment of the accused. 6425. JR.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.

A. Philippines. dispatch in transit and transport the following.information for the violation of Section 15. Daisy Babor. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. No. Lamberto Hernandez — both members of the buy-bust team — and Lt.A. Article III of R. 6 The witness presented by the prosecution were C1C Buenaventura Lopez. Forensic . No. as amended. in the municipality of Marilao. as amended. to wit: One (1) plastic bag of metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu). The charge against Danilo Sarmiento was maintained. Four (4) grams. deliver. Article III of R. against appellant Juanita Marcelo. did then and there willfully. 6425. The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. M/Sgt. Contrary to law. allegedly committed as follows: That on or about the 24th day of April. Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Cajigal filed an Information. province of Bulacan. 5 charging the appellant with the violation of Section 15. 1991. 6425. unlawfully and feloniously sell. 4 On 27 June 1991. 118-M-91 and raffled off to Branch 14 of the court a quo. the above-named accused. more or less of metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) which is regulated drug. without authority of law. The appellant entered a plea of not guilty upon arraignment on 12 July 1991.

the NARCOM Agents assigned at Meycauayan. Operation casing and surveillance was conducted by the Agents on the activities of the accused and their surveillance gave positive results.Chemist at Camp Olivas. is engaged in selling Metamphetamine Hydrochloride known as shabu. Maong and C1C . judgment is rendered. The facts as established by the prosecution are summarized in the decision as follows: The evidence in the record shows that prior to April 24. Marilao. Bulacan detachment received reports from their confidential agents and concerned citizens of Nagbalon. With costs. the court hereby imposed (sic) upon the accused the penalty ofReclusion Perpetua or Life Imprisonment and a fine of Twenty Thousand (P20. A team was organized by the Commander of the Unit composed of C1C Buenaventura Lopez. Staff Sgt. that the accused Juanita Marcelo Y Andrade alias Baby Tsina. On 12 February 1991. 15 Art. Bulacan. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Violation of Sec.00 ) pesos. the trial court promulgated its decision 7 the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. III of Republic Act 6425.000. The appellant was the sole witness for the defense. the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as amended. Lamberto Hernandez. 1991. Pampanga. finding the accused Juanita Marcelo Y Andrade alias Baby Tsina. M/Sgt.

1991.00) pesos then the accused gave the stuff to Mike who in turn gave it to Lopez then he gave the One Hundred (P100. to conduct a buy-bust operation at Nagbalon. Then Lopez gave the pre-arranged signal to his companions by scratching his head and they came out of their places and introduced themselves to the accused as NARCOM Agents then they arrested the suspects. while the other team members positioned themselves in strategic places. Hernandez gave the One Hundred (P100. That Lopez was to act (sic) as the poseur.Efren Labios. the team riding in a jeep proceeded to Nagbalon.00) pesos. marked money. (Mike is the alias of Danilo Sarmiento).buyer to whom M/Sgt. According to Hernandez he talked to the accused after her arrest and she admitted that she still. One Hundred (P100. Marilao. Then Lopez walked casually towards the accused and Mike. At 4:30 in the afternoon on April 24. to the accused. upon arriving at the place C1C Lopez was dropped by his companions at the corner of Zulueta Street where Lopez saw the accused and one alias Mike in front of the residence of the former. have (sic) in her possession shabu which confiscated weighing 4 grams contained in a plastic bag (Exhibit . When Lopez had approached the two he asked the accused if she have (sic) the stuff and the accused asked him how much he would buy and he replied.00) peso marked money to buy the stuff. Bulacan where the accused resides to entrap and arrest her.

where they were investigated inside the Office of the NARCOM in the presence of Sgt. CT751335 Exhibit D. the accused were not assisted by a counsel.K). The specimen[s] were submitted to Camp Olivas for laboratory examination to determine whether the specimen[s] are positive for shabu. Sgt. Hernandez. the list of the property seized and confiscated from the accused. Sgt. After the accused and Mike were arrested. the investigating officer.4 grams are positive and . they were brought to the NARCOM Headquarters at Camp Alejo Santos. more or less 4 grams and metamphetamine hydroc[h]loride (shabu) confiscated. Alma G. Lopez. Hernandez. Dumalaog Technical Report No. One Hundred (P100. Hernandez prepared Exhibit C. In the course of the investigation. the document was signed by the accused without the assistance of a counsel. The list mentions one small plastic bag of metamphetamine hydroc(h)loride (shabu) buy-bust. Paras and Capt. the One (1) small plastic bag containing another one (1) small bag with white crystalline substance 0. Malolos.00) pesos marked money bearing Serial No. The shabu which Lopez bought from the accused is also contained in a plastic bag (Exhibit J). During the investigation. this fact was admitted by C1C Lopez and Sgt. Exhibit H.35 gram and the one (1) small plastic bag containing white crystalline substance weighing 2. Bulacan. 1991. As per report of Lt. Huevos. NB-235-91 dated April 30.

Bulacan — testified: that she is the accused Juanita Marcelo y Andrade but not Baby Tsina and she does not know why she was given the alias "Baby Tsina". Marilao.30 grams and one plastic bag containing white crystalline substance weighing 2. Babor. one small plastic bag with white crystalline substance weighing 0. a forensic chemist at Camp Olivas. beautician. During the trial Lt. operator of a Carinderia and residing at Poblacion. 8 The defense's version of the incident is condensed by the trial court in this wise: DEFENSE EVIDENCE JUANITA MARCELO Y ANDRADE — an unwed mother. The results of the examinations of Lt. Daisy P.35 grams are positive for metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) a regulated drug. upon motion of the prosecution the Court ordered the re-examination of the specimen by Lt.contained metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) a regulated drug. that it was Capt. NB-235-91 she submitted in Court marked Exhibit L which confirms that the specimen. Zulueta St. Babor appears on the Technical Report No. Dumalaog failed to appear in Court to testify and identify Exhibit H because she was attending a seminar. Huevos would want to use that alias in his intended film depicting his life story where she would be represented by another woman as an extra in .. Huevos who gave her the alias "Baby Tsina" because Capt.

1991 at around 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon she was in the house of her mother sleeping. 1991 until the following day April 25. that while they were talking to each other. Bulacan her mother has also a house located in the same place. that she woke up and asked Mike Sarmiento what he needed and Sarmiento asked her to loan him P5. Efren and Joel. together with Mike Sarmiento. That her house is located at Zulueta St. Marilao. that she was awakened by one of her children who informed her that their Kuya Mike (referring to Danilo Sarmiento) arrived looking for her. That on April 24. that . one alias Dabo. that she stayed at the NARCOM Detachment at Meycauayan the whole night on April 24.the said intended film. Malolos.000..00 but she told Sarmiento she does not have that amount. that the agents tried to bring her along to their detachment at Meycauayan. Huevos is the Commanding Officer of the NARCOM in Bulacan whose office is at Camp Alejo Santos. that Capt. 1991 then she was brought to the NARCOM Office at Camp Alejo Santos. five (5) persons whom she does not know arrived and begun to search the house of her mother. Bulacan. Malolos. so she told the intruders that is not her house and the said persons identified themselves as NARCOM Agents whom she identified as Dondon Lopez or C1C Lopez. Bulacan. Bulacan but she refused because the agents were not armed with a warrant of arrest so the agents handcuffed her hands and when she resisted C1C Lopez boxed her on the stomach.

Huevos and C1C Lopez. Lamberto Hernandez. that the findings of Dr. 26 Oct. 1991. Hernandez promised that she will be released if she signs the documents. that she can not see her signature on Exhibit D the marked P100. that Lopez and Hernandez did not seize Exhibits J and K from her but they recovered something from Mike. because the military came to know . Sacdalan is shown on Exhibit I-B — "findings Abortion Completed by DNC". that before the incident she did not have any untoward incident with the military (tsn p. that she was detained at Camp Alejo Santos for less than one (1) month. Capt. 1991) that she was accused of the instant criminal case a serious crime. that at the time she signed Exhibit C she was not assisted by a counsel neither was she informed of her constitutional rights. that perhaps her abortion was due to the punch inflicted upon her by C1C Lopez.inside the Office of the NARCOM Agents she was made to sign Exhibit "C" — in the presence of M/Sgt.00 peso bill. 1991 for the injuries she suffered when she was boxed by C1C Lopez at Marilao on April 24. that her live-in-partner or common law husband told her he will file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights for the injuries she sustained. Emilia Sacdalan at the Bulacan Provincial Hospital on May 29 to 31. that she signed Exhibit "C" because Sgt. that she denied one (1) plastic bag containing shabu was confiscated from her. that she was examined by Dr. 21. perhaps. against the military but she prevented him from filing the complaint because her case might get worse as it is hard to go against the military.

THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT THERE WAS MATERIAL VARIANCE BETWEEN ALLEGATIONS OF CRIMINAL INFORMATION AND OFFERED TESTIMONIES OF THE PROSECUTION AGAINST THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONCLUDING THAT THERE IS EVIDENCE OF ILLEGAL DRUG TRANSACTION AGAINST THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT.that her husband would file a complaint before the Commission on Human Rights. THE HONORABLE COURT A QUO ERRED IN BELIEVING THE ABSENT/UNKNOWN/ALLEGED INFORMER'S HEARSAY INFORMATION ABOUT THE DRUG SALE IN QUESTION. 4. the appellant raises the following assignments of errors: 1. 10 This Court accepted the appeal on 13 July 1991. against Capt. Huevos. In this appeal. 2. THE HONORABLE LOWER COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN ADMITTING THE . the accused filed a notice of appeal. 3. that she signed Exhibits J and K because she was intimidated by Lopez. 9 Immediately after the promulgation of the sentence.

First. if considered. including poseurbuyers. 5. the appellant cites several points which the trial court allegedly failed to consider and which. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN GRANTING REINVESTIGATION OF THE CASE UPON SOLE (sic) EX PARTE MOTION OF PROSECUTION WITNESS WHO IS NOT A GOVERNMENT PROSECUTOR. it was unnatural for her. transact with the use of their own "drug language. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PROVE THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT." .ALLEGED PRE-MARKED P100 PESO BILL IN EVIDENCE AGAINST THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT. 7. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN ADMITTING EVIDENCE OBTAINED IN VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT. would not have led it to conclude that the accused had engaged in an illegal drug transaction as contended by the prosecution. if she was indeed an illegal drug dealer as the prosecution pictured her to be. to enter into a shady deal with the NARCOM agents using layman's language. 11 Under the first assigned error. 6. the Court may take judicial notice of the fact that genuine drug pushers and true drug buyers.

during the trial." When the issue of credibility of witnesses is raised. however. he maintained that the appellant was the seller of the regulated drug. might affect the result of the . the prearranged signal was to scratch his head twice. Hernandez was present when the transaction was going on. Fourth. Third. C1C Lopez and M/Sgt. he demonstrated the same by scratching his head several times. prosecution witness Lopez asserted that he dealt with a certain alias Mike and not with the appellant. and the veracity of their claim that the appellant was caught while selling the regulated drug commonly known as "shabu. 19)." then later on he said that the sketch was made before the team-members proceeded to the target area. Aug. he would have testified that he saw the transfer of the shabu and the marked money instead of merely saying that he saw "something" pass from the hands of Baby Tsina to Mike and finally to C1C Lopez and another "something" pass from C1C Lopez. Hernandez. but in open court. the inconsistent testimony of C1C Lopez as to when the sketch illustrating the place of transaction (Exhibit "F") was prepared: he first declared that he prepared it "after the arrest of the appellant (TSN.Second. considering that the latter is in a better position to decide the question. in the joint affidavit of arrest (Exhibit "A"). if it was true that M/Sgt. All these points which trial court allegedly failed to consider are directed at the credibility of the main prosecution witnesses. 1991. 9. unless certain facts of substance and value have been plainly overlooked which. appellate courts will generally not disturb the findings of the trial court. p. having heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. if considered.

This is what they stated therein: . Where there is no evidence. the points raised by the appellant do not impress or convince this Court. for We do not doubt the findings of the trial court that the members of the NARCOM conducted the buy-bust operation on 24 April 1991 to entrap the appellant. Whether the appellant and prosecution witness Lopez used "drug language" or not during the transaction is entirely irrelevant. The suggestion of the appellant that this Court ought to. to deal only with customers who use "drug language. Moreover. the presumption is that they were not and their testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. 14 In any event. The principal prosecution witnesses are all law enforcers and are presumed to have regularly performed their duty in the absence of proof to the contrary. 13 The appellant failed to show that these NARCOM agents were actuated by any improper motive in testifying against her. We have no reason to depart therefrom in this case. Hernandez had stated in their Joint Affidavit of Arrest that they dealt only with Mike is misleading. 12 This is the settled rule. and that the latter was caught in flagrante selling shabu. a regulated drug. may only indicate her familiarity with what she claims to be "drug language" or passwords between drug pushers and drug buyers. for their security.case. that the principal witnesses for the prosecution were actuated by improper motives. it has not been established that there is a fixed rule among drug dealers. and nothing to indicate." The appellant's assertion that C1C Lopez and M/Sgt. This court cannot take judicial notice of the "drug language" of during pushers and drug buyers for none has been shown to exist. What is important is that such a transaction took place.

00) to the woman (alias Baby Tsina). and in turned (sic) he (C1C Lopez) handed to Alias Mike the one Hundred pesos marked buy money (sic) bearing serial number CT751335 to alias Mike (sic) and the male factor (sic) immediately gave it (marked money of P100. .. this may be excused since affidavit are almost always incomplete and often inaccurate. Lopez declared: Q You said that you were dropped at corner Zulueta Street. . . or for want of suggestions and inquiries. . . what happened when you saw the accused in front of her residence? A After that. which leads to the residence of the accused whom according to you was then in front of a residence. then I already approached the two (2) suspects which is (sic) Alias Baby Tsina and Alias Mike. 15 Although the said affidavit imprecisely pictured the role of the appellant in the said incident. Thus. The male factor (sic) (Alias Mike) handed to C1C Lopez the one plastic bag of shabu . 16 What is decisive is the testimony of the said witnesses regarding the participation of the appellant in the transaction. . . sometimes from partial suggestion. Q What happened when you approached these two (2) accused? .

what happened next? A After that. Q By the way. she asked me if (sic) how much I would like to buy the shabu. Q You said you talked to Baby Tsina.00 bill (sic). Q After the accused Juanita Andrade Marcelo replied in the affirmative. sir. (WITNESS POINTING TO A WOMAN WHO STOOD UP AND GAVE HER NAME AS JUANITA ANDRADE Y MARCELO). sir. what did you tell her? A I asked Baby Tsina if she has the stuff which is shabu. Q What was the reply of Baby Tsina? A She answered yes.00 bill (sic). Q And after you answered that. sir after she answered yes. if this Baby Tsina whom you asked for shabu is inside the court room. I answered P100. sir. I talked to Alias Baby Tsina. that you were buying shabu worth P100. what happened next? . will you please point her to us? A There.A When they were standing in front of the residence. sir.

18 Prosecution witness Hernandez also testified on direct examination thus: Q How far were you from Lopez and these two persons whom he conversed at the time when you saw C1C Lopez and these two whom you identified to be Juanita Marcelo and Danilo Sarmiento at the time that they . thereafter seized from the appellant: Q Who confiscated this P100.A After that alias Baby Tsina gave the stuff to alias Mike. he further clarified that the marked P100.00 bill used to pay for the shabu was. sir.00 bill? A M/Sgt. in fact. sir. alias Mike gave me the stuff coming from alias Baby Tsina. what happened next? A After that. sir. sir. Q From whom it was (sic) confiscated? A In the possession of Juanita Andrade. xxx xxx xxx Q After the accused Juanita Andrade Marcelo handed the stuff to Danilo Sarmiento alias Mike. Hernandez. 17 On cross-examination.

were conversed (sic). Lopez categorically stated that he prepared the same before they proceeded to the target area: . 20 Appellant deliberately misleads this Court in asserting that on page 19 of the transcript of the stenographic notes of Lopez's testimony taken on 9 August 1991. On the contrary. the latter prevails because affidavits taken ex-parteare generally considered to be inferior to the testimony give in open court. xxx xxx xxx Q While C1C Lopez and Danilo was conversing with Juanita Marcelo and Danilo Sarmiento. away. Lopez declared that he prepared the sketch (Exhibit "F") after the arrest of the appellant. what else did you see if you saw anything? A A Baby Tsina was giving something to Mike and Mike was giving something to C1C Lopez. Between the joint affidavit and the testimony given in open court. 19 Therefore. the testimonies of the above prosecution witnesses indubitably show her as a seller of the regulated drug. sir. even if the first joint affidavit was not precise in describing the participation of the appellant in the transaction. how far were you from them? A I was to (sic) the distance of 8 to 10 meters.

coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti. was sufficient proof of the commission of the offense. proven to be the shabu and the marked money. From that distance. In any event. C1C Lopez. the testimony of Hernandez merely corroborated that of the principal witness — the poseur-buyer. he could only see the motions of the suspects and the poseur-buyer and could not exactly see that it was shabu and the marked money which changed hands. however. he was just being candid and truthful. It was the latter's testimony that established the selling transaction which. When he thus testified that what he noticed from that distance was "something" handed to Mike by the appellant and "something" handed by Mike to Lopez. These somethings were. He was at a distance of eight (8) to ten (10) meters from where the transaction was actually taking place. sir. 22 .Q How many days after the arrest of the accused was affected (sic) did you prepare this sketch? A I make (sic) that sketch after the Confidential Informant gave me the information. sir. Q That was before proceeding to the target area at Nagbalon? A Yes. 21 We find nothing unusual or alarming in the fact that Hernandez did not categorically state in his testimony that what he saw were the shabu and the marked money.

This variance. As in the offense of illegal sale of marijuana. unlawfully and feloniously sell. a prohibited drug. dispatch in transit and transport the following. the appellant submits that there was a material variance between the information and the testimonies of the witnesses in court. which is a regulated drug. deliver. as amended. It may be pointed out that she could have been separately prosecuted for illegal possession of the four (4) grams of shabu found in her possession after her . did not alter the substance of the charge against her. since all the elements of the offense charged in the information were proven in court. to wit: one (1) plastic bag of metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and Four (4) grams. however. In the second assigned error. The information states that the appellant "without authority of law. The appellant. No. what is required is the consumption of the transaction. 6425." while the evidence of the prosecution shows that there was only one (1) plastic bag containing shabu (Exhibit "J") which the appellant sold to C1C Lopez. Article III of R.A. under these circumstances.The matter of whether the pre-arranged signal consisted of only two (2) or of more scratchings of the head is too trivial to affect the credibility of C1C Lopez. can still be validly convicted for violation of Section 15. 23 The quantity of the regulated drug sold is not material. did then and there wilfully. more or less of metamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu). The other four (4) grams of shabu (Exhibit "K") were not part of the "stuff" sold to Lopez but were recovered from the appellant when she was apprehended. The important fact is that the poseur-buyer received the shabu from the appellant and the same was presented in court.

A. Hernandez himself. shows that the drugs taken from the appellant was conceived by Sgt. the appellant contends that the trial court erred in (a) believing the claim of the prosecution witnesses that they acted on a tip from an informant who. Mones of the PNP Crime Laboratory Service at Camp Olivas. however. as amended. Hernandez and delivered by him personally to Sgt. The latter explained that it took him five (5) days after the arrest to submit the same for examination because there was no other person who could do it as all their agents were on a mission. Article III of R. received the same for examination upon order of the court on 13 September 1991 from Lt. as well. Exhibit "E" of the prosecution which is the request for examination. 27 Under the third assigned error. 24 There is. Mones of the PNP Crime Laboratory from M/Sgt. was not presented in court thus raising the presumption that evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced. Dumalaog was on schooling and could not be presented in court at the time of the trial. Babor. Informers are never presented in court because of the need to preserve their . no unexplained gap in the chain of custody of the drugs (Exhibits "J" and "K") as alleged by the appellant. 6425. and in (b) denying the appellant's right to meet the accuser and to have him examined. The same was kept by M/Sgt. Pampanga on 29 April 1991 for examination. This assigned error is without merit. Dumalaog 26 who conducted the examination of the specimen on 30 April 1991 but whose findings had to be re-confirmed by Lt. San Fernando. No. Babor because Lt.arrest under Section 15. on the other hand. 25 Lt.

The trial court convicted the appellant on the basis of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and the presentation in court of the shabu taken from her during the buybust operation. the poseur-buyer. which assails the court a quo for admitting evidence in violation of the appellant's constitutional rights." the list of property seized from her. No extrajudicial admission or confession in violation of her constitutional rights was considered by the trial court. an extra-judicial admission. its presentation in evidence was not even indispensable as the consummation of the sale was sufficiently established by the testimony of Lopez. 28 Moreover. is misplaced.invaluable service to the police. thus: The court disregarded Exhibit C and its (sic) submarkings because the document. . This is incorrect. The fifth assigned error.00 bill is unsatisfactory. the testimony of the informer is not essential to this case because the said informer was not present during the buy-bust operation and had no participation therein or in the entrapment of the appellant. However. Lopez satisfactorily identified this piece of evidence as the buy-bust money. Under the fourth assigned error. Besides. was signed in violation of the constitutional right of the accused to be assisted by a counsel. hence. As a matter of fact. the disregarded and inadmissibility of Exhibit C did not create a gap on the chain of evidence against the accused. the appellant claims that the evidence concerning the making of the P100. the trial court should not have admitted it in evidence. the trial court even disregarded Exhibit "C.

Moreover. move for reinvestigation without the conformity of the prosecutor. The penalty should be life imprisonment. The decision appealed from must then be affirmed.In the last assigned error. We have pronounced in several decisions thatreclusion perpetua is not synonymous with life imprisonment. in behalf of the prosecutor. She did not object to the motion. She is now estopped to question the propriety of the grant of the motion by the trial court. as amended. the reinvestigation and the filing of a new information against her. ask for the dismissal or the reinvestigation of the case after the information had been filed in court — the proper party for that being the prosecutor who has the control of the prosecution of the case 31 — the matter is already moot and academic. While the appellant has a strong point here since the complainant in a criminal case is merely a witness and not a party to the case and cannot. Citing Caes vs. M/Sgt. . The latter is the penalty prescribed for the violation of Section 15. by himself. particularly when the case is already pending in court. She voluntarily entered a plea of not guilty to and was tried under the new information. the appellant faults the trial court for allowing the reinvestigation of the case upon the motion of a mere witness. Hernandez. and must be the penalty imposed. the term "reclusion perpetua" in the dispositive portion of the decision should be deleted. 30 she contends that the police officer cannot. However. Article III of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. the appellant has not shown that any of her rights had been prejudiced by the reinvestigation. Intermediate Appellate Court.

Bidin. Per Judge Felipe N. # Endnotes 1 Original Records (OR). 1188-M91 is hereby AFFIRMED. et seq. concur.WHEREFORE. 156-157.. . Feliciano. 1. 1. Romero. 21-22." Brief for Accused-Appellant. the challenged decision of Branch 14 of the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan in Criminal Case No. 15-23. subject to the modification abovestated as to the nomenclature of the penalty. Jr. 155-156. 5 Id. 3 Appendix "C. 151-159. Rollo. 15-23... 9 OR. SO ORDERED. 4-5. 28. 6 OR.. and Melo. 10 Id. Rollo. JJ. 7 Id. Rollo. 11. Villajuan. 11 Brief for the Appellant. 2 Appendix "B. Rollo. 8 OR. 4 OR. 151-159. Rollo." Id. 160. 19-20.

People vs. 23 See People vs. De Jesus. People vs. 20 People vs. Asio. 13 People vs. Dekingco. People vs. 191 SCRA 136 [1990]. People vs. People vs. 197 SCRA 151 [1991]. 145 SCRA 521 [1986]. supra. 9 August 1991. Florida. 90254. Riego. People vs. Vocente. Jutie. 3. 24 September 1992. 22 People vs. 21 TSN. People vs. 8-10. 21 September 1991. Mariano. 189 SCRA 512 [1990]. Magdadaro. 16 People vs. Mariano. 15 OR. People vs. 14 People vs. Araja. . People vs. Campana. 18 Id. No. Garcia. 19 TSN. 105 SCRA 133 [1981]. Macuto 176 SCRA 762 [1989]. 171 SCRA 586 [1989]. 17 TSN. 170 SCRA 497 [1989]. 205 SCRA 235 [1992]. Tejada. 92 SCRA 503 [1979]. 9-11. 19. 124 SCRA 271 [1983].12 People vs. Catan. 188 SCRA 100 [1990].. 9 August 1991. Collantes. 37-38. G. 89 SCRA 440 [1979]. Abejuela. 208 SCRA 853 [1992]. 189 SCRA 445 [1990]. People vs. 177 SCRA 250 [1989]. People vs.R.

26 TSN.ustcivillaw. 27 September 1991. University of Santo Tomas. 158. September 06. 42-43. supra. Consuelo. Caes vs. Sunga. Catan. 18 September 1991-11. Collantes. 27 Id.24 People vs. 189 SCRA 619 [1990]. Faculty of Civil Law © 2010 All Rights Reserved. Rollo. supra. 30 179 SCRA 54 [1989]. People vs. supra. http://www. 22. 29 OR. 184 SCRA 402 [1990]. IAC. Manalansan. 31 Republic vs. 13.php Today is Tuesday. 162 SCRA 191 [1988].. 28 People vs.com/Jurisprudence/1993/gr_105005_1993. 2016 . 25 TSN. People vs.

at around 3:00 in the afternoon. Diaz. CJ. 2003. 192913 Search Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION June 13. son NBI Dumaguete chief. (2) Atty. and Torremocha oduced him to appellant. Diaz told appellant that he was interested in buying shabu and handed the P300 marked money. (3) Louie Diaz. EL REBOTAZO y ALEJANDRA. ceeded to Shakey’s and positioned themselves in strategic locations to ensure that they can witness the entrapment. Diaz flagged them down. informant Orly Torremocha went to the National Bureau of Investigatio BI) office in Dumaguete City to report that appellant was selling several sachets of shabu in his possession. CEB CR No. Dumaguete City in Criminal Case s. . the NBI planned a buy-bust operation and formed a buy-bust team. at around 4:30 in the afternoon of the same day. 2013 OPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.A. volunteered to be the poseur-buyer. The CA affirmed the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC).R. After a brief conversation. For lack of personnel. er a briefing. appellant and Torremocha passed by Shakey’s on board a motorcycle. Plaintiff-Appellee. 9165) or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. culled from the records. DECISION RENO. In exchange. planned. Branch 30. No. Diaz would then flag them down and discreetly ask where he ld buy shabu. 16394 and 16395. It was planned that appellant and Torremocha would pass by akey’s Pizza Plaza in Rizal Boulevard on board a motorcycle. sed on this information. the prosecution’s version is herein quoted: February 27.R. Article II of Republic A 9165 (R. convicting appellant Joel Rebotazo y Alejandria of violating Sections 5 and 11. the buy-bust team. With team was media representative Ivan Bandal. 00443. which was composed of: (1) N ent Miguel Dungog. Dominador Cimafranca. appellant handed to Diaz a plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance. The informant o told the NBI that he was going to meet with appellant later.: ore us is a Notice of Appeal1 dated 9 September 2009 from the Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. and (4) Torremocha. Accused-Appellant. as the latter was looking for a motorcycle to be used in lookin his missing wife. with the exception of Torremocha.

He knew this Orly Torremocha as he was his schoolmate at NOHS and has been his long time friend. which tested positive for thamphetamine Hydrochloride. media representative Mari nas. as there were also tables there for customers.12 gram of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. While they waited for their order. this Torremocha was busy texting on his cell phone. Torremocha gave half of it to Diaz wh n left. Appellant was subjected to a body search. but was not informed of his constitutional rights. ngerous drug. and. and within the jurisdiction of this norable Court. which Dungog brought to the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory. Dungong also rked the two (2) plastic sachets with the following initials: (1) NBI-DUMDO-02/20/03/REBOTASO/BB/01. The money was placed on the table. Photographs were also taken of appellant with the seized items. and tested positive for the presence of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. At the time of his arrest. The results of the laboratory examination were embodied in Chemistry Report No. they instead ered pizza. . Dungog and Cimafranca then hed to Diaz and appellant’s location and effected the latter’s arrest. 2003. and (2) NBIMDO-02/20/03/REBOTASO/Pos/02. NBI Agents Dungog and Cimafranca rushed and pointed something to him. the accused was aring pants. ice Inspector Josephine L. then and there. After cutting the lengthy something. unlawfully and feloniously d deliver to one NBI poseur-buyer approximately 0. 9165. D-026-3 pellant also underwent a drug test. commonly called "shabu. did. including the marked money given by Diaz. as well as some money from appellant’s wallet. in the cess. he NBI office. and a representative from the Department of Justice. Llena received the request and examined the specimen. appellant’s version is as follows: e accused claimed that on February 27.on completing the transaction. voluntarily informed the NBI agents that he had another sachet of shabu inside one of his socks.A. After a while.5 nsequently. The two amended informations are quoted herein below: Criminal Case No. The accused had no lawyer at that time. in the City of Dumaguete. gros Oriental Provincial Office. but remained seated. one Orly Torremocha let him ride on his motorcycle and they went around th . The accused mplained to the inquest prosecutor that he was forced to sign a document without being explained [sic] as to what it was al out. They seated themselves outside of the n store. they nt to Shakey’s at Rizal Boulevard as Torremocha invited the accused for snacks. The accused had no socks at that time. Dungog recovered said sachet. The accused was forced to sign a docume wn as Inventory of Dangerous Drugs dated February 20. the said accused. The accused was ested. After being informed constitutional rights. not being then authorized by law. willfully. Diaz executed the pre-arranged signal by removing his cap. 16394: at on or about the 27th day of February 2003. on 30 June 2003. 2003. appellant was brought to the NBI office. The accused was brought to the NBI Office and was searched agai e agents did not recover anything from him as in the earlier search made on him. a T-shirt and slippers only. Torremocha then got a lighter and mething that was lengthy which contained shabu. They first ordered siopao but since there was none. Dungog conducted an inventory of the seized items in the presence of appellant. The used raised his hands. The NBI Dumaguete Chief likewise prepared a letter request fo oratory examination of the seized substance. 4(Citations tted) the other hand. After about three [sic] minutes. two amended informations were filed against the appellant for violation of Sections 5 and 11 cle II of R. After a while. The NBI agents searched him but found nothing on him. a certain uie Diaz came and handed money to Torremocha. Philippines.

in the light of the foregoing. Article 2 of R. not being then authorized by law. unlawfully and feloniously sess and keep approximately 0.at the accused is positive for use of Methamphetamine as reflected in Chemistry Report No.00).00)." Criminal Case No.07 gram of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. e 0. and within the jurisdiction of this norable Court.07 gram of Methamphetamine or shabu is hereby confiscated and forfeited in favor of the government and to be dispos n accordance with law. 6 16 May 2006. n Criminal Case No. appellant was arraigned. No.12 gram of Methamphetamine or shabu in violation of Section 5.000.A. provided he agrees voluntarily in writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed upon convicted oners.A.A. 16395. the RTC rendered a Joint Judgment. he service of sentence. Branch 30. the said accused. Article II of R. 7 the dispositive portion of which is herein quoted: HEREFORE. It relied on the testimony of Louie Diaz poseur-buyer who narrated how the illegal sale took place. 65 and is hereby sentenced to suffer an indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day as minimum term to rteen (14) years as maximum term and to pay a fine of Four Hundred Thousand Pesos (P400. 16395: at on or about the 27th day of February 2003. Llena and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Agent Miguel Dungong. the RTC gave more weight to the evidence presented by the prosecution. the accused shall be credited with the full time during which he has undergone preventive risonment. s ruling. the accused Joel Rebotazo y Alejandria is hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of offense of illegal possession of 0. [sic] ntrary to Section 5.A. No.12 gram of Methamphetamine or shabu is hereby confiscated and forfeited in favor of the government and to be dispos n accordance with law. the accused Joel Rebotazo y Alejandria is hereby found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of offense of illegal sale of 0. did. and itively identified appellant as the seller of the shabu. Article 2 of R. in the City of Dumaguete. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002). e 0. Poli pector Josephine S. commonly called "shabu." a dangerous dru at the accused is positive for use of Methamphetamine as reflected in Chemistry Report No. Philippines. the Court hereby renders judgment as follows: n Criminal Case No. CDT-018-07. ntrary to Section 11. 8 It also gave credence to the testimony of the two police officers." er the case was raffled to the Regional Trial Court. 9165 and eby sentenced to suffer a penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500. The two cases were then consolidated and jointly tried. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002). ORDERED. willfully. then and there.000.07 gram of Methamphetamine or shabu in violation of Section 11. CDT-018-03. presented in court the evidence of the corpus delicti. Article II of R. and he pleaded n ty. who were both "presumed t e acted regularly in the performance of their official functions. in the absence of clear and convincing proof to the contrary . Dumaguete City. 16394.

the CA affirmed the factual findings of the RTC 11 on the premise that witness Di d Dungog had clearly and convincingly established his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. seven (7) days before the date of the alleged incident in question. s TSN November 7. ORDERED. to wit: 1. ISSUE m the foregoing. which. The Prosecution admitted that the inventory report does not contain the signature of any elected official (Pls." 13 These discrepancies have in fact been clearly explained by the witnesses in their testimonies. February 27. The marking on Specimen "B" (evidence-shabu. Prosecution admitted that the inventory report is dated February 20. p. 2003. 3. the factual discrepancies pointed out by appellant referred only to minor and insignificant details. Branc of Dumaguete City dated May 16. the CA rendered a Decision 10 on 31 July 2009. In particular. the sole issue before us is whether or not the RTC and CA erred in finding the testimonial evidence of the secution witnesses sufficient to warrant appellant’s conviction for the crimes charged. 4. the joint judgment rendered by the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental. 2003. 3). while in the inventory report. The prosecution admitted that in his affidavit. the arresting officer NBI Agent Miguel Dungog named Ivan Bandal as the media representative. 2003 (pls. THE COURT’S RULING pellant argues14 that the RTC and CA erred in appreciating the factual evidence on record. seven (7) days before the date of the alleged incident.t they are motivated by ill will. the named media representative is Maricar Aranas (Kindly see Pre-Trial Order). 16 pellant also harps on some factual discrepancies."9 on intermediate appellate review. do not destroy the prosecution of the e.15 Later in the proceedings. in the light of the foregoing. but no lanation was offered as to why the third bill was missing. Diaz s unable to answer. reover. seven (7) days before the date of the alleged incident in question. . 2005. which is February 27. "when wed with the prosecution witnesses’ clear and straightforward testimonies. the prosecution managed to offer only two supposedly marked bills. The marking on Specimen "A" (evidence-shabu. onvicting appellant of the crimes charged. 2006 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto. see Pre-Trial Order). The fact that the CA did not find any tive on the part of these witnesses to falsely implicate appellant 12 only bolstered his conviction. "D") bears the date "02/20/03" which is February 20. When Prosecutor Escorial asked ness Diaz why the serial numbers the former read from a bunch of peso bills presented in evidence were not marked. 2003. he notes that the secution failed to establish the existence of the marked money supposedly recovered. prosecution’s Exh. prosecution’s Exh. 2003. to wit: HEREFORE. 2. "E") bears th date "02/20/03" which is February 20.

the ca drug-pushing and possession of prohibited drugs must fall together.25 On the lack of coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).29 wever. These erations are often utilized by law enforcers for the purpose of trapping and capturing lawbreakers in the execution of their arious activities. appellant argues that the buy-bust operation should be considered unauthorized d his subsequent arrest illegal. see TSN November 7. sprudence has consistently held that the procedural safeguards enunciated in Section 21 of R.21 Because of this omission. It is susceptible to police abuse.31 courts have been exhorted to be extra vigilant in trying drug cases. the I failed to send a filled-out pre-coordination form by facsimile message. because there is nothing in R. 28and must be undertaken with due regard for constitutional and al safeguards. 22 Hence. provided that the secution adequately proves the sale. the OSG asserts that it does not ate appellant’s constitutional right against illegal arrests. Seized.A. the prosecution "failed to account for whereabouts of the seized drugs from the time the forensic chemist was done with examining the same. 9165 must be strictly erved. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. 9165 and its implementing rule d regulations."20 tly. 4). in People v. 9165 that mandatorily requires rdination with the PDEA. and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. he outset. 2005. buy-bust operations are legally sanctioned procedures for apprehending drug peddlers and distributors. 19 Specifically.26 I y-bust operations are legally sanctioned procedures.24 Moreover. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) insists that there is nothing in the law that requires th secution to present the marked money. Plant Sources of . it has a significant downside that has not aped the attention of the framers of the law.which is February 27.A. 17 addition. the most notorious of which is its use as a to extortion. as required by R. The non-presentation does not create any hiatus in the evidence. 18 pellant further argues that no one from the prosecution testified on the manner in which the seized drugs were handled and measures undertaken to preserve their integrity and evidentiary value. he questions the failure of the prosecution to indicate the name of the person who affixed his signature to the entory as a Department of Justice (DOJ) representative.A. 2003 (pls.23 the part of the prosecution. as we have observed in People v. Garcia. among which are provided as follows: ction 21. lest an innocent son is made to suffer the unusually severe penalties for drug offenses. up to the time the e identified by her in court. as against the straightforward and consistent testimonies of its witnesse supposed inconsistencies cited by appellant refer only to minor and insignificant details that do not destroy the prosecutio e.27 A busy-bust operation is one form of entrapment employed by peace officers as an effective way of prehending a criminal in the act of committing an offense. appellant questions the NBI’s lack of coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). 30 while this kind of operation has been proven to be an effective way to h out illegal transactions that are otherwise conducted covertly and in secrecy. p. Tan. The evidence supposedly obtained thereby must be declared inadmissible. Allegedly. as the said pieces of evidence appear to have been already in the court’s custody when she ified. provided they are undertaken with due regard for constitutional and al safeguards. Thus.

2003? At 3:30 in the afternoon there was an informant who arrived. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. ruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment.ngerous Drugs. ESCORIAL xxxx Now can you remember any unusual incident that happened in the afternoon of February 27. a representative from th media and the Department of Justice (DOJ).33 If at all. affirm the appellant’s conviction for the following reasons. plant sources of dangerous drugs. are not impressed by the alleged failure of the prosecution to present the marked money in Court. seized and/or surrendered. in response to the claimed errors of the CA. as raised by the pellant. The marked money does not need be presented in Court. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. as well as instruments/paraphernalia d/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. . since failure to do so will not essarily disprove the sale. the marked money merely serves as corroborative evidence in proving appellant’s t. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. for proper disposition in the following manner: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall.32 Failure to mark the money or to present it in evidence is not material. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous gs. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. plant sources of dangerous drugs. we find no cogent reason to overturn appellant’s conviction. e Court has been categorical in declaring that neither law nor jurisprudence requires the presentation of any money used in -bust operation. immediately after seizure and confiscation. the same shall be submitted to the PDEA Forensic Laboratory for a qualitative and quantitative examination. the testimony of prosecution witness Louie Diaz sufficiently established the sale and identified the ngerous drug in court:36 RECT EXAMINATION BY PROS.34 Stated differently. (2) Within twenty-four (24) hours upon confiscation/seizure of dangerous drugs. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. xxxx ded by the above-quoted provision. E. the failure to present marked money does not ate a hiatus in the evidence for the prosecution. 35 stated in the records. or his/her representative or counsel. in prosecuting a case for the sale of dangerous drugs. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment. as long as the sale of dangerous drugs is adequately proven and the drug ject of the transaction is presented before the court.

because that was my vacant. And where were you when it was reported to your father? was at the office. sir. sir. Then after you volunteered as poseur buyer? So we had a briefing. sir. And what happened next? So we designed something for operation and we had our briefing. What was that briefing all about? We are going to conduct a buy bust on Joel Rebotazo. what transpired next? He had reported something regarding the drug pushing activity of Mr. Here in Dumaguete City? Yes. What boulevard is that? . ce there was a lack of personnel at that time so I volunteered to be a poseur-buyer. there was a plan to conduct buy bust on Joel Rebotazo? We proceeded to the Shakey’s at the boulevard.xxxx And when this informant arrived in the Office of the NBI. Joel Rebotazo. What happened next during the briefing. Vacant time? Yes. To whom it was reported? To my father who was a chief. So what happened next when that informant informed your father about the transaction? He forwarded it to his operative who was Miguel Dungog. Dumaguete City.

I gave him three hundred and the shabu that is also worth P300 he also gave it to me. What particular hand? Right hand. And what happened at the Rizal boulevard near the Shakey’s or at the Shakey’s? At the Shakeys. And then they were having a versation at the Shakey’s and I pretended to be a buyer. what transpired next? That’s it. Rizal boulevard near? Near Bethel. That you tendered that money? . sir. Our bridge was the informant because the informant and him know each other and me s just a buyer. And since he acceded to your proposal to buy shabu. was there any conversation made between you as the buyer with the accused Jo botazo? Yes. he also gave me an exchange of the amount that I gave. What happened when you informed the accused Joel Rebotazo of your desire to buy shabu? As I bought from him in the amount of Three hundred. Can you tell the Honorable Court what was that conversation? bought drug from him worth P300. this Joel Rebotazo acceded to your propos Yes. after the briefing. So the plan was for the informant and Joel Rebotazo to accompany him. sir. sir. sir. we arrived there at 4:30 already. And since you pretended to be the buyer. xxxx So after you informed the accused Joel Rebotazo of your desire to buy shabu. And did you arrive thereat? 4:30.Boulevard. Your Honor.

sir. our agreed signal with the operatives is for me to take off. I gave a go signal to the operatives. They apprehended Joel Rebotazo. the shabu.Yes. And were you able to take off your hat? Yes. Your Honor. What signal were you talking about? Since I was wearing a hat at that time. By the way. The same what? Right hand. what happene t? When I gave the money. will you be able to identify him? Yes. sir. sir. Who approached both of you? Miguel Dungog and Doming Cimafranca. sir. What about Joel Rebotazo. identify the same and tell the norable Court what particular sachet of shabu was the one that was the subject of the buy bust transaction? . There are two (2) of this shabu in front of you. what particular hand of Joel Rebotazo? The same. kindly go over these two (2) sachets of shabu. So after there was an exchange of money made by you and the receiving of the shabu from Joel Rebotazo. Your Honor. he also gave me the stuff. What happened after you took off your hat? They already assaulted. Now if that shabu will be shown to you. the operatives. Kindly point to us? There (witness is pointing to the person wearing orange t-shirt who when asked as to his name answered Joel Rebotazo). if this Joel Rebotazo is inside this courtroom. will you be able to identify that shabu? Yes.

" who were your companions in conducting a buy bust operation? Dominador Cimafranca and other assets of the NBI. s testimony was sufficiently corroborated by witness Miguel Dungog: 37 RECT EXAMINATION CONDUCTED BY PROS. 2003? We were at the Rizal Boulevard conducting buy bust operation. Who is this Louie Diaz? He is the son of our former chief in Dumaguete City. When you say "we. what transpired there he time? We conducted the buy bust operation. It was left on the accused. ESCORIAL xxxx Can you remember where you were in the afternoon of February27. using Louie Diaz as the poseur-buyer. And considering that you were there at the Rizal Boulevard particularly at the Shakey’s Pizza Plaza. We successfully conducted the buy bust eration against Joel Rebotazo. Where was it? Do you know where was it recovered? He inserted it in his socks. Ivan Bandal. what is this shabu all about? Actually this was placed in a bigger sachet and it was being divided into two (2). Such as? Louie Diaz and also a media representative.This is the one (witness is handling over the plastic which contained the sachet). I was at a seeing distance. . Where were you when this Louie Diaz conducted the buy bust? was in the vicinity. this one (witness is touching the other pla tainer). xxxx There is another sachet of shabu aside from the one that you have just identified.

Sir. and we arranged signals. there was a signal. Sir. When you say you are at a seeing distance. Sir. he was wearing a cap. Did you see what was given by Louie Diaz to Joel Rebotazo? No. It was Louie Diaz who personally received the item. was it clear at that time? Yes. Sir.When you say you were in the vicinity. What was the signal? Taking off the cap of Louie Diaz. What about the thing that you saw in the extended hand of Joel Rebotazo given to Louie Diaz? have not seen the thing given by Joel Rebotazo to Louie Diaz. Are you telling this Honorable Court that Louie Diaz was wearing a cap? Yes. After the transaction you said there was a signal? Yes. What was the exchange which you mentioned? Can you describe to us what particular hand of Louie Diaz was extended t used Joel Rebotazo? His right hand but another thing was given also in exchange from Joel Rebotazo. What kind of cap? A baseball cap. how far were you? About four or five meters away. Then after the signal what happened next? . Sir. Sir. xxxx But what have you observed between the two? We observed that there was an exchange and then the signal was given that the sale was completed.

40 This would ideally cover the testimony about every link in the chain. Sir. to include. subjects of this case. ESCORIAL xxxx n other words you effected the arrest? Yes. forensic chemist of the PNP Crime Laboratory.41 examination of the records would reveal that the prosecution has sufficiently established the chain of custody in this case. that we are NBI and this is a buy bust operatio Who told Joel Rebotazo? Me. I effected the arrest and after I told him that. I effected the arrest and after I told him that. reveal that althoug chain was not narrated step-by-step. 38 Specifically. there is no need to present the marked money in court. Llena. as much as possible."39 have held that as a mode of authenticating evidence. Sir. because the prosecution has satisfactorily shown how the gal sale took place and positively identified the packets of shabu. n other words you effected the arrest? Yes. to wit:42 RECT EXAMINATION CONDUCTED BY PROS. as the said pieces of evidence appear to have been already in the court’s custody when she ified.immediately went to them and told Joel Rebotazo to freeze and stay calm. in such a way that everyone who touched the exhibit would describe how and fro om it was received. e testimonies of Miguel Dungog and Josephine S. Witness Dungog ified on this matter. a description of the condition in which it was delivered to the next link chain. dently. pellant also argues that no one from the prosecution testified on the manner in which the seized drugs were handled and t asures undertaken to preserve their integrity and evidentiary value. xxxx . the chain-of-custody rule requires that the presentation of the seize hibited drugs as an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the ponent claims it to be. the prosecution "failed to account for the ereabouts of the seized drugs from the time the forensic chemist was done with examining the same. Sir. a frisked [sic] was made on his body and then he voluntarily told me t another pocket [sic] was in his sock. up to the time they e identified by her in court. from seizure of the prohibited g up to the time it is offered in evidence. a frisked [sic] was made on his body and the he voluntarily told me th other pocket was in his sock. The prosecution has sufficiently ablished the chain of custody. the accountability for each transfer of the seized drugs was proven.

You made these markings on the sachets at the crime scene? Yes. Attached to the records of the case. found on page 19 is an inventory of dangerous drugs which is already marked as Exh for the prosecution. Kindly go over this and identify the same. Sir. NBI-DUMDO-02/20/03/REBOTAZO/POS/02 Who made that marking. And what is the meaning of that marking? BB/01 is the product of the buy bust. [ sic] And what is the meaning of that? POS/02 is the one recovered in his possession.When you effected the arrest what happened next? The two (2) sachets of shabu were marked as 1 and 2 and the subject Joel Rebotazo was taken to the NBI office for prope entory taking and other standard procedures done in the NBI office. . Sir. xxxx n the sachet are markings. Can you identify what are these markings and who made those writings? NBI-DUMDO-02/20/03/REBOTAZO/BB/01 Who made those markings? Myself. xxxx You also mentioned that you have issued a receipt at the NBI office? Yes. xxxx Kindly proceed to the other sachet. Sir. Sir. Me. Sir.

Minor inconsistencies. 47 we have held that "by and large. when erring only to minor details and ch are fully explained. ESCORIAL xxxx Police Inspector Josephine S. for they are presumed to have formed their duties in a regular manner. since [sic] when did you receive this letter request together with the specimen mitted in relation to this case together with the seized items? The letter request which came from the Chief of the NBI stationed here in Dumaguete City together with the specimen ject in this case were received in our office on February 28. unless there is evidence to the contrary. the other hand. 45 Failure to impute ill motive on the part o police officers who conducted the buy-bust operation 46will only sustain the conviction of the accused. Sir. Llena. 2003 at 9:20 in the morning. The rule on material inconsistencies ha en enunciated by this Court several times. xxxx There is a signature at the bottom portion along with the word. what did you do with them? The specimen were subjected into [sic] physical and chemical examination. e prosecution of cases involving illegal drugs depends largely on the credibility of the police officers who conducted the bu t operation. witness Llena testified as follows: 43 RECT EXAMINATION CONDUCTED BY PROS. xxxx You also said awhile ago that you were the officer who submitted the letter request to the PNP crime laboratory together w confiscated drugs. e supposed factual discrepancies in the prosecution’s evidence do not hold water.44 Credence is usually given to prosecution witnesses who are police officers.This is the same inventory of dangerous drugs we made at the NBI office. Whose signature is this? This is my signature. Arcega. "Delivered by" and followed by a handwritten name Miguel ngog. xxxx Now. In People v. after you received this letter request for laboratory examination together with the 2 sachets of shabu in relation to the es. for examination? Yes. do not troy the prosecution’s case. Sir. the ‘material 1avvphi1 .

too minor. st. been held. on the contrary. on the lack of signature of an elected official and the failure to indicate the name of the person who affixed his signature J representative in the inventory report. thus: 50 That at the time of the signing of the Inventory of Drugs.51 cond. nsidering that the integrity of the seized drugs has been maintained. time and again. What is of utmost importance is the servation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items. that minor inconsistencies and contradictions in the declarations of witnesses do not destroy t nesses' credibility but even enhance their truthfulness as they erase any suspicion of a rehearsed testimony. we agree with the findings of the CA that the prosecution has sufficiently explained the factual discrepancies.onsistencies’ asserted by the accused-appellant which allegedly create grave doubts are. Its non-compliance will not der an accused’s arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. As to question of the identity of the DOJ representative. as the same would be utilized in the determination guilt or innocence of the accused. trivial d inconsequential to affect the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. you were not able to identify the DOJ Representative? Yes. do you admit that you did not remember him at that time? had a hard time to recall [sic]. witness Dungog clarified the same in his cross-examination. the inconsistencies having been fully and sufficiently lained during trial by the witnesses themselves."48 ppears from the records that the NBI tried to contact barangay officials to attend the inventory-taking.49 Such effort on the part of the NBI agents and the consequent failure of said elected officials to appear should be sidered sufficient justifiable ground so as to excuse the prosecution from complying with this particular requirement. the alleged confusion in the identity of the media representatives was thoroughly explained by witness Dungog in the owing manner:52 You mentioned a while ago that Ivan Bandal was present during the buy-bust? . are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. the absence of an elected official during the inventory-taking should not be deemed fatal to the prosecution’s e. And you cannot remember his face or his name? think it was Michael Fabe." this score. Are you sure of that? am sure that it is Michael Fabe. Besides. and that the drugs were immediately marked for prop ntification. jurisprudence has maintained that "non-compliance by the apprehending/buy-bus m with Section 21 is not fatal as long as there is justifiable ground therefor. and as long as the integrity and the evidentiary ue of the confiscated/seized items. But during the time of the cross-examination. but none ved. and their explanations having been accepted by the Trial Court.

Sir. . rect? Yes. And when you conducted therefore. ing the cross-examination. right? The formal inventory. And thereafter. Sir. He was around in the initial plan and going to the site. right? And it was at this time that a media [sic] was present. van Bandal? Yes. he further stated: 53 But specifically you mentioned a media practitioner? Yes. But as you stated he was no longer present during the actual buy bust? Yes. The name? Maricar Aranas. Why? During the conduct of the buy bust operation. he was called by his office at Silliman University. And it was the time you conducted the inventory. Sir. Sir. you seized the objects and you went to the NBI office. Sir. Was he able to sign in the inventory? No. the actual buy bust operation there was no representative from the media? None. Sir. so he was not around in the ual buy bust. after the buy bust operation you effected the arrest. Sir. and was represented by another personality Aranas? Yes. Sir.Yes.

II e NBI’s lack of coordination with the PDEA not exculpate the appellant. and other emoluments and privileges granted to their pective positions in their original mother agencies. Sir. the Narcotics Division of the NBI and the Customs Narcotics Interdiction Unit are hereby olished. That such personnel who are affected shall have the option of eith ng integrated into the PDEA or remain with their original mother agencies and shall. one heat sealed transparent plas k of white crystalline granules believed to be shabu marked as NBI-DUMDO-02/20/03/REBOTAZO/POS/02. Section 86 of R. Nobody noticed.A. Such personnel who are transferred. What is the aning of this NBI-DUMDO-02/20/03? That corresponds to the date but in that case. Sir. 86. including the markings on Specimen "A" and ecimen "B.. be immediately reassigned er units therein by the head of such agencies. PNP or any of the task force shall immediately transfer the same to the PDEA: Provided. 2. e transfer. absorption and integration of the different offices and units provided for in this Section shall take effect within hteen (18) months from the effectivity of this Act: Provided. however they shall continue with the performance of their task as detail service with the PDEA. however. the following day. to wit: one heat sealed transparent plastic pack if white crystalline nules believed to be shabu marked as NBI-DUMDO-02/20/03/REBOTAZO/BB/01. absorbed and integrated in the PDEA ll be extended appointments to positions similar in rank. "Hereunder is an inventory of dangerous gs confiscated from the possession of Joel Rebotazo. hing in this Act shall mean a diminution of the investigative powers of the NBI and the PNP on all other crimes as provided in their respective organic laws: Provided. as follows: 54 Now on the second page of your affidavit. thereafter. You did not correct that? have corrected that in my affidavit. Absorption. That personnel absorbed and on detail service shall be given u (5) years to finally decide to join the PDEA. on the discrepancy between the inventory report and the actual incident. That the NBI." the discrepancy was also explained by Dungog.Present as representative of the media who was not present during the actual buy bust operation? Yes. The I. subject to screenin l such time that the organizational structure of the Agency is fully operational and the number of graduates of the PDEA ademy is sufficient to do the task themselves: Provided. and Integration of All Operating Units on Illegal Drugs into the PDEA and Transitory Provisions e Narcotics Group of the PNP. We noticed the inadvertence on February 28. Transfer. the PDEA shall be the lead agency. there was an inadvertence because we were thinking that it was February 2 hat time. PNP and . 9165 reads: 1âwphi1 C. further.. That when the investigation being conducted by the NBI. particularly on paragraph 5 it reads. salary. No. rd. PNP or any anti-drug task force is found to be a violation of any of the provisions of this Act. e NBI’s lack of coordination with the PDEA cannot be given weight or credence.

Section 86 is explicit only in saying that the PDEA shall be the "lead agency" in the investigations and secutions of drug-related cases. III e '"fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine cannot apply he face of a valid buy-bust operation. the absence of a warrant does not make the arrest illegal. Time and again. it follows that the search was o valid. Marcelino. serving as the implementing arm of the Dangerous Drugs Board. "shall be responsible for the efficient and effective la orcement of all the provisions on any dangerous drug and/or controlled precursor and essential chemical as provided in th . Maria. . the appeal is hereby DISMISSED. the buy-bust operation remains legal. People v. appellant’s arrest cannot be considered illegal. o at public interests would be endangered or sacrificed. 57 we held in People v. Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court.58 the illegal drug seized was not the "fruit of the poisonous tree. (Emphasis and derscoring supplied). or the co ght to presume that such construction was not intended by the makers of the law.No. such construction is to be avoided.R. For as long as the mandato uirements of R.55 we have held thus: sory read. Therefore. other words. we have ruled that the arres accused in flagrante during a buy-bust operation is justified under Rule 113. 60 HEREFORE.Bureau of Customs shall maintain close coordination with the PDEA on all drug related matters. Additionally." as the defense would hav Court to believe. and a warrant was not needed to conduct it. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the foregoing provision is silent as to the consequences of failure on the part of the law enforcers to transfer dr ated cases to the PDEA. the same provision states t EA. 9165 is o silent on the matter. the Dangerous Drugs Board can enhance the efficiency of the law against dangerous drugs. en the circumstances above. we see it. a well-established rule of statutory construction that where great inconvenience will result from a particular construction. in the same way that the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. But by no stretch of imagination could this silence be interpreted as a legislative intent to make an est without the participation of PDEA illegal nor evidence obtained pursuant to such an arrest inadmissible. Section 86 is more of an administrative provision. 9165 have been complied with. 443 dated 31 July 2009 is hereby AFFIRMED. unless required by clear and unequivoca ds. Sta. CEB CR.59 Since the buy-bust operation was established as legitimate." We find much logic in the Solicitor General’s interpretation that it is only appropriate that drugs cases being handled by er law enforcement authorities be transferred or referred to the PDEA as the "lead agency" in the campaign against the nace of dangerous drugs. the lack of coordination with the PDEA cannot in and of itself exculpate appellant. or great mischief done. By having a centralized law enforcement bod the PDEA.A. The seizure made by the buy-bust team falls under a search incidental to a lawful arrest under Rule 126 ction 13 of the Rules of Court. 56 From the y nature of a buy-bust operation. other law enforcement bodies still possess authority to perform similar function he PDEA as long as illegal drugs cases will eventually be transferred to the latter. and appellant’s conviction shall be held.

Article VIII of the Constitution. A. penned by Judge Rafael Cresencio C. RTC Decision dated 16 May 2006. 3-28. REYES Associate Justice C E R T I F I C AT I O N suant to Section I 3. CA Decision dated 31 July 2009 penned by Associate Justice Franchito N. p. . Associate Justice BIENVENIDO L. at 10. at 95-96. 5. 8. 10-18. RIA LOURDES P. CA Decision. A. pp. RTC Decision. BERSAMIN Associate Justice MARTIN S. pp. 4 Id. 6-7. 5 Id. 8 Id. Rollo. Delos Santos and Rodil V. pp. Zalameda. 6 Id. SERENO ef Justice otnotes 1 CA rollo. at 10-18. JR. 7 Id. Jr.ORDERED. VILLARAMA. SERENO ef Justice. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO Associate Justice LUCAS P. p. 119-121. Diamante and concurred in by Associate Justices Edgardo L. CA Decision. 2 3 CA rollo. Chairperson CONCUR: TERESITA J. at 97. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached i sultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion or the Court's Division. at 14. RTC Decision. RIA LOURDES P. Tan. p. pp. 1.

12 Id. 10. at 49. p. CA Decision. 28 People v. 12.R. People v. p. at 80. p. 52. 18 Rollo. 40-54. at 17. at 51. p. 25 Id. Appellant’s Brief. 384 Phil. Id. 16 Id. 2. p. 540 SCRA 585. 107327.9 Id. 592. at 99. 47. 361 Phil. at 50. 8. citing People v. 19 Id. 85 (2000). Appellant’s Brief. at 53. and his Supplemental Brief. 518 (1995). 21 CA rollo. 11. G. p. CA Decision. p. p. CA Decision. 9-12. 26 Id. at 112. at 100-101. 27 People v.R. Tadepa. 169875. No. 7. 25 11 Id. CA Decision. p. Id at. Supplemental Brief. 17 Id. Supplemental Brief. 317 Phil. Appellant’s Brief.. 10 Id. 10. 70. at 46. Chua Uy. Appellant’s Brief. G. p. 22 Id. 14 15 Id. p. Doria. Plaintiff-Appellee’s Brief. 29 . p. at 76. 13 Id. 7. In our 6 December 2010 Resolution. No. p. this Court noted t Manifestation of accused-appellant that he is adopting his 13 December 2007 Brief for the Accused-Appellant filed with the CA. 9. Abbu. 8. pp. 23 Id. See also People v. August 5. 24 Id. Plaintiff-Appellee’s Brief. People v. p. Jocson. Brief for the Accused-Appellant. 3. Appellant’s Brief. 1994. Basilgo. 235 SCRA 191. 11. at 81. p. RTC Decision. 18 December 2007. p. at 90-115. 231 (1995). 23. p. Plaintiff-Appellee’s Brief. 595 (1999). 314 Phil. 11-12. 20 Id.

25 October 2005. Cuachon. 255 Phil. p. 44 People v. 175928. G. 178876. No. G. 180870. . 46. 43 TSN. 580 SCRA 259. Pascual. No. 650. 8 November 2004. citing People vs. 224 (2002). 207 SCRA 681. 198820. No. 687. pp. 556 SCRA 421. 8 November 2004. at 441-442. pp. 32 People v Cueno. Concepcion. 683 (1997).R.R.R. 442.R. pp. 50 Id. No. Pagaura. 7-20. Pringas. 359 Phil. 3-7. 31 August 2007. 35 Supra note 32. 48 People v. No. Gonzaga. 238 SCRA 540. 42 TSN. 572. 47 G. 3-12. 27 June 2005.R. at 3-4. People vs. 184952. 440 P 203. 49 TSN. 632 SCRA 551. p. 22 January 2010. 273 (2000). 151.R. N 177777. 45 Id. 392. 27 June 2008. 610 SCRA 636.R. 88282. Nos. People. citing People v. 46 Id. G. G. 37 TSN. 11 October 2010. 334 Phil. Supplemental Brief. 842-846. People v.R. citing People vs. 96319.R. 293 (1989). 208 SCRA 393. G.R. 2. citing People v. 33 34 People v. See also People v. 531 SCRA 828. 10 December 2003. G. Gutierrez. 106286-87. G. Lapasaran. pp. 1 December 1994. 173480. p. 10 December 2012. Cacao v. No. 5. 38 Rollo. 4 December 2009. G. Astudillo. 25 February 2009. 36 TSN.30 G. 607 SCRA 377. 259. No. 31 401 Phil. No. 39 Id. 162 (1998). Sanchez. 6 May 1992. 2-4. 40 41 Id. 31 March 1992.

net/judjuris/juri2013/jun2013/gr_192913_2013. 56 People v. J. G. DECISION REYES. p. 02890. GARYZALDY GUZON. finding accusedappellant Garyzaldy Guzon Guzon) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal sale of shabu. 16. 2013 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.Arellano Law Foundation http://www. People. 9 February 2010. Imson v. No. 53 Id. Branch 13 in Criminal Case No. 8 November 2004. 6 SCRA 826. 108. 189278. 57 Id.R. 26 July 2010. 175590. Musa. No. 2007 of the Regional Trial Court RTC) of Laoag City. 59 Id. at 10-11. G. CR HC No. 625 SCRA 632.lawphil. 612 SCRA 91.R. 60 Id. The facts . No. 25-26. 58 G. at pp. Plaintiff-Appellee.See People v. 54 Id.R. 531-532 (2007). 199735.: This is an appeal from the Decision1 dated June 29 2010 of the Court of Appeals CA) in CAG. 193003. vs. e Lawphil Project . No. 13 July 2011. G. which affirmed the Decision2 dated June 15.R. at 640. Accused-Appellant. Villamin.R.R.html G. 199901 October 9. No. 55 545 Phil. 520. 11968-13. 24 October 2012. 51 52 TSN.

when he received a telephone call from an unknown tipper that Guzon was engaged in drug-pushing activity at Nalupta Street. marked the seized sachet with his initials "EAT".12 The sachet was received by PO3 Nolie Domingo (PO3 Domingo). Ilocos Norte. 9 Guzon was brought to the San Nicolas Police Station.06 gram to a police asset of PNP San Nicolas. 2005 at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. who posed as buyer in a buy[-]bust operation without authority to do so.4 Upon arraignment. the police planned a buy-bust operation. PO2 Tuzon relayed the information to Officer-In-Charge Chief Police Inspector Jerico Baldeo (OIC Baldeo). the Forensic Chemical Officer of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Crime Laboratory Office who conducted the chemical examination. weighing 0. Barangay 3.Guzon was accused of violating Section 5. PO3 Domingo and Police Senior Inspector Mary Ann Cayabyab (PSI Cayabyab). From afar.A. no longer testified in court. in the municipality of San Nicolas. When PO2 Tuzon and PO3 Manuel failed to find Guzon at Nalupta Street.8 After the asset removed his cap.) No. He claimed that on November 22.00 bills to Guzon. at around 11:00 o’clock in the morning.trial. PO2 Tuzon gave marked money to the asset designated to be the poseur-buyer of shabu. Ilocos Norte. province of Ilocos Norte. 13 Given a stipulation by the prosecution and the defense during the pre. while PO2 Tuzon received from the asset the item purchased from Guzon.trial. also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Version of the Prosecution PO2 Elyzer Tuzon (PO2 Tuzon) testified for the prosecution. who then handed something to the asset." 5 After pre. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. 2005. 6 After an unnamed asset identified Guzon’s location. he was on duty at the police station of San Nicolas.7 The buy-bust operation ensued at Nalupta Street. 2005.11 and then delivered the sachet to the police crime laboratory for chemical examination. Ilocos Norte. where PO2 Tuzon prepared a Certification/Inventory of Seized/Confiscated Items 10. in an Information 3 dated November 23. the police ran towards Guzon to arrest him . CONTRARY TO LAW. unlawfully and feloniously sell one (1) heat-sealed plastic sachet of methamphetamine hydrochloride otherwise known as "shabu". Guzon entered a plea of "not guilty. Article II of Republic Act (R. 9165. The asset was instructed to remove his cap to signal that he had received the shabu from Guzon. San Nicolas. PO3 Manuel recovered the marked P100 bills from Guzon. the accusatory portion of which reads: That on or about November 22. the above-named accused. The RTC’s pre-trial Order 14 provides: . trial on the merits ensued. who ordered PO2 Tuzon and PO3 Cesar Manuel (PO3 Manuel) to verify the report. did then and there willfully. where the asset approached Guzon . OIC Baldeo instructed them to seek the aid of an asset. a dangerous drug. PO2 Tuzon saw the asset hand three (3) marked P100.

PO2 Tuzon left and when he returned. but PO3 Manuel declined. Guzon denied the charge against him. The testimonies of PO3 Nolie Domingo and PSI Mary Ann Cayabyab were therefore dispensed with. He claimed that on the early afternoon of November 22. After he complied. thus.00 bills from his wallet then hand them to PO2 Tuzon. The defense admitted the proffer without admitting that the specimen came from the accused. x x x. 22 PO2 Tuzon later brought Guzon to a police camp in Laoag City. PO2 Tuzon handcuffed Guzon before proceeding to the camp’s second floor. respectively. upon their arrival.00 bills to PO3 Manuel. PO2 Tuzon took a sachet from his pocket then handed it to a desk officer. he handed photocopies of the P100. she issued her initial report and confirmatory report under Chemistry Report No. his friend Jesus Guira. Guzon approached PO3 Manuel. Jr. he was the one who received the specimen from Elyzer Tuzon and that he delivered the same to PSI Mary Ann Cayabyab. Version of the Defense The defense presented the testimonies of Guzon. Guzon was brought by PO2 Tuzon. he had a drinking spree with Guira at the latter’s house in Barangay San Nicolas. Thereafter. While on board a patrol car on their way to the camp. Guzon agreed to go with them to the municipal hall. otherwise known as shabu. D-090-2005 which were marked as Exhibits F and G. Thereafter. 2005.23 While at the second floor.25 Guira and Edwin also testified for Guzon’s defense. 2005. 24 On the morning of November 23.19 Guzon insisted that the matter be instead discussed near Guira’s house. he was having a drinking session outside his house .06 grams. Guzon saw PO3 Manuel take out three P100. who invited him to the municipal hall but would not say the reason therefor. Guzon was instructed by a woman to fill a small bottle with his urine. Ilocos Norte. near the corner of the Laoag-Solsona terminal.15 The Initial Laboratory Report16 and Chemistry Report17 referred to in the pre-trial Order both state that the specimen. They also stipulated on the testimony of PSI Cayabyab to the effect that after receiving the said specimen and found the specimen to be shabu. PO2 Tuzon realized that he forgot the shabu in his office drawer so they went back to the municipal hall. 2005. that was submitted to the crime laboratory for examination contained methamphetamine hydrochloride. they headed back to the police camp where. weighing 0. They further agreed that said forensic chemical officer and PO3 Domingo could identify the said specimen and the labels as appearing therein. PO3 Manuel and another policeman to a place south of the City Hall of Laoag. PO2 Tuzon arrived20 and upon his prodding. Guira claimed that at about 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon on November 22. (Guira) and brother Edwin Guzon (Edwin). 21 Only PO2 Tuzon went with Guzon inside the municipal hall. his brother Edwin arrived and told him that PO3 Manuel wanted to talk to him.The parties stipulated on the gist of the testimony of PO3 Nolie Domingo to the effect that as per request for laboratory examination. PO2 Tuzon brought him back to San Nicolas. There.18 At past 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon.

Notwithstanding the RTC’s findings.000. the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated shabu were preserved. Guzon appealed to the CA. In affirming Guzon’s conviction. the same to be disposed of as the law prescribes. Edwin arrived to inform Guzon that PO3 Manuel was looking for him.00. the CA rejected Guzon’s argument. 2007. judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Garyzaldy Guzon GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as charged of illegal sale of shabu and is therefore sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500.29 When he saw his brother at Guira’s house. they could not prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the police officer who testified for the prosecution. SO ORDERED.26 At around 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon.with Guzon and several other persons. 2005. It reasoned that Guzon’s defenses of denial and frame-up are common and could easily be fabricated. The contraband subject hereof is hereby confiscated. the RTC rendered its Decision 32 finding Guzon guilty as charged. As to the issue of chain of custody. PO2 Tuzon and one George. he denied the charge against him. The dispositive portion of its Decision reads: WHEREFORE.31 The RTC’s Ruling On June 15.33 Feeling aggrieved. The Present Petition . and maintained that based on the evidence. He also questioned the credibility of PO2 Tuzon as a witness for the prosecution and the police officers’ non-compliance with the chain of custody rule in handling the confiscated shabu. having testified that on November 22. he was asked by PO3 Manuel on the whereabouts of Guzon. The CA’s Ruling On June 29. Hence. he approached him to say that PO3 Manuel was looking for him. this appeal. the CA rendered its Decision 34 denying the appeal. 30 The testimony of one Ronnie Dimaya was dispensed with after the prosecution admitted that the gist of his testimony would be merely corroborative of the testimonies of Guira and Guzon. 27 Guzon then left the place with PO3 Manuel. 2010.28 Edwin’s testimony also corroborated the account of Guzon. the CA also cited the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty by the police operatives who conducted the buy-bust operation.

(2) there were no photographs and physical inventory of the confiscated drug. (4) the asset who acted as the poseur-buyer was not identified. Seized. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. CA.A. but also of proving the corpus delicti . and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. not on the weakness of the defense which the accused put up. compliance with the chain of custody rule is crucial in any prosecution that follows such operation. sanctioned by law. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. Chain of custody means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. plant sources of dangerous drugs." 41 As in all drugs cases. 43 To eliminate doubt. and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for the thing. 36 the Court emphasized that a "conviction must stand on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. in the handling of seized substances. the State bears the burden not only of proving these elements of the offense under R. and that the identity of said drug is established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. (3) the prosecution failed to offer justification for the absence of photographs and inventory. 9165. He argues 35 that: (1) the evidence allegedly seized from Guzon could have been planted. Article II of R. 9165 which prohibits the sale of illegal drugs. for apprehending drug peddlers and distributors. the Court will not allow the accused to be deprived of his liberty. the body of the crime. If the evidence of guilt falls short of this requirement. 42 The rule is imperative. No.A.A. it was not immediately marked at the place of seizure. In Reyes v. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. This Court’s Ruling The appeal is meritorious. and the consideration. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory . 38 The Court explained in People v. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. and even abuse.40 "A buy-bust operation is a legally effective and proven procedure. The Court acquits Guzon for the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. upon which Guzon anchors his appeal. ― The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. Section 21 of R. as it is essential that the prohibited drug confiscated or recovered from the suspect is the very same substance offered in court as exhibit. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. 21.Guzon seeks his acquittal mainly on the basis of the prosecution’s failure to establish the chain of custody of the subject drug. 9165. Evidence proving the guilt of the accused must always be beyond reasonable doubt. Guzon was accused of violating Section 5. Bautista39 that in drug-related prosecutions. reads in part: Sec. No. His acquittal should come as a matter of course. some safeguards for compliance by law enforcement officers are established by law and jurisprudence. the object of the sale. For one. and (5) the prosecution failed to establish that the integrity of the seized item was sufficiently preserved through an unbroken chain of custody. The elements of the crime include: (a) the identities of the buyer and the seller. The dangerous drug is itself the very corpus delicti of the violation of the law. No."37 In the instant case.

In each case. provided that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved. in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and . shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items . The strict demands and significant value of the chain of custody rule were emphasized in the oft-cited Malillin v. seized and/or surrendered. for proper disposition in the following manner: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. or his/her representative or counsel. It would include testimony about every link in the chain. from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. further. that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. x x x x (Emphasis ours) The rule includes the proviso that procedural lapses in the handling of the seized drugs are not ipso facto fatal to the prosecution’s cause. immediately after seizure and confiscation. No. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. x x x x (Emphasis ours) The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Provided. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). courts are nonetheless reminded to thoroughly evaluate and differentiate those errors that constitute a simple procedural lapse from those that amount to a gross. or his/her representative or counsel. 9165. immediately after seizure and confiscation. systematic. whichever is practicable . in case of warrantless seizures. particularly Section 21 thereof.equipment so confiscated. further provides the following guidelines in the custody and control of confiscated drugs: xxxx (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team.A. People45 wherein the Court held: As a method of authenticating evidence. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided. or deliberate disregard of the safeguards that are drawn by the law44 for the protection of the corpus delicti. the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.

tampering. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same. instead of immediately marking the subject drug upon its confiscation. the police officers who took part in the buy-bust operation failed to mark the seized item immediately after its confiscation from Guzon. . when taken collectively. impair the integrity of the chain of custody and render the confiscated items inadmissible in evidence. the exhibit’s level of susceptibility to fungibility. to wit: Crucial in proving chain of custody is the marking of the seized drugs or other related items immediately after they are seized from the accused. systematic. While testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain." or contamination of evidence. by itself. obviating switching. or deliberate disregard of the safeguards that are drawn by the law. or when its condition at the time of testing or trial is critical. The same standard likewise obtains in case the evidence is susceptible to alteration. an unbroken chain of custody becomes indispensable and essential when the item of real evidence is not distinctive and is not readily identifiable. 46(Citations omitted and emphasis supplied) As Guzon correctly pointed out in his Supplemental Brief. there were several lapses in the law enforcers’ handling of the seized item which. the Court has determined that such lapses and doubt mar the instant case. First. In a line of cases. but also where there are substantial gaps in the chain of custody of the seized drugs which raise doubts on the authenticity of the evidence presented in court. "planting. when taken in light of the several other lapses in the chain of custody that attend the present case. thus it is vital that the seized contraband are immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimens will use the markings as reference.49 (Citation omitted and emphasis ours) Here. the Court explained that the failure to comply with the indispensable requirement of corpus delicti happens not only when it is missing. The Court explained in People v. contamination and even substitution and exchange. the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. render the standards of chain of custody seriously breached. where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’ possession.from whom it was received. 50 While the failure of arresting officers to mark the seized items at the place of arrest does not. alteration or tampering—without regard to whether the same is advertent or otherwise not—dictates the level of strictness in the application of the chain of custody rule. or when a witness has failed to observe its uniqueness.51 such circumstance. forms part of a gross. Coreche48 the importance in the chain of custody of the immediate marking of an item that is seized from an accused. Marking after seizure is the starting point in the custodial link.52 sufficient to create reasonable doubt as to the culpability of the accused. PO2 Tuzon marked it with his initials "EAT" only upon arrival at the police station. In other words.47 Upon review. The marking of the evidence serves to separate the marked evidence from the corpus of all other similar or related evidence from the time they are seized from the accused until they are disposed at the end of criminal proceedings.

A. xxxx The above enumerated and described items were properly marked with capital letters EAT representing the name Elyzer Agarma Tuzon who was one of the apprehending police officers x x x. weighing more or less .A." These requirements are reiterated in Section 21. No. the buy-bust team failed to fully comply with the requirements under Section 21 of R. 9165. We have emphasized in People v.A. No.A. As further proof that the chain of custody rule was breached in this case. the Certification/Inventory of Seized/Confiscated Items 53 in this case only bears the signatures of PO3 Manuel and PO2 Tuzon as apprehending officers. and that examined by PSI Cayabyab. 9165 for its preparation and execution.A.55 Failure to follow the procedure mandated under R. which is also required under Section 21 of R. The prosecution failed in this regard.57 (Emphasis ours) . There is also no proof that a copy of the inventory was received by any of the persons enumerated under the law. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.01 gram including plastic material. 9165. forms part of the case records. casts doubt on whether the item claimed to have been sold by Guzon to the police asset was the same item that was brought for examination by the police crime laboratory and eventually presented in court as evidence. however. it includes neither his signature nor of any other person who is allowed by law to witness the required inventory. Although the Certification indicates the name of Guzon under the section "With Conformity". there was an evident disregard on their part of the established legal requirements. or his/her representative or counsel. No.The Court has determined that although a physical inventory of the items seized during the buy-bust operation forms part of the case records. Taking into account the several rules and requirements that were not followed by the law enforcers. the prosecution must establish that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized item are properly preserved. 9165 and its IRR must be adequately explained. Garcia 54 that the saving clause applies only where the prosecution recognized the procedural lapses. 9165 fails to remedy the lapses and save the prosecution’s case. the Court points out the discrepancy in the weight of the item that was supposedly seized following the buybust operation. IRR of R. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice. magnified by the prosecution’s failure to explain the deficiencies during the trial. the inventory must be made "in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom the items were confiscated and/or seized. Under the law.56 Equally important. Their breach of the chain of custody rule. Besides these deficiencies in the preparation of the inventory. and thereafter cited justifiable grounds. IRR of R. No. We refer to the inventory prepared by PO3 Manuel and PO2 Tuzon on the items that were confiscated after the buy-bust operation: One (1) piece small heat[-]sealed plastic sachet containing white crystalline granules believed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride locally known as "SHABU". The saving clause in Section 21. no photograph of the seized item. No. Non-compliant with such rules.

however. The Initial Laboratory Report62prepared by PSI Cayabyab indicates that the specimen examined weighed more. (b) PSI Cayabyab received the specimen and when she found . in the Joint Affidavit 58 dated November 22. excluding its plastic container. Chemistry Report No. the Memorandum 60requesting for laboratory examination signed by OIC Baldeo and which reads in part: EXHIBIT: a) One (1) piece of small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing crystalline substance suspected to be shabu weighing more or less . made no specific reference to such markings. remained unaddressed by the prosecution. and third.01 gram.65 The identity of the item examined by PSI Cayabyab could have also been verified from the markings "EAT" that was made by PO2 Tuzon on the plastic sachet. 2005 entry in the San Nicolas Municipal Police Station’s Temporary Police Blotter. The testimony of PO2 Tuzon offered no explanation for the difference.06 gram. the specimen submitted to the police crime laboratory weighed only 0. 2005 executed by PO3 Manuel and PO2 Tuzon. specifically at 0. It appears. xxx.01 gram is provided in several other documents: first. The variance in the weight of the seized item vis-à-vis the examined specimen and. Her reports. as provided in a Certification 59 dated November 22.The fact that the item sold by Guzon to the police asset weighed only 0. at the very least. PO3 Domingo and PSI Cayabyab could have provided the clarification. even including the plastic sachet that contained the substance.61(Emphasis ours) Clearly. 64 (Emphasis ours) Clearly from the foregoing. second. but their testimonies were dispensed with following the parties’ agreement during the pre-trial.06 gram of white crystalline substance. as they merely described the subject specimen as "one (1)-heat-sealed transparent plastic bag with markings containing 0. xxx xxxx REMARKS: Weight does not include plastic container. 2005 issued by OIC Baldeo. that the specimen examined by PSI Cayabyab of the police crime laboratory differed from the specimen allegedly seized by the police and brought for examination. D-090-200563 issued by PSI Cayabyab likewise provides the following details: SPECIMEN SUBMITTED: A – One (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic bag with markings containing 0.01 gram including plastic sachet marked hereto as exhibit EAT. however.06g of white crystalline substance." 66 The Court is mindful of the stipulations that were entered into by the parties during the pretrial67 to the effect that: (a) PO3 Domingo received the specimen from PO2 Tuzon and then delivered it to PSI Cayabyab. the September 22. was no longer in its original condition when examined in the crime laboratory. the item that was allegedly obtained by the police from Guzon during the buy-bust operation differed or. ultimately. the detail provided in the Information.

On cross-examination. the Court finds merit in Guzon’s argument that the nonpresentation of the poseur-buyer to the witness stand was fatal to the prosecution’s cause. This is a condition sine qua non for conviction since drugs are the main subject of the illegal sale constituting the crime and their existence and identification must be proven for the crime to exist. she issued her initial and confirmatory reports. or at most. with the seized item’s weight being a mere 16% of the examined specimen’s weight. without offering any explanation as to the specimen’s condition during the transfers. The doubt is resolved in Guzon’s favor.70 In addition to the foregoing. We emphasize that in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs. the poseur-buyer in the buy-bust operation. hearsay. Witness. the prosecution must show that the integrity of the corpus delicti has been preserved. it was unlikely for PO2 Tuzon to have heard the conversations between the alleged buyer and seller.the specimen to be shabu . as any taint of irregularity affects the whole performance and should make the presumption unavailable. The prosecution’s failure to do so was fatal to its case. however. such information he could offer was based only on conjecture. being information that was merely relayed to him by the alleged poseur-buyer. True enough.68 "Proof of the corpus delicti in a buy-bust situation requires not only the actual existence of the transacted drugs but also the certainty that the drugs examined and presented in court were the very ones seized. and an indication of the safeguards that were employed to prevent any tampering or substitution. is it not? . a civilian. It failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the integrity and evidentiary value of the substance claimed to be seized during the buy-bust operation was preserved. 71 In the instant case. PO2 Tuzon even admitted: ATTY. and (c) PSI Cayabyab and PO3 Domingo could identify the specimen and the labels appearing thereon. his testimony provided that he and PO3 Manuel merely relied on an agreed signal. the determination in this case of whether the rationale for the chain of custody rule was duly satisfied necessitated a more intensive inquiry. In drugs cases. Given the considerable difference between the specimen’s weight upon its seizure and its weight at the time of its examination. the poseur-buyer’s removal of his cap. These bare stipulations. how each person made sure that the item was not tampered with or substituted. This is crucial in drugs cases because the evidence involved – the seized chemical – is not readily identifiable by sight or touch and can easily be tampered with or substituted. when you allegedly arrived at the target place. he and PO3 Manuel were positioned about 20 meters away from Guzon and the poseur-buyer. was the witness competent to prove such fact. to indicate that the sale had been consummated.e. merely address the matter of the specimen’s transfer from one police officer to the next. as the Court rules on his acquittal. you were at a distance far away from the alleged transaction. given the testimony of PO2 Tuzon that at time the supposed sale happened. as may be derived from the supposed actions of Guzon and the poseur-buyer. Although PO2 Tuzon testified during the trial on the supposed sale.. i." 69 The flagrant lapses committed in handling the alleged confiscated drug in violation of the chain of custody requirement even effectively negate the presumption of regularity in the performance of the police officers’ duties. BALUCIO: Q And Mr. Given the 20-meter distance. the prosecution must convincingly prove that the transaction or sale actually transpired.

Pascua had no personal knowledge of the transaction that transpired between Lim and the appellant.74 (Emphasis ours) The Court also ruled in People v.72 In the absence of neither the poseur-buyer’s nor of any eyewitness’ testimony on the transaction. we said – We agree with the appellant’s contention that the non-presentation of Boy Lim. one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt. Said the Court in that case. 73 the Court explained that the failure of the prosecution to present in court the alleged poseur-buyer is fatal to its case. that the non-presentation of the poseur-buyer was fatal to the prosecution’s case. This it failed to do giving rise to the presumption that evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced (Rule 131. This failure constitutes a fatal flaw in the prosecution’s evidence since the so-called (poseurbuyer) who was never presented as a witness x x x is the best witness for the prosecution x x x. Q And you did not also see if what was being handed at that time was shabu Mr. In the present case. Olaes75. Yabut is further instructive – Well established is the rule that when the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two (2) or more explanations. Sgt.buyer. 5 [e]). He was merely watching from a distance and he only saw the actions of the two. Witness? A Yes. The ruling in People v. Since appellant insisted that he was forced by Lim to buy the marijuana. the alleged poseur-buyer. Witness? A Yes. Tadepa. it was essential that Lim should have been presented to rebut accused’s testimony. accusedappellant’s version of the circumstances leading to his apprehension constitutes a total denial of the prosecution’s allegations. sir. you did not hear it Mr. who admitted that he was seven (7) to eight (8) meters away from where the actual transaction took place. sir. could not be deemed an eyewitness to the crime. Sgt. As pointed out by the appellant. viz : 1âwphi1 In People v. since the alleged sale transaction happened inside the . sir.A More or less twenty (20) meters. the police officer. weakens the prosecution’s evidence. The Court held. Q And that if any transaction have been (sic) transpired at that time. then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. In this regard this Court has ruled that when there is such a divergence of accounts – x x x it becomes incumbent upon the prosecution to rebut appellant’s allegation by presenting x x x the alleged poseur. In People v. the prosecution’s case fails. Polizon. Sec. Pascua was not privy to the conversation between Lim and the accused.

and ACQUITS accused-appellant GARYZALDY GUZON of the crime charged in Criminal Case No. 76 While the Court.R. which affirmed the Decision dated June 15. 11968-13 on the ground of reasonable doubt. in several instances. in Criminal Case No. BERSAMIN Associate Justice MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. 2013. there being some other eyewitness who is competent to testify on the sale transaction. 02890. 11968-13. Branch 13. Article VIII of the Constitution. such failure is excusable only when the poseur-buyer’s testimony is merely corroborative. A. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO Associate Justice LUCAS P. CR HC No. SERENO Chief Justice Chairperson TERESITA J. has affirmed an accused’s conviction notwithstanding the non-presentation of the poseur-buyer in the buy-bust operation. 2007 of the Regional Trial Court of Laoag City. 77 WHEREFORE. LEONEN* Associate Justice C E R T I F I C AT I O N Pursuant to Section 13. MARIA LOURDES P. SO ORDERED. it was supposedly witnessed only by the poseur-buyer. who then was the only person who had personal knowledge of the transaction. SERENO Chief Justice Footnotes * Acting member per Special Order No. 1545 Revised) dated September 16. I certify that the conclusions n the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division. unless he is detained for some other lawful cause. BIENVENIDO L. A. the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the Decision dated June 29. . REYES Associate Justice WE CONCUR: MARIA LOURDES P. hence. 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is hereby ORDERED to immediately release Garyzaldy Guzon from custody.accused’s house.

rollo pp. at 15. at 9-10. 12 Id. 3-6. at 8.Penned by Associate Justice Michael P. p. 22 Id. 24. at 11. at 12. 3. 21 Id. 18 TSN. February 28. at 14-15. concurring. at 7. at 12. 1 2 Issued by Presiding Judge Philip G. September 18. 2006. 2006. 5. 4 Id. 7 Id. pp. February 28. 16 CA rollo. 2006. at 16. 8-9. Elbinias. p. . at 5-6. p. CA rollo pp. 23 Id. at 55. 6 TSN. p. with Associate Justices Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Celia C Librea-Leagogo. 9 Id. at 27. 3 Id. 13 Id. 10. 8 Id. 13. 2-14. 17 Id. 54. 20 Id. 10 Records. Salvador. 5 Id. 15 Id. at 9. 14 Records. at 5-7. p. 27-41. 11 TSN. 19 Id.

at 17-18. 4. citing People v. pp. 37 Id. 2012. 32 CA rollo. December 10. 38 39 G. 2-14. G. 4. No. 41 42 People v. 998. People v. No. 40 Id. at 8. Villanueva. 27-41 33 Id. 70. 27 Id. April 23. 576 (2008). 85 (2000). 180177. 34 Rollo. p. 355. . Dumaplin. 3-4. August 3. December 5. July 20. 2006. p. 36 G. 384 Phil. 198051. No. 46 Id. 28 Id.R. G. 2011. 189277. 190321. Umipang. pp. Chua Uy. No. 2012. 400. 687 SCRA 631. 184760. April 18. Remigio. 1004 (2006). 199. 641 (2003). 31 TSN. No. 654 SCRA 188. G. 2012. 45 576 Phil. No. at 15-16. 619 SCRA 389. 2006. Lorenzo. 30 Id. 671 SCRA 324. G. People v. September 7. at 41. at 6-7. Mantalaba.R.24 Id. citing People v. 625. 2012. 2010. 43 People v. Obeso. 536 Phil. 26 TSN.R. at 164-165. April 25. at 7.R. 25 Id. 666 SCRA 518. pp. at 531-532. 687 SCRA 336. No.R. 460 Phil.R. 2006.R. 29 TSN. at 587-588. August 15. 177320. 186227. 35 Id. 670 SCRA 148. 44 People v. at 47-49. February 22. 2012. citing People v. G.

People v. No. 54 G. . 2011. 68 People v. 62 Id. 355-356. G. at 24.R. 50 CA rollo. July 13.R. 182528. Umipang. February 26. 596 SCRA 350. 47 48 G. Coreche. 51 52 Id. at 11. 175832. 270. G. October 15. 663 SCRA 260. p. People v. No. 596 SCRA 350. 653 SCRA 826. 569 SCRA 194. Umipang. 65 Id. 580 SCRA 259. 2010. No. No. Relato. 19. supra note 44. Peralta. 173480. February 25. 2009.R. at 19. 49 Id. G. No. 29. at 351. G. emphasis ours. 613 SCRA 763. 2008. 5. Id. People v. 64 Id. 59 Id.R. at 24. at 272. August 14. 2012. 173794. 60 Id. G.R. No. 67 Id. 57 Records.People v. 58 Id. 182528. at 355. supra note 38. at 7. People. 193003. 55 56 People v. 2009. 365. 61 Id.R. at 11. January 18. August 14. at 3-4. at 357. 52. 2009. 66 Id. 63 Id.R. Sanchez. 768-769. No. at 10. p. 173472. supra note 44. 53 CA rollo. p. at 404. Lorenzo. citing People v. citing Imson v.

555 Phil. 186387.People v. No. supra note 71. No.R. G. 1992. 74 75 G. citing People v. See People v. 71 People v. Polizon . Id. DECISION VELASCO. 628. People v. July 13. finding accused-appeIlant Edgardo Adrid y Flores (Adrid) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal sale of methamphetamine hydrochloride. Ambrosio. G. 2013 PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. 188905.R. 76 Id. p. 69 70 People v.R. No. 2011. Zaida Kamad .R. 786 (2000). (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. 625 SCRA 123. 610 SCRA 295. in Criminal Case No. J. 214 SCRA 56 and People v. 174198. which affirmed the judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). September 18. 231 (1995). citing People v. June 26.lawphil. Orteza. January 19. EDGARDO ADRID y FLORES. Mendoza.net/judjuris/juri2013/oct2013/gr_199901_2013. 1992. No. 73 314 Phil. Orteza. No. 303. 77 http://www. 130. 210 SCRA 394. 9. 72 TSN.R. 471 Phil. at 95.R.R. G. 2010. Plaintiff-Appellee. vs. 03775. May 9. 392 Phil. 2006. Br:mch 35 in Manila. Nandi. at 239-240. at 709. The Facts .: The Case This is an appeal from the Decision1 dated February 24. commonly known as shabu. 1990. Accused-Appellant. 706 (2007).html G. Uy. 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. July 30. No. JR.R. 76547. 06-247286. 700. CR-H. citing People v. 773. G. No.. 84917. 241 (2004). 201845 March 6. 2010. 188 SCRA 91.C. 656 SCRA 616. August 31. 82263. in violation of Section 5. G. No. Article II of Republic Act No. Yabut .

her examination of the substance presented yielded a positive result for methylamphetamine hydrochloride. Philippines. unlawfully. pieced together from the testimony of Senior Police Officer 1 Aristedes Marinda (SPO1 Marinda)5 and documentary and object evidence. or give away to another any dangerous drug. 5 and 11. the DAID Chief immediately formed a team to conduct a buy-bust operation and named a certain SPO1 . II of RA 9165.6 Acting on this tip.066) gram. Case No. which is a dangerous drug. she received a memorandum-request from the District Anti-Illegal Drugs-Special Operations Task Group (DAID-SOTG). the said accused. When arraigned. 06-247286 That on or about October 8. on that day. one (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of white crystalline substance marked by the police as "DAID-1" with net weight of ZERO POINT ZERO EIGHT SIX (0. Case No. Art.086) gram. commonly known as "SHABU". 2006. a dangerous drug. gave positive results for methylamphetamine hydrochloride. 06247288 against Romeo Pacaul y Lagbo (Pacaul). which substance. 2006. Manila.In two separate lnformations2 filed on October 11. 4 Trial on the merits ensued. 2006.3 During the pre-trial. trade. allegedly committed as follows: Crim. who was arrested together with Adrid during the same buy-bust incident. is as follows: At around 10 o’clock in the evening of October 8 2006. did then and there willfully. Adrid pleaded not guilty. Mariano) and stipulated on the tenor of her testimony to the following effect: she was a Forensic Chemical Officer of the Western Police District Crime Laboratory. and on duty on October 9. Tondo. after a qualitative examination. the parties agreed to dispense with the testimony of Forensic Chemical Officer Police Senior Inspector Maritess Mariano (PS/Insp. Case No. these cases were consolidated with Crim. in the City of Manila. known as "SHABU" containing Methylamphetamine hydrochloride. unlawfully and knowingly sell to SPO1 ARISTEDES MARINDA. the said accused. 06-247287 That on or about October 8. At the instance of the prosecution. in the City of Manila. deliver. without being authorized by law to sell. a male informant arrived at the Manila Police District (MPD) Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit (DAID) to report that one "Jon Jon" is pushing illegal drugs at Chesa. Version of the Prosecution The prosecution’s account of the events. said memorandum came with three plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance. 2009. and knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control white crystalline substance contained in one (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet marked by the police as "DAID-2" with net weight of ZERO POINT ZERO SIX SIX (0. who acted as poseur-buyer. did then and there willfully. Philippines. Crim. Adrid was charged with violation of Sees. without being authorized by law to possess any dangerous drug.

"11 SPO1 Marinda received the filled sachet with his left hand. From the target area. pakuha ng pang-gamit lang may bisita lang ako. "Sigue ho. I have a visitor. while Police Officer 1 Jaycee John Galutera and Police Officer 2 Arnold Delos Santos (PO2 Delos Santos) were to serve as back-up officers. Following the usual instructions. the informant approached and then had a brief conversation with a person. introduced himself as a police officer. 14 During cross-examination." standing at the entry of an alley. with a white substance in the appearance of "vetsin." to serve as marked money. In his testimony during the trial. to the investigator at DAID. can you give me some. I have the amount you are looking for). admitted having no participation in the submission of the specimen for examination. later identified as "Jon Jon.." 10 (Okay sir. that he was buying the value of PhP 200." expressed his desire to purchase shabu as test buy to determine the quality of the goods. The informant then called SPO1 Marinda. Designated as poseur-buyer was SPO1 Marinda. He.8 During the course of the negotiations. and arrested the latter. if the pre-operation report is present in the records of the case. He was not sure.7 Thereafter. The examination later yielded positive results for methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. The accused replied. and handed Adrid the PhP 200 marked money using his right hand." Some persons who tried to intervene in the entrapment episode were likewise arrested. There. however.) SPO1 Marinda then saw Adrid hand over to Pacaul one plastic sachet containing suspected shabu.Macasling as team leader. Adrid and two other individuals were brought to MPD DAID. the buy-bust group was given two PhP 100 bills bearing the initials "DAID. SPO1 Marinda claimed that he turned over the plastic sachets recovered from Adrid." SPO1 Marinda then immediately grabbed Adrid’s arm. a certain SPO1 Pama who. the operatives proceeded to the target area. This sachet was later marked as "DAID-1. SPO1 Marinda testified that prior to the buy-bust operation. his group coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)." The sachet recovered from Pacaul was marked as "DAID-3. and SPO1 Marinda told the accused that he is buying "dos.9 The negotiations continued. however.m. He then handed to SPO1 Marinda a sealed plastic sachet. Once there." SPO1 Marinda’s direct narrative ended with the statement that these three sachets were submitted for laboratory examination to the DAID Forensic Chemistry Division. "Tol. together with the marked money. Pacaul arrived and asked Adrid in the vernacular. or at about 10:30 p.12 Found in Adrid’s possession when frisked was another sachet of suspected shabu. 15 Version of the Defense . and PO2 Delos Santos immediately followed him." (Bro. marked the recovered sachets as "DAID-1"13 and "DAID-2. who." meaning. albeit he admitted not indicating the fact of coordination in his Affidavit of Apprehension. Pacaul then left the scene. later marked as "DAID-2. in his (SPO1 Marinda’s) presence. the same accused in the case here. after being introduced to "Jon Jon. meron naman ho ako ng halagang hinahanap ninyo. the police officers learned that the real name of "Jon Jon" is Edgardo Adrid.

The trial court. "sumama ka na lang sa amin. reads: ACCORDINGLY.18 The police. 20 The Ruling of the RTC After trial.16 When he asked them. why are you arresting me?). For its failure to nab "Jon Jon. His narration of what purportedly transpired during the period material is as follows: On October 6.000) Pesos. and cost of suit. finding the evidence insufficient to establish the guilt of accused Edgardo Adrid y Flores beyond reasonable doubt. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: 1. as he. 2."17 (Just come with us. 2008 a Joint Decision. he is hereby ACQUITTED of the offense charged. "ano po ang kasalanan ko. 06-247286 finding the accused Edgardo Adrid y Flores GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Violation of Section 5. according to Adrid. consisted of the lone testimony of accused Adrid himself. Article II of RA [9165] (Sale of Dangerous Drug). Tondo. 06-247286 (sale of illegal drugs). however. acquitted Adrid in Crim. 21 finding the accused Adrid guilty beyond reasonable doubt in Crim." the police turned to Adrid to admit to some wrongdoings. Muntinlupa City. he was mauled and forced to admit something regarding the sale of drugs. 06-247287 and Pacaul in Crim. Manila. for insufficiency of evidence to sustain a conviction. 06-247288.) At the MPD DAID.The evidence for the defense. to pay a fine of Five Hundred Thousand(P500. introduced themselves as police officers and without so much of an explanation apprehended and handcuffed him.. meanwhile. he is aware of his being a well-known drug lord in their area and knows where "Jon Jon" lives. the Manila RTC rendered on October 22. Let a commitment order be issued for the transfer of his custody to the Bureau of Corrections. pursuant to SC OCA Circulars Nos. The fallo of the RTC Decision. Case No. bakit ninyo ako hinuhuli sir?" (What did I do sir. after having supper. "Jon Jon" has in fact been to his (Adrid’s) house three times to have a PlayStation game. Case No. at about 7:30 in the evening. the intruders simply gave a dismissive reply. finding the evidence insufficient to establish the guilt of accused Romeo Pacaul y Lagbo beyond reasonable doubt. several men suddenly entered his house on Magsaysay St. he is hereby ACQUITTED of the offense charged therein. in its pertinent part. 06-247288 (both for illegal possession of drugs). 06-247287. With respect to Criminal Case No. 19And albeit he has no actual knowledge of "Jon Jon’s" full name. . With respect to Criminal Case No. Case No. In Criminal Case No. 2006. 3. 4-92-A and 262000. was actually after a certain "Jon Jon" who was into selling drugs. he is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment. but who have given the police officers a slip.

categorical. are hereby confiscated in favor of the Government. a prior surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of an entrapment operation. the foregoing premises considered. SPO1 Pama who placed markings thereon of the capital letters "DAID". Thereafter. the CA rendered its assailed affirmatory Decision. x x x SO ORDERED. the CA gave credence to the testimony of SPO1 Marinda to prove a consummated sale of a prohibited drug involving Adrid. Just like the RTC. National Capital Region. as testified to by SPO1 Marinda.23 On December 3. 2008. 24 pursuant to which the RTC forwarded the records to the CA.xxxx The plastic sachet with shabu (Exh. 06-247286 is AFFIRMED. the CA rejected Adrid’s protestation about the lack of prior surveillance before the buy-bust operation was set in motion. Adrid filed a Notice of Appeal. "C"). the RTC stated the following observations: Thus. a dangerous drug. Manila in Criminal Case No. in his presence. 28 .22 As to the identity of the dangerous drugs seized and presented in court in evidence. thus satisfying the rule on chain of custody. from the place of arrest and recovery.26 On the conduct of the buy-bust operation. Branch 35. he was in custody of the dangerous drug involved in this case (Exh.27 which is presumed to have been conducted regularly. 2011. The specimen itself was produced in Court and was positively identified by SPO1 Marinda as the same plastic sachet with white crystalline substance which accused handed to him in exchange for the two One Hundred Peso bills buy-bust money (Exhs. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. "G" and "G-1"). (2) the absence of credible evidence of bad faith or other improper motive on the part of the police officers. and (3) the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties. Upon arrival at the police station. or "shabu". it was brought to the MPD Crime Laboratory for chemical analysis of its contents which gave positive result for methylamphetamine hydrochloride. which were also positive for shabu. and straightforward manner and thus worthy of belief. absent proof of ill motive on the part of the apprehending police officers. The Ruling of the CA On February 24. "D" and "E". he promptly turned it over to the duty investigator. as well as Exhs. the judgment of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). The trial court based its judgment of conviction on the charge of illegal sale on the combined application of the following factors: (1) SPO1 Marinda‘s inculpatory testimony which was given in a positive. As the appellate court stressed. "C"). 25 noting in this regard that the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated prohibited drug had been properly preserved.

when they are accompanied by the informant in the conduct of the operation. through the Office of the Solicitor General. this appeal. On July 30. as in this case. Appellant must be acquitted but not because of his defense of frame-up or the perceived flaw in the conduct of the buy-bust which. he deserves to be acquitted for the prosecution’s failure to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 2012. Lacbanes:31 . in fact. II THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE PROSECUTION’S FAILURE TO ESTABLISH THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY OF THE DRUG SPECIMEN ALLEGEDLY CONFISCATED. The immediate conduct of the buy-bust routine is within the discretion of the police officers. the issues raised by appellant revolve around the conduct of the buy-bust operation. as alleged. Similarly. Appellant insists that the incredibility of the manner of the conduct of the supposed buy-bust operation supports his claim that there was no such operation and that he was. this Court. a victim of a frame-up. was carried out without prior surveillance and in coordination with the PDEA.Hence. appellant Adrid manifested that he is adopting all the defenses and arguments that he raised in his Appellant’s Brief before the CA. and expressed its willingness to submit the case on the basis of available records.29 In fine. III THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT DESPITE THE PROSECUTION’S FAILURE TO PROVE HIS GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. required the parties to submit supplemental briefs if they so desired. We categorically ruled in People v. capsulated in the following assignment of errors: I THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN GIVING FULL CREDENCE TO THE PROSECUTION’S VERSION DESPITE THE PATENT IRREGULARITIES IN THE CONDUCT OF THE BUY-BUST OPERATION. 1âwphi1 The Court has long held that the absence of a prior surveillance is neither a necessary requirement for the validity of a drug-related entrapment or buy-bust operation nor detrimental to the People’s case. by Resolution. especially.30 Even assuming that the buy-bust operation was actually conducted. and the subsequent handling and examination of the seized substance inside the sachet. The People. The Court's Ruling The appeal is meritorious. appellant argues. manifested having already exhaustively addressed the issues and arguments involving the case.

under the premises.x x x In People v. Dela Rosa. (citations omitted) Of the same tenor is the holding in People v. Bare denial of an accused cannot prevail over the positive assertions of apprehending police operatives. the buy-bust team members were accompanied to the scene by their informant. for coordination with PDEA. For the same reason. Roa. Frame-up. 32 We underscored the leeway given to the police officers in conducting buy-bust operations: That no test buy was conducted before the arrest is of no moment for there is no rigid or textbook method of conducting buy-bust operations. as here. especially when the buy-bust team members were accompanied to the scene by their informant. Granting that there was no surveillance conducted before the buy-bust operation. of little moment. by so saying. Tranca. if properly appreciated. absent ill motives on the part of the latter to impute such a serious crime as possession or selling of prohibited drugs. the defense of denial or frame-up has been viewed with disfavor for it can easily be concocted and is a common defense plot in most prosecutions for violations of anti-drug laws. 9165 in support of the PDEA. or alibi. this Court held in People v. coordination with the PDEA is not an indispensable requirement before police authorities may carry out a buy-bust operation. the absence of evidence of a prior surveillance does not affect the regularity of a buy-bust operation. After all. The Court will not pretend to establish on a priori basis what detailed acts police authorities might credibly undertake and carry out in their entrapment operations. which police authorities may rightfully resort to in apprehending violators of Republic Act No. make PDEA’s participation a condition sine qua non for every buy-bust operation. Whether or not the buy-bust team coordinated PDEA is. is not an indispensable element of a proper buy-bust operation. A buy-bust operation is not invalidated by mere non-coordination with the PDEA. 33 Neither can appellant’s defense of alibi or frame-up save the day for him. has explained the rationale and practicality of this sound proposition in the following wise: In the first place. While it is true that Section 86 of Republic Act No. PNP and the Bureau of Customs to maintain "close coordination with the PDEA on all drug-related matters. denial. 9165 requires the National Bureau of Investigation. Ganguso. As the prosecution aptly observed and as jurisprudence itself teaches. while perhaps ideal. which. a buy-bust is just a form of an in flagrante arrest sanctioned by Section 5. Rule 113 of the Rules of the Court. appellant is still entitled to an acquittal considering that certain critical circumstances that had been overlooked below. especially when. in People v. Flexibility is a trait of good police work. The police officers may decide that time is of the essence and dispense with the need for prior surveillance. The Court. In the instant case. is an inherently weak form of defense. it has been held that prior surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of an entrapment operation. Nothing less than evidence of ." the provision does not. the arresting officers were led to the scene by the poseur-buyer. like in this case. more particularly when based on the accused’s testimony alone. 34 The foregoing notwithstanding. that there is no rigid or textbook method of conducting buy-bust operations. The selection of appropriate and effective means of entrapping drug traffickers is best left to the discretion of police authorities. engender moral uncertainty as to his guilt.

the fact that the substance illegally sold or possessed is. in the first instance. Cervantes. thusly: As a mode of authenticating evidence.37 xxx The Court has to be sure stressed the need for the strict adherence to the custodial chain process and explained the reason behind the rules on the proper procedure in handling of specimen illegal drugs. People v. from the seizure of the prohibited drug up to the time it is offered into evidence. II of RA 9165. 35 As it were. Section 21 of R. as stressed in People v. In this regard. In every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs under Sec. in such a way that everyone who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received.criminal culpability beyond reasonable doubt can overturn the presumption of innocence. this would ideally include testimony about every link in the chain. 9165 materially requires the apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs to. This means that on top of the elements of possession or illegal sale. The same requirements are also found in Section 2 of its implementing rules as . the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be. object. and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for it. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice. Cervantes describes the mechanics of the custodial chain requirement. Obmiranis 38readily comes to mind: The Court certainly cannot reluctantly close its eyes to the possibility of substitution. The chain of custody requirement. x x x Reasonable safeguards are provided for in our drugs laws to protect the identity and integrity of narcotic substances and dangerous drugs seized and/or recovered from drug offenders. the dangerous drug itself forms an integral and key part of the corpus delicti of the offense of possession or sale of prohibited drugs. performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts respecting the identity of the evidence are minimized if not altogether removed. Art. No. the following elements must concur: (1) the identities of the buyer and seller.A. In context. People v. it is essential in the prosecution of drug cases that the identity of the prohibited drug be established beyond reasonable doubt. the condition in which it was received and the condition it was delivered to the next link in the chain.36 and other cases. Withal. alteration or contamination—whether intentional or unintentional—of narcotic substances at any of the links in the chain of custody thereof especially because practically such possibility is great where the item of real evidence is small and is similar in form to other substances to which people are familiar in their daily lives. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. and consideration. or his/her representative or counsel. the onus of proving the guilt of the accused lies with the prosecution which must rely on the strength of its own evidence and not on the weakness of the defense. immediately after seizure and confiscation. the very substance adduced in court must likewise be established with the same exacting degree of certitude as that required sustaining a conviction. where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’ possession. 5.

tampering. This should have been considered as a serious source of doubt favorable to the accused-appellant. He argues: The prosecution failed to supply all the links in the chain of custody rule. The following is the extent of SPO1 Marinda’s testimony regarding his knowledge of the whereabouts of the specimen: . A unique characteristic of narcotic substances such as shabu is that they are not distinctive and are not readily identifiable as in fact they are subject to scientific analysis to determine their composition and nature. The prosecution also failed to testify on what happened to the subject specimens after these were turned-over to Pama and who delivered these to the forensic chemist. 39 Appellant contends that the police officers failed to follow the proper procedure laid down in Sec. This unexplained link also created doubt as to the integrity of the evidence. contamination. series of 2002. We stressed why evidence of an unbroken chain of custody of the seized illegal drugs is necessary: Be that as it may. there is an unexplained gap in the chain of custody of the dangerous drug. only SPO1 Marinda testified for the specific purpose of identifying the evidence. 1. SPO2 Marinda testified that he supposedly turned-over the confiscated plastic sachets to the investigator SPO1 Pama. one SPO1 Pama to be precise. a standard more stringent than that applied to objects which are readily identifiable must be applied—a more exacting standard that entails a chain of custody of the item with sufficient completeness if only to render it improbable that the original item has either been exchanged with another or contaminated or tampered with. until these were turnedover to the crime laboratory. substitution and exchange be inadvertent or otherwise not. for he himself admits that at the police station he transferred the possession of the specimen to an investigator at the MPD DAID. However.well as in Section 2 of the Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. (Emphasis supplied. the latter was never presented to testify on this matter. Thus. from the time the same were supposedly seized by SPO2 Marinda from accused-appellant. The Court particularly notes that of the individuals who came into direct contact with or had physical possession of the sachets of shabu allegedly seized from appellant. an unbroken chain of custody indeed becomes indispensable and essential when the item of real evidence is a narcotic substance. It is by reason of this distinctive quality that the condition of the exhibit at the time of testing and trial is critical.) In the same case. they are susceptible to alteration. tampering. 21 of RA 9165.40 Appellant’s contention is very much well-taken. contamination. although testimony about a perfect chain does not always have to be the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain. Hence. in relation to the chain of custody rule. in authenticating narcotic specimens. It also appears that the prosecution’s evidence failed to reveal the identity of the person who had the custody and safekeeping of the drugs after its examination and pending its presentation in court. But his testimony failed to sufficiently demonstrate an unbroken chain. And because they cannot be readily and properly distinguished visually from other substances of the same physical and/or chemical nature. substitution and exchange— whether the alteration.

Q And after you turned over the stuff to the investigator.41 And after this turnover of the specimen. he was veritably assuming the occurrence of an event. identified as SPO1 Pama. while perhaps perceived by the courts below as straightforward and clear. to whom SPO1 Marinda allegedly handed over the confiscated sachets for recording and marking. until he actually delivered them to the . his testimony is vital in establishing the whereabouts of the seized illegal drugs and how they were handled from the time SPO1 Marinda turned them over to him. If SPO1 Pama indeed received the sachets containing the illegal drugs and then turned them over to the laboratory for testing. FISCAL: Q And how did you know that it was marked with DAID-1? A We were present when it was marked. It baffles this Court no end why the prosecution opted not to present the investigator. because he took no part in the transfer of the specimen from the police station to the laboratory. COURT: Q Who marked the evidence? A Our investigator. he was not testifying on the fact of submission out of personal knowledge. what happened to that plastic sachet? A I turned that over to out investigator at DAID. SPO1 Marinda no longer had personal knowledge of the whereabouts of the shabu-containing sachet. sir. Q So you were the one who brought that from the scene of the incident to your office? A Yes. This testimony of SPO1 Marinda alone. Your Honor. is incomplete to satisfy the rule on chain of custody.Q You said you received the plastic container containing the supposed shabu from John John. what happened to that. Q Who is he? A SPO1 Pama. the custodial link ended with SPO1 Marinda when he testified that the specimen was submitted for laboratory examination. In plain language. Your Honor. if any? A It was marked by our investigator DAID-1. sir. what happened next? A The evidence were submitted to the laboratory for examination. xxxx Q And after you turned over the plastic sachet and alias Jon-Jon to the investigator. sir.

they did not stipulate with respect to their "source. and finally to the court. As the evidence on record stands. which requirement is necessary to erase all doubts as to the identity of the seized drugs by establishing its movement from the accused."43 This admission puts into serious question whether it was in fact the same SPO1 Pama who turned over the specimen for laboratory testing. that several hands got hold of the said specimen before the presentation of the same in court. Else. The indispensability of SPO1 Pama testimony cannot be over-emphasized. 1. to the police. there is a considerable amount of time. Series of 2002. Almorfe: The presentation of the drugs which constitute the corpus delicti of the offenses. There are so many unanswered questions regarding the possibility of evidence tampering and the identity of evidence. The prosecution’s own misgivings created a reasonable doubt on the integrity of the drugs presented in court. People. the prosecution cannot plausibly maintain that it was able to prove the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt. As the Court stated in Malillin v. This function is performed by the "chain of custody" requirement as defined in Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No.laboratory. which the prosecution and appellant have already stipulated on. This constitutes a clear but unexplained break in the chain of custody. if that be the case. 42 Thus. and necessarily strongly argue against a finding of guilt. Then too no one testified on how the specimen was handled and cared following the analysis. in which the whereabouts of the illegal drugs were unaccounted for. These questions should be answered satisfactorily to determine whether the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized substance have been compromised in any way. to the forensic chemist. He could have provided the link between the testimony of SPO1 Marinda and the tenor of the testimony of PS/Insp. xxxx It bears recalling that while the parties stipulated on the existence of the sachets. And of course no one was presented to prove that the specimen turned over for analysis." . Not lost on the Court is the prosecution’s admission that the "Forensic Chemical Officer has no personal knowledge as to where or from whom the specimen she examined originally came from x x x. "When moral certainty as to culpability hands in the balance." 44 Apropos too is what the Court said in People v. acquittal on reasonable doubt inevitably becomes a matter of right. and eventually presented in court as exhibits were the same substance SPO1 Pama received from SPO1 Marinda. calls for the necessity of proving beyond doubt that they are the same seized objects. He could have accounted for the whereabouts of the illegal drugs from the time he possessed them. a gaping hiatus as it were. or some other police officer or person took possession of the specimen before it was brought to the laboratory. Mariano. the trial court should not have easily accorded the drugs presented in court much credibility.

48 It is worthy to note. gravely erred in ruling that the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated prohibited drug were properly preserved. his testimony failed to establish that it was the same one submitted for laboratory testing. when the evidence of the prosecution itself casts a doubt on the integrity of the specimen presented and identified in court. thus. The trial court. Hence. the CA Decision dated February 24. Sanchez teaches that the testimony of the forensic chemist which is stipulated upon merely covers the handling of the specimen at the forensic laboratory and the result of the examination. Associate Justice . No. SO ORDERED. CR-H. 5. What the trial court failed to appreciate.People v. the same cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 1âwphi1 While a perfect chain of custody is almost always impossible to achieve. WHEREFORE. In fine. No costs. PRESBITERO J. 2011 in CA-G.R. the prosecution failed to account for every link of the chain starting from its turn over by Janet to the investigator. VELASCO.46 the Court acquitted the accused for the reason that the circumstances of how the person who delivered the specimen for laboratory testing came into possession of the specimen remained unexplained. the instant appeal is GRANTED. unless he is being lawfully held for any other cause. 47 On the contrary. in the case for illegal sale. 45(citations omitted) In People v. contamination and even substitution and exchange. The CA. every link must be accounted for. should not have so easily trusted the alleged integrity of the shabu identified in court.C. 03775 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. and from the latter to the chemist. 06-247287. II of RA 9165 on account of reasonable doubt. JR. As for the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty relied upon by the courts a quo. is that while SPO1 Marinda identified a sachet of shabu in court. on this ground: the subject shabu was not identified in court. however. as a final consideration. that the trial court acquitted appellant in Criminal Case No. the prosecution failed to provide each and every link in the chain of custody. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is ordered to cause the immediate release of accused-appellant. but not the manner the specimen was handled before it came to the possession of the forensic chemist and after it left his possession. Art. This runs contrary to the rule that the corpus delicti should be identified with unwavering exactitude. Accused-appellant Edgardo Adrid y Flores is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime of violating Sec. tampering. Accordingly. Librea. an unbroken chain becomes indispensable and essential in the prosecution of drug cases owing to its susceptibility to alteration. for illegal possession of drugs.

VELASCO. JR. Reyes. Penned by Associate Justice Antonio L. Elbinias. 5 "SPO2 Marinda" in some parts of the records. Jr. Villamor and concurred in by Associate Justices Jose C.WE CONCUR: ARTURO D. pp. MARIA LOURDES P. A. 2012. BRION* Associate Justice ROBERTO A. Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation. pp. Associate Justice Chairperson C E R T I F I C AT I O N Pursuant to Section 13. SERENO Chief Justice Footnotes * Additional member per raff1e dated June 18. . LEONEN Associate Justice AT T E S TAT I O N I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division. at 60-61. 4 Id. 1 2 Records. 3 Id. at 57. Rollo. 2-16. and Michael P. 2-3. PRESBITERO J. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division. ABAD Associate Justice JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA Associate Justice MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F.

at 5-6. at 5-6. 19 Id. at 6-7. . 23 Id. 2007. at 20. 27 Id. 16 TSN. at 4. 9. at 16. 29 CA rollo. 9 Records. 13 Id. p. 3. 10 TSN. 20 Id. 26 Id. Mendinueto. 11 Id. 41. at 5. 3-4. p. 14 Records. 8 Id. 7 Id. 2007. 21 CA rollo. 28 Id. 17 Id. 12. at 12. p. 18 Id. October 11. 2008. 22 Id. at 14. 24 Id. at 7-8. p. at 10-12. 14-18. at 16. 25 Rollo. 8. Penned by Judge Eugenio C. October 11. p. p. at 14-15. 12 Id. at 17. 76 15 TSN. p. October 11. March 4. pp. pp. 2007. 21.6 TSN.

60-62. 191394. pp.R. 2004. No. 42 People v. at 777. People. 32 G. June 21. 44 Supra note 37. 2007. 39 Id.R.R. 151-155. 620 SCRA 359. 46 G. 48 http://www. 185166. at 656-657. p. 137348. G. 484 SCRA 639.R. 181831.R. citing People v.R. G. 611 SCRA 706. G. February 5. 553 SCRA 619. 2010.R.R. pp. 37 38 G. 2011. 617 SCRA 52. 432 SCRA 470. p. No. Dela Cruz. No. 2009. 2006.html PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. G. No. January 26. 40 CA rollo. October 11. No. Dela Rosa. G. Alberto. 181492. 43 Records. July 17. 2009. 181545.R. Id. 60. 16-17. 2010. No. 368-370. 412. 649. No. p. No. 186134. 41.R. 2010. 633 SCRA 404. 2010. 47 Rollo. 574 SCRA 140. citing Zarraga v. 31 336 Phil. 593 SCRA 258. December 16. 179717. March 29. 186471 .R. 568 SCRA 273. 262-263. 490. People v. 45 G. G. 640 SCRA 635. at 150-151. No. 41 TSN. 14. People v. April 30. March 17. 35 36 G. 282. October 8. 43-44. G. 941 (1997). Ong. No.30 CA rollo. at 639. 2008. No. March 14. supra note 32. 172953.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2013/mar2013/gr_201845_2013. 933. October 18. 181494. 2008. No. 632. 179937. 581 SCRA 762. 162064. May 6. 713.R. Politico. People.R. citing Malillin v. 33 G. 34 People v. No. 2008.

2008 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. distribute or act as broker in the said transaction . 2010 x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION VELASCO. dispense. transport or distribute of any dangerous drug.. Rodante De Leon y Dela Rosa which affirmed the December 20.versus - CORONA. dispense. 2005 Decision2 in Criminal Case Nos. and MENDOZA. Q-03-122555-56 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Promulgated: January 25.Plaintiff-Appellee. CR-H. wilfully and unlawfully sell. (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Accused-Appellant. in the Quezon City.C. Chairperson. then and there. deliver.. Philippines.. the said accused. Branch 82 in Quezon City. NACHURA. 01811 entitled People of the Philippines v. not being authorized by law. 2003. JJ. Q-03-122555 (Violation of Section 5 [Sale]. Article II of Republic Act No. Present: . J. JR. PERALTA. deliver. crala w crala w The Facts The charges against appellant stemmed from the following Informations: Criminal Case No. RODANTE DE LEON y DELA ROSA. VELASCO. Article II of RA 9165) That on or about the 9th day of November.R.: The Case This is an appeal from the April 4. did. J. No. transport. to sell. JR. The RTC found accused-appellant Rodante De Leon guilty of violation of Sections 5 and 11.

The defense. The trial court summarized the stipulation of Engr.16) gram of methamphetamine hydrochloride a dangerous drug. he received the evidence. on the other hand. the police investigator of these cases. that he then issued a Certification marked as Exhibits "D" and "D-1" and thereafter turned over the specimen to the evidence custodian x x x.zero point sixteen (0. trial on the merits ensued. "B" which contained two (2) plastic sachets marked as Exhibits "B-1" and "B-2". presented Rodante De Leon. as regards PO1 Estrelles. Leonard Jabonillo. the following was agreed upon: x x x that he was the investigator of these cases and in connection with the investigation conducted by him. namely: the Joint Affidavit of Apprehension executed by PO2 Noel Magcalayo and PO2 Cesar Collado marked as Exhibit "E" and "E-1". Contrary to law.4 crälä wvirtualibräry On February 16. the Forensic Chemist.5 crälä wvirtualibräry Also. After the pre-trial conference. the said accused. 2004. 2003. and Police Officer 1 (PO1) Oliver Estrelles. in connection therewith he submitted a Chemistry Report marked as Exhibit "C". the accused himself. (Order dated September 14. that together with the said request was a plastic sachet marked as Exh. wilfully. The prosecution thereafter presented PO2 Noel Magcalayo as its witness. Jabonillo. in the Quezon City. Contrary to law. During the trial. Q-03-122556 (Violation of Section 11 [Possession]. Article II of RA 9165) That on or about the 9th day of November. the finding thereon showing the specimen positive for Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride was marked as Exhibit "C-1" and the signature of said police officer was marked as Exhibit "C-2". to possess or use any dangerous drug. Philippines. 2004). unlawfully and knowingly have in his/her possession and control zero point eighteen (0. that likewise prepared the request for . that his Office received the request for laboratory examination marked as Annex "A". then and there. did.18) gram of methamphetamine hydrochloride.3 Criminal Case No. appellant was arraigned and pleaded "not guilty" to the charge against him. not being authorized by law. that he conducted the requested laboratory examination and. as follows: x x x that he is a Forensic Chemist of the Philippine National Police. the parties agreed to stipulate on the testimonies of Engr. a dangerous drug.

appellant handed him one (1) plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance. where the confidential informant introduced PO2 Magcalayo to appellant as a buyer of shabu.6 The Prosecutions Version of Facts On November 9. He then scratched his head. in the evening. which yielded positive results for Methylamphetamine . The evidence was subsequently turned over to the police investigator. Mandaluyong City for examination. in return. the team proceeded to Sarmiento St. Wong then handed to PO2 Magcalayo two (2) pieces of PhP 100 bills as buy-bust money and on which PO2 Magcalayo wrote his initials "NM. PO2 Collado discovered another plastic sachet on the person of appellant. that he prepared the letter request to the City Prosecutor Office marked as Exhibit "G". PO2 Edmund Paculdar. Afterwards. Police Senior Inspector (P/SInsp. P/SInsp. PO1 Mendoza." Thereafter. and PO2 Magcalayo then brought the transparent plastic sachets containing the white crystalline substance subject of the buy-bust operation to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory. and PO1 Emeterio Mendoza as team members. PO2 Collado then placed his initials on the sachet he found on appellant. Engr. PO2 Magcalayo handed the money and.. at about 5 oclock in the afternoon. PO2 Collado. PO2 Cesar Collado.examination marked as Exhibit "A" and submitted the specimen to the Crime Laboratory and receive the Chemistry Report marked as Exhibit "C". and that Exhibit "A" contains superimposition of the date thereof. that he received the Pre-Operation Report marked as Exhibit "E" as well as the buy bust money marked as Exhibits "F" and "F-1". 2003. Novaliches. Eastern Police District on St.m. Monica. PO2 Paculdar. a Forensic Chemical Officer. 2004). which was the pre-arranged signal that the transaction was consummated.) Nilo Wong formed a team for a buybust operation with PO2 Magcalayo as poseur-buyer and Senior Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Mario Concepcion. Francis Street. Jabonillo. He recovered the buy-bust money from appellant as PO2 Collado approached them and handcuffed appellant." (Order dated September 14. PO2 Magcalayo then asked appellant if he had shabu and the latter answered in the affirmative and asked him how much he would buy. conducted a qualitative examination on the specimens. A pre-operation report was prepared. Barangay Sta." At around 6:30 p. PO1 Estrelles. Quezon City. a confidential informant arrived at the office of the Station Anti-Illegal Drug Special Operation Task Force at the Novaliches Police Station in Quezon City and reported the illegal activities of a person named "Rodante De Leon. PO2 Fernando Salonga. Upon frisking appellant. who prepared a request for its laboratory examination. and thereafter arrested appellant. appellant was brought to the police station for investigation.

Araneta. D-1240-2003 dated November 9. his wallet. he was a police officer of Station 7." . The people around him ran. he went to Sarmiento St. a dangerous drug. x xx Version of the Defense On the other hand. Upon arrival at the police station in Novaliches. Quezon City and had been connected with the PNP for 10 years..16 gm B (CC) = 0. and police badge. PO2 Magcalayo allegedly kicked him saying. with his I. Novaliches.D. that he was a police officer but he was told to shut up and to explain his side at the police station instead. at around 3 oclock in the afternoon. the policemen asked him to sit down. prior to his arrest. Monica. PO2 Magcalayo told him that he had a fake police I. sundalo na ang nakaupo ngayon. and as he was the only one left on the scene.Hydrochloride. x x x CONCLUSION: Specimen A and B contain Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride. "Hindi na uso ang pulis. a dangerous drug. 2003. xxxx FINDINGS: Qualitative examination conducted on the above-stated specimens gave POSITIVE result to the test for Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride. Quezon City to look for a kumpadre from whom he intended to borrow money when policemen accosted him and poked their guns at him. were taken from him.18 gm xxxx PURPOSE OF LABORATORY EXAMINATION: To determine the presence of dangerous drugs. 2003.D. appellant testified that. a dangerous drug. Barangay Sta. On November 9. When appellant tried to explain himself. whom he knew. which showed the following results: SPECIMEN SUBMITTED: Two (2) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets each containing white crystalline substance having the following markings and recorded net weights: A (NM) = 0. He issued Chemistry Report No. Quezon City. He told SPO3 Concepcion. Cubao.

The following night.A. Q-03-122555. He denied all the charges against him claiming that the alleged shabu marked as Exhibits "B-1" and "B-2" came from the arresting police officers. No. because he had no money and because he knew that he was not guilty. he was presented on inquest during which he was charged with violation of Secs. and that he was not familiar with RA 9165. and hereby sentences him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day as minimum to fifteen (15) years and one (1) day as maximum and to pay a fine in the amount of P300. He argued that the alleged buybust operation conducted by the police officers was tainted with irregularities and that the prosecution failed to prove the chain of custody of the evidence. Article II of R. premises considered. 5 and 11 of RA 9165. No. The dispositive portion of its Decision reads: . On cross-examination. Re: Criminal Case NO. and hereby sentences him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine in the amount of P500. judgment is hereby rendered as follows: Re: Criminal Case NO. The dispositive portion of its Decision reads: WHEREFORE. He admitted that he was separated from the service because he was absent without official leave due to a business problem he had to attend to.000. He likewise said that he did not know his arresting officers. the Court finds accused RODANTE DE LEON y DELA ROSA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a violation of Section 5. Article II of R.A. He did not file a case against them. appellant further testified that he was a follow-up operative at the Station Investigation Division of Police Station 7. 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.00. appellant disputed the trial courts decision finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crimes charged. the Court finds accused RODANTE DE LEON y DELA ROSA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of a violation of Section 11.000. the CA affirmed the judgment of the trial court. the RTC convicted appellant. Q-03-122556.7 cräläwvirtualibräry On appeal to the CA. Ruling of the Appellate Court On April 4.00. 2008. Ruling of the Trial Court After trial. SO ORDERED. whom he saw then for the first time.

SO ORDERED. . he asserts that the trial court relied on the disputable presumption of regularity in the performance of the police function. and in Criminal Case No. is AFFIRMED. premises considered. sentencing him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years and one (1) day as minimum to fifteen (15) years and one (1) day as maximum and to pay a fine in the amount of P300.000. II.00. 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Q-03-122555 for violation of Section 5. Guilt of Appellant Was Proved Beyond Reasonable Doubt Appellant assails his conviction by contending that the trial court failed to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Branch 82 finding accused-appellant Rodante De Leon y Dela Rosa guilty beyond reasonable doubt in Criminal Case No. the trial court erroneously convicted him on the basis of the evidence of the prosecution despite a question of the legality of the buy-bust operation. The contentions are unmeritorious. According to him.A. The trial court gravely erred in finding the accused-appellant guilty of the crimes charged despite the failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. No. The Decision dated 20 December 2005 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. the appeal is DENIED for lack of merit. Article II of Republic Act No. Our Ruling We sustain appellants conviction.WHEREFORE. Further. Article II of R.000. The trial court gravely erred in ignoring the fact that the prosecution failed to prove the chain of custody of the alleged confiscated items from the accusedappellant. Q-03-122556 for violation of Section 11. The Issues Appellant assigns the following errors: I.8 cralaw Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal of the decision of the CA.00. despite the police officers violated the rule on chain of custody of the alleged confiscated items. 9165 and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine in the amount of P500.

and establishes the fact that a crime has actually been committed. and speculative. In fact. there was actual exchange of the marked money and contraband. the Court has reiterated the essential elements in People v. to wit: (1) the accused sold and delivered a prohibited drug to another. the prosecution sufficiently established the elements of the crime. on November 9. thus: Q: Mr. sir. and (2) some persons criminal responsibility for the act. Appellant sold and delivered the shabu for PhP 200 to PO2 Magcalayo posing as buyer. 12 Corpus delicti is the body or substance of the crime. this Court has failed to identify any error committed by the trial court in its appreciation of the evidence presented before it and in the conclusion it reached. when no glaring errors. namely: (1) proof of the occurrence of a certain event. and finally. Q: What happened when this confidential informant relayed to you the information about this Rodante De Leon? A: Our Chief sir.11 Therefore. 2003. arbitrary.9 The reason for this is that the trial court is in a better position to decide the credibility of witnesses having heard their testimonies and observed their deportment and manner of testifying during the trial. sir. formed a team for possible buy bust operation. . gross misapprehension of facts. coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of the corpus delicti.m. appellant was fully aware that he was selling and delivering a prohibited drug. what is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place. In the prosecution for the crime of illegal sale of prohibited drugs.13 cralaw cralaw crälä wvirtualibräry In the instant case. Q: What happened when you reported for duty? A: Our confidential informant personally appeared in our station and reporting to us the alleged drug pushing activity of Rodante De Leon. Pendatun. It has two elements.It is a fundamental rule that findings of the trial court which are factual in nature and which involve the credibility of witnesses are accorded with respect.10 crala w cräläwvirtualibräry After a thorough examination of the entire records of this case. and unsupported conclusions can be gathered from such findings.. did you report for duty? A: Yes. PO2 Magcalayo testified. Q: What time was that when this confidential informant arrived at your office? A: Around 5:00 p. and (2) he knew that what he had sold and delivered was a prohibited drug. the said drug was seized and identified as a prohibited drug and subsequently presented in evidence. Witness.

SPO3 Mario Concepcion. sir.00 bills as buy bust money. I put my initial on the buy-bust money. Q: What [does] NM stand for? A: Noel Magcalayo. PO2 Cesar Collado. Q: What did you do with that two (2) P100. Q: What initial? A: NM. Q: I am showing you these two (2) P100. sir.COURT: Who formed? A: P/Sr.00 bills? A: These are the buy bust money that we used in the operation. Witness? A: We proceeded to Sarmiento Street. . Mr.00 bills? A: Before we were dispatched. kindly examine the same whether you know those P100. Q: What happened when this team was formed. PROS. PO2 Fernando Salonga. sir. ANTERO: Prior to the dispatch to conduct that buy-bust operation. sir. PROS. for buy bust operation. COURT: Were you among the team? A: Yes. your honor. your Honor. PO2 Edmund Paculdar and PO1 Emeterio Mendoza. your Honor.00 bills. ANTERO: Who composed this team? A: Us. Inspector Nilo Wong. what happened. sir. if any? A: We prepared the pre-operation report and our Chief handed to me the two (2) pieces of P100.

sir. PROS. if any? . Q: What happened. Q: What happened during the transaction? A: I asked him sir if he has shabu and then he answered yes and magkano.xxxx Q: What happened after you were given these buy bust money? A: We proceeded to Sarmiento Street. Q: What did you tell. Quezon City. Q: Can you tell this Hon. Monica. Witness? A: We were able to meet Rodante De Leon. sir. ANTERO: What happened thereafter? A: He made transaction with us. Barangay Sta. Q: What time was that when you proceeded there? A: At around 6:30 in the afternoon. if any? A: He asked me how much I would buy shabu. sir. COURT: What? A: I was introduced to him by the confidential informant as a buyer of shabu. Mr. Q: What did he tell you. Novaliches. Court how you made a contact with this Rodante De Leon? A: We approached him and then our confidential informant introduced me to him as a buyer of shabu. Q: How did you meet this Rodante De Leon? A: By the help of our confidential informant.

14 cräläwvirtualibräry Evidently. all the elements of the crime of illegal sale of prohibited drugs were proved in the instant case. Q: What happened when you made that pre-arranged signal? A: I effected the arrest. sir. sir. As a matter of fact. sir. in disposing of the case. sir. described in detail how the operation was commenced with the help of an informant. Q: Scratching your head? A: Yes.A: That was the time when I handed to him the money. his introduction to the accused. The prosecution witnesses in the person of PO2 Noel Magcalayo. said: x x x Set against this legal yardstick. for PhP 200 worth of shabu. as the buyer. Said evidence was . sir. the one who acted as the poseur buyer in the buy bust operation conducted by his team. Q: What was the pre-arranged signal? A: By scratching my head. The testimony cited above shows clearly that a sale occurred between appellant. Q: What happened after he handed to you one plastic sachet? A: I gave pre-arranged signal to my back-up and immediately effected the arrest. a dangerous drug. the trial court. as the seller. In addition. sir. Q: One? A: Yes. he handed to me one (1) plastic sachet containing suspected shabu. and PO2 Magcalayo. sir. Q: What happened when you handed the money to him? A: In return. Accused was positively identified as the seller thereof and the source of the plastic sachet which contained crystalline substance later on determined after laboratory examination as positive for methylamphetamine. and confiscated the buy bust money from Rodante De Leon. the evidence adduced by the prosecution have sufficiently established the elements aforesaid. the said testimony illustrated the seizing of the prohibited drug and the exchange of the marked money. the ensuing negotiation and consummation of the sale of shabu which ended up in the exchange of the item as well as the buy bust money.

seized and/or surrendered.18 What is essential is "the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items. the fact that the substance bought during the buy-bust operation is the same substance offered in court should be established.15 x x x cralaw Further. further. the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9165 provide: SECTION 21. 21 does not render an accuseds arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. Provided. or his/her representative or counsel. 17 cralaw cräläwvirtualibräry To ensure that the chain of custody is established.) A close examination of the law reveals that it admits of certain exceptions. the presentation of the drug as evidence in court is material.presented in court and properly identified as the subject of the buy bust and which was submitted for examination by the Forensic Chemist. the chain of custody was clearly established by the prosecution. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items x x x. Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs.16 It is. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. for proper disposition in the following manner: (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. plant sources of dangerous drugs. All told. essential that the identity of the prohibited drug be established beyond doubt. Non-compliance with Sec. therefore. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof." 19 cralaw cräläwvirtualibräry . Thus. Sec. or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. It is elementary that. Provided. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. What is more. that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. in every prosecution for the illegal sale of prohibited drugs. whichever is practicable. The PDEA shall takecharge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. The chain of custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. immediately after seizure and confiscation. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. in case of warrantless seizures. contrary to the assertions of appellant. that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. 21 of the foregoing law need not be followed as an exact science. all the elements aforementioned are hereby present. (Emphasis supplied. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

where the sachet of suspected shabu was marked with "NM. Thus. In the prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs. appellant was caught in actual possession of the prohibited drugs without showing any proof that he was duly authorized by law to possess them. Art." Immediately thereafter. appellant was immediately arrested and brought to the police station for investigation. there was substantial compliance with the law and the integrity of the drugs seized from appellant was preserved. the confiscated substance. D-1240-2003 dated November 9. it is without a doubt that there was an unbroken chain of custody of the illicit drug purchased from appellant. was submitted to the PNP Crime Laboratory for examination to determine the presence of any dangerous drug. As held by this Court. the prosecution was able to prove that appellant is guilty of illegal possession of dangerous drugs with moral certainty. The arguments are specious. with a letter of request for examination. whose stipulated testimony clearly established the chain of custody of the specimens he received.In the instant case. Jabonillo. II of RA 9165. Having been caught in flagrante delicto. Likewise.20 crälä wvirtualibräry Here. the finding of a dangerous drug in the house or within the premises of the house of the accused is prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi and is enough to convict in the absence of a satisfactory explanation. The chain of custody of the drugs subject matter of the case was shown not to have been broken. a Forensic Chemical Officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory. . appellant failed to present any evidence to rebut his animus possidendi of the shabu found in his pocket during the buy-bust operation. rendering it illegal. as well as the marked money. (2) that such possession is not authorized by law. there is prima facie evidence of animus possidendi on appellants part. 2003. Per Chemistry Report No. 5 and 11. Such irregularities cannot overturn the finding of the presence in this case of the elements of violations of Secs. The examination was conducted by one Engr. the specimen submitted contained methylamphetamine hydrochloride. a dangerous drug. the following elements must be proved with moral certainty: (1) that the accused is in possession of the object identified as a prohibited or regulatory drug. The factual milieu of the case reveals that after PO2 Magcalayo seized and confiscated the dangerous drugs. and (3) that the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug.21 In the case at bar. He notes that the Pre-Operation Report was full of discrepancies and that the Joint Sworn Affidavit of Apprehension of PO2 Magcalayo and PO2 Collado failed to mention that they placed their markings on the plastic sachets. crala w Buy-Bust Operation Was Valid Appellant further argues that the buy-bust operation was full of irregularities.

Even appellant himself declared that it was the first time he met the police officers during his cross-examination. Associate Justice WE CONCUR: RENATO C. therefore. VELASCO. These defenses have been invariably viewed by the Court with disfavor. the appeal is DENIED. Moreover. PRESBITERO J. The CAs Decision in CA-G.A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment whereby ways and means are resorted to for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreakers in the execution of their criminal plan. no motive for the police officers to frame up appellant.25 crälä wvirtualibräry We. who made use of entrapment to capture appellant in the act of selling a dangerous drug. and they are common and standard defense ploys in most prosecutions arising from violations of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. CORONA Associate Justice Chairperson . 23 cralaw cralaw In the case at bar. was valid and legal. WHEREFORE. SO ORDERED.C. provided due regard to constitutional and legal safeguards is undertaken. uphold the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties and find that the prosecution has discharged its burden of proving the guilt of appellant beyond reasonable doubt. CR-H. There was. the operation is legal and has been proved to be an effective method of apprehending drug peddlers.24 crälä wvirtualibräry Absent any proof of motive to falsely accuse appellant of such a grave offense. therefore. the evidence clearly shows that the buy-bust operation conducted by the police officers. Likewise. JR. for they can easily be concocted but difficult to prove. the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty and the findings of the trial court with respect to the credibility of witnesses shall prevail over appellants bare allegation. the identity of appellant as the person who sold the dangerous drugs to PO2 Magcalayo and the one in possession of the shabu cannot be doubted anymore.R.22 In this jurisdiction. the defense has failed to show any evidence of ill motive on the part of the police officers. Such positive identification prevails over appellants defenses of denial and alibi. 01811 finding appellant Rodante De Leon y Dela Rosa guilty of the crimes charged is AFFIRMED. No.

Penned by Associate Justice Celia C. Librea-Leagogo and concurred in by Associate Justices Regalado E. Maambong and Agustin S. pp. 17-24. . PUNO Chief Justice Endnotes: Rollo. pp. 2-27. Id.ANTONIO EDUARDO B. Article VIII of the Constitution. Id. Penned by Judge Severino B. Id. 26-27. Jr. 1 cralaw 2 cralaw 3 cralaw 4 cralaw 5 cralaw 6 cralaw 7 cralaw 8 cralaw CA rollo. at 23-24. De Castro. and the Division Chairpersons Attestation. Id. NACHURA DIOSDADO M. Dizon. CORONA Associate Justice Chairperson CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. at 11. REYNATO S. at 9. PERALTA Associate Justice Associate Justice JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA Associate Justice ATTESTATION I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. at 18. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. RENATO C. pp. Rollo. Id.

431 SCRA 439. 23 Phil. No. 179940. Bongalon. pp. 93728. G. July 18. Records. U. p. Tadepa.php . No. No. 301 SCRA 668.R. No. 172953. Del Mundo. No.R. June 17. People v. Naquita. No. December 6. No. Del Mundo. No. 116 (2002).R. 247 SCRA 433. 144494. People v. Doria. February 6. 149462. 176-180.R. People v. July 28. January 19.chanrobles. 2009. 100354. G.R. 718. G. G. 180511. G. 15 (1912).R. 23 cralaw 24 cralaw People v. Isnani. 426 SCRA 383.R. 2008. G. April 23. 9 cralaw 10 cralaw Id. 510 SCRA 554. No. 434 SCRA 148. 1999. 148822. 169141. 2008. 448. 18 cralaw 19 cralaw 20 cralaw 21 cralaw 22 cralaw Id. January 22. 632. 2002.R. 566 SCRA 571. G. supra note 12. 96. 553 SCRA 619. 2004. 2002. Cruz v.R. No. G.R. Pacis. 556 SCRA 421. Bayani. Del Monte. June 9. 560 SCRA 430. citing People v. G. citing People v. No. 1995. May 26. No. Agulay. 25 cralaw http://www. People v. 181747. 2009.R.R. supra note 12. August 21. G. G. 2008. Del Mundo. Bandoc. 133006.. 244 SCRA 339. People v.R. 21. citing People v. 2004. 164580. Concepcion. September 26. People v. 599. People. v. Malillin v. People v. See People v. No. Id. 11 cralaw 12 cralaw 13 cralaw 14 cralaw 15 cralaw 16 cralaw 17 cralaw People v. 2008.People v. 178876. 425 Phil.R. 552 SCRA 627. No. citing People v. 125299. 1995. 155-156. G. G. G. 2008. Cercado.S. 385 SCRA 277. Macatingag. 14. People v. July 12. 179150. Del Norte. G.com/scdecisions/jurisprudence2010/january2010/186471. No. April 30. July 26. G. No. 554 SCRA 741. 2006.R. 2008. citations omitted. G. People. CA rollo. March 29. People v. 181037.R. No. Herrera. 146309.R. June 27. 384 SCRA 684. 2004.