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G.R.No.200304.January15,2014.

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PEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,plaintiffappellee,vs.DONALD
VASQUEZySANDIGAN@DON,accusedappellant.

Remedial Law Criminal Procedure Arrests Any objection, defect or


irregularityattendinganarrestmustbemadebeforetheaccusedentershis
pleaonarraignment.At the outset, the Court rules that the appellant can
nolongerassailthevalidityofhisarrest.WereiteratedinPeoplev.Tampis,
407SCRA582(2003),that[a]nyobjection,defectorirregularityattending
an arrest must be made before the accused enters his plea on arraignment.
Having failed to move for the quashing of the information against them
before their arraignment, appellants are now estopped from questioning the
legality of their arrest. Any irregularity was cured upon their voluntary
submissiontothetrialcourtsjurisdiction.Bethatasitmay,thefactofthe
matter is that the appellant was caught inflagrantedelicto of selling illegal
drugs to an undercover police officer in a buybust operation. His arrest,
thus, falls within the ambit of Section 5(a), Rule 113 of the Revised Rules
on Criminal Procedure when an arrest made without warrant is deemed
lawful.
Same Same Warrantless Searches and Seizures Having established
thevalidityofthewarrantlessarrestinthiscase,theSupremeCourtholds
that the warrantless seizure of the illegal drugs from the appellant is
likewisevalid.Having established the validity of the warrantless arrest in
this case, the Court holds that the warrantless seizure of the illegal drugs
from the appellant is likewise valid. We held in People v. Cabugatan, 515
SCRA 537 (2007), that: This interdiction against warrantless searches and
seizures,however,isnotabsoluteandsuchwarrantlesssearchesandseizures
have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence in instances of (1)
search of moving vehicles, (2) seizure in plain view, (3) customs searches,
(4) waiver or consented searches, (5) stop and frisk situations (Terry
search),andsearchincidentaltoalawfularrest.Thelastincludesavalid
warrantlessarrest,for,whileasarule,an

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*FIRSTDIVISION.

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arrestisconsideredlegitimate[if]effectedwithavalidwarrantofarrest,the
RulesofCourtrecognizepermissiblewarrantlessarrest,towit:(1)arrestin
flagrantedelicto,(2)arresteffectedinhotpursuit,and(3)arrestofescaped
prisoners.
Criminal Law Dangerous Drugs Act Illegal Sale of Dangerous
DrugsElementsof.Tosecureaconvictionforthecrimeofillegalsaleof
regulatedorprohibiteddrugs,thefollowingelementsshouldbesatisfactorily
proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, the object, and the
consideration and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor. As held in People v. Chua Tan Lee, 410 SCRA 349 (2003), in a
prosecution of illegal sale of drugs, what is material is proof that the
accused peddled illicit drugs, coupled with the presentation in court of the
corpusdelicti.
Same Same Illegal Possession of Dangerous Drugs Elements of.
On the other hand, the elements of illegal possession of drugs are: (1) the
accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a
prohibited drug (2) such possession is not authorized by law and (3) the
accusedfreelyandconsciouslypossessedthesaiddrug.
Remedial Law Evidence Witnesses Credence shall be given to the
narration of the incident by prosecution witnesses especially so when they
are police officers who are presumed to have performed their duties in a
regularmanner,unlesstherebeevidencetothecontrary.InPeoplev.Ting
Uy,380SCRA700(2002),theCourtexplainsthatcredenceshallbegiven
tothenarrationoftheincidentbyprosecutionwitnessesespeciallysowhen
theyarepoliceofficerswhoarepresumedtohaveperformedtheirdutiesina
regularmanner,unlesstherebeevidencetothecontrary.Intheinstantcase,
the appellant failed to ascribe, much less satisfactorily prove, any improper
motiveonthepartoftheprosecutionwitnessesastowhytheywouldfalsely
incriminate him. The appellant himself even testified that, not only did he
not have any misunderstanding with P/Insp. Fajardo and PO2 Trambulo
prior to his arrest, he in fact did not know them at all. In the absence of
evidenceofsuchillmotive,noneispresumedtoexist.
Same Same Same Being a regular employee of the National Bureau of
Investigation(NBI),theappellantcouldhaveeasilysought

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the help of his immediate supervisors and/or the chief of his office to
extricatehimfromhispredicament.Therecordsofthiscasearealsosilent
as to any measures undertaken by the appellant to criminally or
administrativelychargethepoliceofficershereinforfalselyframinghimup
forsellingandpossessingillegaldrugs.Suchamovewouldnothavebeena
daunting task for the appellant under the circumstances. Being a regular
employeeoftheNBI,theappellantcouldhaveeasilysoughtthehelpofhis
immediatesupervisorsand/orthechiefofhisofficetoextricatehimfromhis
predicament. Instead, what the appellant offered in evidence were mere
photocopiesofdocumentsthatsupposedlyshowedthathewasauthorizedto
keep drug specimens in his custody. That the original documents and the
testimonies of the signatories thereof were not at all presented in court did
nothingtohelptheappellantscase.TothemindoftheCourt,theevidence
offeredbytheappellantfailedtopersuadeamidthepositiveandcategorical
testimoniesofthearrestingofficersthattheappellantwascaughtredhanded
selling and possessing a considerable amount of prohibited drugs on the
nightofthebuybustoperation.
RemedialLawCriminalProcedureAppealsSettledistherulethat
thefactualfindingsoftheappellatecourtsustainingthoseofthetrialcourt
arebindingonthisCourt,unlessthereisaclearshowingthatsuchfindings
are tainted with arbitrariness, capriciousness or palpable error.It is
apropos to reiterate here that where there is no showing that the trial court
overlookedormisinterpretedsomematerialfactsorthatitgravelyabusedits
discretion,theCourtwillnotdisturbthetrialcourtsassessmentofthefacts
andthecredibilityofthewitnessessincetheRTCwasinabetterpositionto
assess and weigh the evidence presented during trial. Settled too is the rule
that the factual findings of the appellate court sustaining those of the trial
court are binding on this Court, unless there is a clear showing that such
findingsaretaintedwitharbitrariness,capriciousnessorpalpableerror.
Criminal Law Penalties Article 63 of the Revised Penal Code mandates
thatwhenthelawprescribesapenaltycomposedoftwoindivisiblepenalties
and there are neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances in the
commission of the crime, the lesser penalty shall be applied.Pertinently,
Article63oftheRevisedPenalCodemandatesthatwhenthelawprescribes
apenaltycomposedoftwoindi

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visible penalties and there are neither mitigating nor aggravating


circumstances in the commission of the crime, the lesser penalty shall be
applied. Thus, in this case, considering that no mitigating or aggravating
circumstancesattendedtheappellantsviolationofSection15,ArticleIIIof
RepublicActNo.6425,asamended,theCourtofAppealscorrectlyaffirmed
the trial courts imposition of reclusion perpetua. The P5,000,000.00 fine
imposed by the RTC on the appellant is also in accord with Section 15,
ArticleIIIofRepublicActNo.6425,asamended.
Remedial Law Criminal Procedure Special Aggravating
Circumstances Such a special aggravating circumstance, i.e., one that
whicharisesunderspecialconditionstoincreasethepenaltyfortheoffense
to its maximum period, was not alleged and charged in the informations.
Thus, the same was properly disregarded by the lower courts.TheCourt
notes that both parties in this case admitted that the appellant was a regular
employee of the NBI Forensics Chemistry Division. Such fact, however,
cannotbetakenintoconsiderationtoincreasethepenaltiesinthiscasetothe
maximum, in accordance with Section 24 of Republic Act No. 6425, as
amended.Suchaspecialaggravatingcircumstance,i.e.,onethatwhicharises
under special conditions to increase the penalty for the offense to its
maximumperiod,wasnotallegedandchargedintheinformations.Thus,the
samewasproperlydisregardedbythelowercourts.

APPEALfromadecisionoftheCourtofAppeals.
ThefactsarestatedintheopinionoftheCourt.
TheSolicitorGeneralforplaintiffappellee.
PublicAttorneysOfficeforaccusedappellant.

LEONARDODECASTRO,J.:
ThecasebeforethisCourtisanappealfromtheDecision1dated
May31,2011oftheCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.CR.

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1Rollo, pp. 223 penned by Associate Justice Elihu A. Ybaez with Associate
Justices Bienvenido L. Reyes (now a member of this Court) and Estela M. Perlas
Bernabe(nowamemberofthisCourt),concurring.

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H.C.No.04201.SaiddecisionaffirmedwithmodificationtheJoint
Decision2datedAugust6,2009oftheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC)
of Manila, Branch 41, in Criminal Case Nos. 98164174 and 98
164175,whichconvictedtheappellantDonaldVasquezySandigan
ofthecrimesofillegalsaleandillegalpossessionofregulateddrugs
underSections15and16,ArticleIIIofRepublicActNo.6425,as
amended,otherwiseknownastheDangerousDrugsActof1972.
Criminal Case No. 98164174 stemmed from a charge of
violation of Section 15, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425, as
amended,3whichwasallegedlycommittedasfollows:

ThatonoraboutApril3,1998intheCityofManila,Philippines,
thesaidaccusednothavingbeenauthorizedbylawtosell,dispense,
deliver,transportordistributeanyregulateddrug,didthenandthere
[willfully],unlawfullyandknowinglysellorofferforsale,dispense,
deliver, transport or distribute 45.46 grams, 44.27 grams, 45.34
grams, 51.45 grams, 41.32 grams and 20.14 grams or with a total
weightofTWOHUNDREDFORTY


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2CARollo,pp.3947pennedbyActingPresidingJudgeTeresaP.Soriaso.
3 Section 15 of Republic Act No. 6425 as amended by Section 14 of Republic Act No.
7659 (An Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes, Amending for that
Purpose the Revised Penal Code, as amended, Other Special Penal Laws, and for Other
Purposes),states:
SEC. 15.Sale, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery, Transportation
andDistributionofRegulatedDrugs.Thepenaltyofreclusionperpetuatodeathand
afinerangingfromfivehundredthousandpesostotenmillionpesosshallbeimposed
uponanypersonwho,unlessauthorizedbylaw,shallsell,dispense,deliver,transport
ordistributeanyregulateddrug.
NotwithstandingtheprovisionsofSection20ofthisActtothecontrary,if
the victim of the offense is a minor, or should a regulated drug involved in any
offenseunderthisSectionbetheproximatecauseofthedeathofavictimthereof,the
maximumpenaltythereinprovidedshallbeimposed.

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SEVEN POINT NINETYEIGHT (247.98) grams contained in six


(6)transparentplasticsachetsofwhitecrystallinesubstanceknownas
Shabu containing methamphetamine hydrochloride, which is a
regulateddrug.4


CriminalCaseNo.98164175,ontheotherhand,arosefrom
an alleged violation of Section 16, Article III of Republic Act No.
6425,asamended,5whichwassaidtobecommittedinthismanner:

ThatonoraboutApril3,1998intheCityofManila,Philippines,
the said accused without being authorized by law to possess or use
any regulated drug, did then and there [willfully], unlawfully and
knowingly have in his possession and under his custody and control
1.61grams,0.58grams,0.29grams,0.09[grams],0.10grams,0.17
grams,0.21grams,0.24grams,0.12grams,0.06grams,0.04grams,
[0].51gramsorallwithatotalweightoffourpointzerothreegrams
of white crystalline substance contained in twelve (12) transparent
plastic sachets known as SHABU containing methamphetamine
hydrochloride,aregulateddrug,withoutthecorrespondinglicenseor
prescriptionthereof.6

Initially,CriminalCaseNo.98164175wasraffledtotheRTC
ofManila,Branch23.Uponmotion7oftheappellant,however,said
casewasallowedtobeconsolidatedwith

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4Records,p.1.
5 Section 16 of Republic Act No. 6425 as amended by Republic Act No. 7659,
provides:
SEC. 16.Possession or Use of Regulated Drugs.The penalty of
reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand
pesostotenmillionpesosshallbeimposeduponanypersonwhoshallpossess
or use any regulated drug without the corresponding license or prescription,
subjecttotheprovisionsofSection20hereof.
6Records,p.16.
7Id.,atpp.2829.

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CriminalCaseNo.98164174intheRTCofManila,Branch41.8On
CriminalCaseNo.98164174intheRTCofManila,Branch41.8On
arraignment, the appellant pleaded not guilty to both charges.9The
pretrialconferenceofthecaseswasheldonJuly27,1998,butthe
samewasterminatedwithoutthepartiesenteringintoanystipulation
offacts.10
During the trial of the cases, the prosecution presented the
testimoniesofthefollowingwitnesses:(1)PoliceInspector(P/Insp.)
JeanFajardo,11(2)P/Insp.MarilynDequito,12and(3)PoliceOfficer
(PO) 2 Christian Trambulo.13 Thereafter, the defense presented in
court the testimonies of: (1) the appellant Donald Vasquez y
Sandigan,14(2)AngelinaArejado,15and(3)AnatoliaCaredo.16

TheProsecutionsCase
The prosecutions version of the events was primarily drawn
fromthetestimoniesofP/Insp.FajardoandPO2Trambulo.
P/Insp. Fajardo testified that in the morning of April 1, 1998, a
confidentialinformantwenttotheirofficeandreportedthatacertain
DonaldVasquezwasengagedinillegaldrugactivity.ThisaliasDon
supposedlyclaimedthathewasanemployeeoftheNationalBureau
of Investigation (NBI). According to the informant, alias Don
promised him a good commission if he (the informant) would
present a potential buyer of drugs. P/Insp. Fajardo relayed the
informationtoPoliceSuperintendent(P/Supt.)PepitoDomantay,the
com

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8Id.,atp.62.
9Id.,atpp.19,52.
10Id.,atp.69.
11TSN,August11,1998TSN,October6,1998.
12TSN,September15,1998.
13TSN,December2,1999.
14TSN,September20,2001TSN,August10,2006.
15TSN,April21,2005.
16TSN,March9,2006.

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mandingofficeroftheiroffice.P/Insp.Fajardowastheninstructed
to form a team and conduct a possible buybust against alias Don.
Sheformedateamonthesameday,whichconsistedofherself,PO2
Trambulo,PO1Agravante,PO1Pedrosa,PO1Sisteno,andPO1De
la Rosa. P/Insp. Fajardo was the team leader. With the help of the
informant, she was able to set up a meeting with alias Don. The
meeting was to be held at around 9:00 p.m. on that day at Cindys
RestaurantlocatedinWelcomeRotonda.Shewasonlysupposedto
meetaliasDonthatnightbutshedecidedtobringtheteamalongfor
securityreasons.17
At about 9:00 p.m. on even date, P/Insp. Fajardo and her team
wenttothemeetingplacewiththeinformant.Themembersofher
team positioned themselves strategically inside the restaurant. The
informant introduced P/Insp. Fajardo to alias Don as the buyer of
shabu.SheaskedaliasDonifhewasindeedanemployeeoftheNBI
and he replied in the affirmative. They agreed to close the deal
whereinshewouldbuy250gramsofshabu for P250,000.00. They
alsoagreedtomeetthefollowingdayatCindysRestaurantaround
10:00to11:00p.m.18
In the evening of April 2, 1998, P/Insp. Fajardo and her team
wentbacktoCindysRestaurant.AliasDonwasalreadywaitingfor
her outside the establishment when she arrived. He asked for the
moneyandsherepliedthatshehadthemoneywithher.Shebrought
five genuine P500.00 bills, which were inserted on top of five
bundlesofplaymoneytomakeitappearthatshehadP250,000.00
with her. After she showed the money to alias Don, he suggested
thattheygotoamoresecureplace.Theyagreedforthesaletotake
placeataround1:30to2:00a.m.onApril3,1998infrontofalias
Dons apartment at 765 Valdez St., Sampaloc, Manila. The team
proceededtotheWesternPoliceDistrict(WPD)Station

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17TSN,August11,1998,pp.57.
18Id.,atpp.79.

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alongU.N.Avenueforcoordination.Afterwards,theteamheldtheir
finalbriefingbeforetheyproceededtothetargetarea.Theyagreed
that the prearranged signal was for P/Insp. Fajardo to scratch her
hair,whichwouldsignifythatthedealhadbeenconsummatedand
the rest of the team would rush up to the scene. The team then
travelledtotheaddressgivenbyaliasDon.19
When the team arrived at the target area around 1:15 a.m. on
April 3, 1998, the two vehicles they used were parked along the
corner of the street. P/Insp. Fajardo and the informant walked
towards the apartment of alias Don and stood in front of the
apartment gate. Around 1:45 a.m., alias Don came out of the
apartmentwithamale companion. Alias Don demanded to see the
money,butP/Insp.Fajardotoldhimthatshewantedtoseethedrugs
first. Alias Don gave her the big brown envelope he was carrying
and she checked the contents thereof. Inside she found a plastic
sachet,about10x8inchesinsize,whichcontainedwhitecrystalline
substance.Aftercheckingthecontentsoftheenvelope,sheassumed
thatthesamewasindeedshabu.Shethengavethebuybustmoney
toaliasDonandscratchedherhairtosignaltherestoftheteamto
rush to the scene. P/Insp. Fajardo identified herself as a narcotics
agent.ThetwosuspectstriedtofleebutPO2Trambulowasableto
stopthemfromdoingso.P/Insp.Fajardotookcustodyoftheshabu.
When she asked alias Don if the latter had authority to possess or
sellshabu,herepliedinthenegative.P/Insp.Fajardoputherinitials
JSF on the genuine P500.00 bills below the name of Benigno
Aquino. After the arrest of the two suspects, the buybust team
broughtthemtothepolicestation.Thesuspectsrightswerereadto
themandtheyweresubsequentlybooked.20
P/Insp.FajardosaidthatshefoundoutthataliasDonwasinfact
theappellantDonaldVasquez.Shelearnedofhis

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19Id.,atpp.914.
20Id.,atpp.1525.

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namewhenhebroughtouthisNBIIDwhilehewasbeingbooked.
P/Insp. Fajardo also learned that the name of the appellants
companionwasReynaldoSiscar,whowasalsoarrestedandbrought
to the police station. P/Insp. Fajardo explained that after she gave
the buybust money to the appellant, the latter handed the same to
Siscar who was present the entire time the sale was being
consummated. Upon receiving the buybust money placed inside a
green plastic bag, Siscar looked at the contents thereof and uttered
okey na to. P/Insp. Fajardo marked the drug specimen and
brought the same to the Crime Laboratory. She was accompanied
there by PO2 Trambulo and PO1 Agravante. She handed over the
drugspecimentoPO1AgravantewhothenturneditovertoP/Insp.
Taduran,theforensicchemistonduty.Thepoliceofficerspreviously
weighed the drug specimen. Thereafter, the personnel at the crime
laboratory weighed the specimen again. P/Insp. Fajardo and her
teamwaitedfortheresultsofthelaboratoryexamination.21
P/Insp.Fajardofurthertestifiedthatthesixplasticbagsofshabu
seized during the buybust operation were actually contained in a
selfsealingplasticenvelopeplacedinsideabrownenvelope.When
thebrownenvelopewasconfiscatedfromtheappellant,sheputher
initials JSF therein and signed it. She noticed that there were
markingsontheenvelopethatreadDD931303reAntonioRoxas
ySungabutshedidnotbothertocheckoutwhattheywereforor
who made them. When she interrogated the appellant about the
brown envelope, she found out that the same was submitted as
evidence to the NBI Crime Laboratory. She also learned that the
appellantworkedasaLaboratoryAideattheNBICrimeLaboratory.
Sheidentifiedincourtthesixplasticsachetsofdrugsthatherteam
recovered, which sachets she also initialed and signed. P/Insp.
Fajardo also stated that after the appellant was arrested, PO2
Trambuloconductedabody

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21Id.,atpp.2533.

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search on the two suspects. The search yielded 12 more plastic


sachets of drugs from the appellant. The 12 sachets were varied in
sizesandwerecontainedinawhiteenvelope.P/Insp.Fajardoplaced
herinitialsandsignatureontheenvelope.Astothe12sachets,the
same were initialed by P/Insp. Fajardo and signed by PO2
Trambulo.22
The testimony of PO2 Trambulo corroborated that of P/Insp.
Fajardos. PO2 Trambulo testified that in the morning of April 1,
1998, a confidential informant reported to them about the illegal
drug activities of alias Don. P/Supt. Domantay then tasked P/Insp.
Fajardotoformabuybustteam.P/Insp.Fajardowasabletosetupa
meetingwithaliasDonatCindysRestaurantinWelcomeRotonda,
Quezon City. At that meeting, PO2 Trambulo saw P/Insp. Fajardo
talktoaliasDon.P/Insp.Fajardolatertoldthemembersoftheteam
thatsheconvincedaliasDonthatshewasagoodbuyerofshabuand
the latter demanded a second meeting to see the money. After the
initial meeting, P/Insp. Fajardo briefed P/Supt. Domantay about
whathappened.PO2TrambulostatedthatonApril2,1998,P/Insp.
FajardowasfurnishedwithfivegenuineP500.00billstogetherwith
the boodle play money. P/Insp. Fajardo placed her initials in the
genuinebillsbelowthenameBenignoAquino,Jr.Afterwards,the
team left the office. When they arrived at Cindys Restaurant past
10:00p.m.,aliasDonwaswaitingoutside.P/Insp.Fajardoshowed
the boodle money to alias Don and after some time, they parted
ways.P/Insp.FajardolatertoldtheteamthataliasDondecidedthat
the drug deal would take place in front of alias Dons rented
apartmentonValdezSt.,Sampaloc,Manila.Afteranhour,theteam
wenttoValdezSt.tofamiliarizethemselveswiththearea.Theythen
proceeded to the WPD station to coordinate their operation.
Thereafter, P/Insp. Fajardo conducted a final briefing wherein PO2
Trambulowasdesignatedastheimmediatebackuparrestingofficer.
The

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22TSN,October6,1998,pp.419.

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agreedprearrangedsignalwasforP/Insp.Fajardotoscratchherhair
to indicate the consummation of the deal. PO2 Trambulo was to
signalthesametotheothermembersoftheteam.23
Thebuybustteamwenttothetargetareaataround1:30to2:00
a.m. on April 3, 1998. P/Insp. Fajardo and the informant walked
towardsthedirectionofaliasDonsapartment,whilePO2Trambulo
positionedhimselfnearaparkedjeepneyabout15to20metersfrom
theapartmentgate.Therestoftheteamparkedtheirvehiclesatthe
street perpendicular to Valdez St. Later, alias Don went out of the
gatewithanotherperson.PO2TrambulosawaliasDongesturingto
P/Insp. Fajardo as if asking for something but P/Insp. Fajardo
gestured that she wanted to see something first. Alias Don handed
P/Insp. Fajardo a big brown envelope, which the latter opened.
P/Insp. Fajardo then handed to alias Don a green plastic bag
containing the buybust money and gave the prearranged signal.
When PO2 Trambulo saw this, he immediately summoned the rest
oftheteamandrushedtothesuspects.Hewasabletorecoverthe
buybust money from alias Dons male companion. Upon frisking
alias Don, PO2 Trambulo retrieved 12 pieces of plastic sachets of
suspecteddrugs.Thesamewereplacedinsideawhiteenvelopethat
wastuckedinsidealiasDonswaist.PO2Trambulomarkedeachof
the 12 sachets with his initials CVT and the date. The police
officers then informed the suspects of their rights and they
proceededtothepoliceheadquartersinFortBonifacio.24
AsregardsthebrownenvelopethataliasDonhandedtoP/Insp.
Fajardo, the latter retained possession thereof. The envelope
contained six pieces of plastic bags of white crystalline substance.
Whentheygotbacktotheiroffice,theteamreportedtheprogressof
their operation to P/Supt. Domantay. The arrested suspects were
bookedandtherequireddocu

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23TSN,December2,1999,pp.512.
24Id.,atpp.1319.

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mentationswereprepared.AmongsuchdocumentswastheRequest
for Laboratory Examination of the drug specimens seized. PO2
Trambulosaidthathewastheonewhobroughtthesaidrequestto
thePNPCrimeLaboratory,alongwiththedrugspecimens.25
P/Insp. Marilyn Dequito, the forensic chemist, testified on the
resultsofherexaminationofthedrugspecimensseizedinthiscase.
She explained that P/Insp. Macario Taduran, Jr. initially examined
the drug specimens but the latter was already assigned to another
office.Theresultsof the examination of P/Insp. Taduran were laid
down in Physical Science Report No. D107198. P/Insp. Dequito
first studied the data contained in Physical Science Report No. D
107198 and retrieved the same from their office. She entered that
fact in their logbook RD1798. She then weighed the drug
specimens and examined the white crystalline substance from each
of the plastic sachets. She examined first the specimens marked as
A1, A2, A3, A4, A5 and A6. P/Insp. Dequitos
examination revealed that the white crystalline substances were
positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride.26 She also examined
the contents of 12 heatsealed transparent plastic sachets that also
containedcrystallinesubstances.The12plasticsachetsweremarked
B1toB12.Thewhitecrystallinepowderinsidethe12plastic
sachets also tested positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride.
P/Insp. Dequitos findings were contained in Physical Science
ReportNo.RD1798.27
The prosecution, thereafter, adduced the following object and
documentaryevidence:(1)photocopiesofthefiveoriginalP500.00
bills28 used as buybust money (Exhibits AE) (2) Request for
LaboratoryExamination29datedApril3,1998

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25Id.,atpp.1921,2729.
26TSN,September15,1998,pp.619.
27Id.,atpp.2126.
28Records,p.177.
29Id.,atpp.178179.

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(Exhibit F) (3) Initial Laboratory Report30 dated April 3, 1998,


stating that the specimen submitted for examination tested positive
for methylamphetamine hydrochloride (Exhibit G) (4) Court
Order31datedSeptember2,1998(ExhibitH)(5)PhysicalSciences
Report No. D10719832 dated April 3, 1998 (Exhibit I) (6) Drug
specimens A1 to A6 (Exhibits JO) (7) Big brown envelope
(Exhibit P) (8) Small white envelope (Exhibit Q) (9) Drug
specimens B1 to B12 (Exhibits RCC) (10) Physical Sciences
Report No. RD179833 (Exhibit DD) (11) Joint Affidavit of
Arrest34(ExhibitEE)(12)Playmoney(ExhibitFF)(13)Booking
Sheet and Arrest Report35 (Exhibit GG) (14) Request for Medical
Examination36 (Exhibit HH) (15) Medico Legal Slip37 of Donald
Vasquez (Exhibit II) and (16) Medico Legal Slip38 of Reynaldo
Siscar(ExhibitJJ).

TheDefensesCase
As expected, the defense belied the prosecutions version of
events.Theappellantsbrief39beforetheCourtofAppealsprovides
a concise summary of the defenses counterstatement of facts.
Accordingtothedefense:
DonaldVasquezwasaregularemployeeoftheNBI,workingasa
Laboratory Aide II at the NBI Forensics Chemistry Division. His
duties at the time included being a subpoena clerk, receiving
chemistry cases as well as requests from different police agencies to
havetheir

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30Id.,atp.180.
31Id.,atp.79.
32Id.,atp.181.
33Id.,atp.182.
34Id.,atpp.46.
35Id.,atp.8.
36Id.,atp.9.
37Id.,atp.10.
38Id.
39CARollo,pp.6678.

92

specimens examined by the chemist. He also rendered day and night


duties, and during regular office hours and in the absence of the
laboratory technician, he would weigh the specimens. As subpoena
clerk,hewouldreceivesubpoenasfromthetrialcourts.Whenthereis
nochemist,hewouldgetaSpecialOrdertotestify,orbringthedrug
specimens,tothecourts.
On 1 April 1998, Donald Vasquez took his examination in
Managerial Statistics between 6:00 to 9:00 oclock p.m. Thereafter,
he took a jeepney and alighted at Stop and Shop at Quiapo. From
there, he took a tricycle to his house, arriving at 9:45 oclock that
evening, where he saw Reynaldo Siscar and Sonny San Diego, the
latteraconfidentialinformantofthenarcoticsagents.
On 3 April 1998, at 1:45 oclock in the morning, Donalds
household help, Anatolia Caredo, who had just arrived from
Antipolothattime,waseatingwhileDonaldwasasleep.Shehearda
knock on the door. Reynaldo Siscar opened the door and thereafter
two (2) men entered, poking guns at Reynaldo. They were followed
bythree(3)others.ThedoortoDonaldsroomwaskickeddownand
theyenteredhisroom.Donald,hearingnoise,wokeuptoseeP/Insp.
Fajardo pointing a gun at him. He saw that there were six (6)
policemensearchinghisroom,pickingupwhattheycouldget.Oneof
them opened a cabinet and got drug specimens in [Donalds]
possession in relation to his work as a laboratory aide. The drugs
came from two (2) cases and marked as DD931303 owned by
Antonio Roxas, and DD965392 owned by SPO4 Emiliano Anonas.
ThedrugspecimencontainedintheenvelopemarkedasDD931303
was intended for presentation on 3 April 1998. Aside from the drug
specimens,thepolicemenalsotookhisjewelry,aVHSplayer,andhis
walletcontainingP2,530.00.
Angelina Arejado, Donalds neighbor, witnessed the policemen
enteringtheapartmentandapprehending

93

Donald and Reynaldo from the apartment terrace.40 (Citations


omitted.)

The defense then offered the following evidence: (1) NBI


Disposition Form41 dated April 3, 1998 (Exhibit 1) (2) Sworn
StatementofIdabelBernabePagulayan42(Exhibit2)(3)Photocopy
ofthebuybustmoney43(Exhibit3)(4)ListofHearings44attended
byDonaldVasquez(Exhibit4)(5)AuthorizationLetter45prepared
byActingDeputyDirectorArturoA.FiguerasdatedMarch27,1998
(Exhibit 5) and (6) List of Evidence46 taken by Donald Vasquez
from19961998(Exhibit6).

TheDecisionoftheRTC
On August 6, 2009, the RTC convicted the appellant of the
crimes charged. The RTC gave more credence to the prosecutions
evidencegiventhatthepresumptionofregularityintheperformance
ofofficialdutyonthepartofthepoliceofficerswasnotovercome.
Thetrialcourtheldthattheappellantdidnotpresentanyevidence
that would show that the police officers in this case were impelled
byanevilmotivetochargehimofveryseriouscrimesandfalsely
testifyagainsthim.Also,thetrialcourtnotedthatthevolumeofthe
shabuinvolvedinthiscasewasconsiderable,i.e.,247.98gramsand
4.03 grams for illegal sale and illegal possession, respectively. To
themindofthetrialcourt,suchfacthelpedtodispelthepossibility
that the drug specimens seized were merely planted by the police
officers.Furthermore,theRTCruledthatthepositivetestimoniesof
thepoliceofficersregarding

_______________
40Id.,atpp.7071.
41Records,p.402.
42Id.,atpp.403405.
43Id.,atp.406.
44Id.,atpp.407411.
45Id.,atp.412.
46Id.,atpp.413420.

94
theillegaldrugpeddlingactivitiesoftheappellantprevailedoverthe
lattersbaredenials.
Assumingforthesakeofargumentthattheappellantwasmerely
framedupbythepolice,thetrialcourtpointedoutthat:

[T]he accused should have reported the said incident to the proper
authorities, or asked help from his Acting Chief [Idabel] Pagulayan
from the NBI to testify and identify in Court the xerox copy of the
Disposition Form which she issued to the accused and the Affidavit
dated April 17, 1998 (xerox copy) executed by her or from Mr.
ArturoA.Figueras,ActingDeputyDirector,TechnicalServicesofthe
NBI to testify and identify the Letter issued by the said Acting
DeputyDirectorinordertocorroborateandstrengthenhistestimony
thathewasindeedauthorizedtokeepinhiscustodythesaidshabuto
be presented or turned over to the Court as evidence, and he should
have filed the proper charges against those police officers who were
responsibleforsuchact.Buttheaccuseddidnotevenbothertodothe
same.Further,thepiecesofevidence(DispositionForm,Affidavitof
[Idabel]PagulayanandLetterdatedMarch27,1998issuedbyActing
Deputy Director) presented by the accused in Court could not be
givenweightandcredenceconsideringthatthesaidpersonswerenot
presented in Court to identify the said documents and that the
prosecution has no opportunity to crossexamine the same, thus, it
hasnoprobativevalue.47

Thetrialcourt,thus,decreed:

WHEREFORE,judgmentisherebyrenderedasfollows:
1.In Crim. Case No. 98164174, finding accused, DONALD
VASQUEZySANDIGAN@DONguiltybeyondreasonabledoubt
ofthecrimeofViolationofSec.

_______________
47CARollo,p.46.
15,Art.IIIinRelationtoSec.2(e),(f),(m),(o),Art.IofR.A.No.
6425andherebysentenceshimtosufferthepenaltyofrelusionperpetuaanda
fineofP5,000,000.00and
2.InCrim.CaseNo.98164175,judgmentisherebyrenderedfinding
the accused, DONALD VASQUEZ y SANDIGAN @ DON guilty beyond
reasonabledoubtofthecrimeofViolationofSec.16,Art.IIIinRelationto
Sec.2(e2)Art.IofR.A.6425asAmendedbyBatasPambansaBilang179
andherebysentenceshimtosufferthepenaltyofSIX(6)MONTHSandONE
(1)DAYtoFOUR(4)YEARSandafineofFOURTHOUSAND(P4,000.00)
PESOS.
Thesubjectshabu(247.98gramsand4.03grams,respectively)are
herebyforfeitedinfavorofthegovernmentandtheBranchClerkofCourtis
herebydirectedtodeliverand/orcausethedeliveryofthesaidshabu to the
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), upon the finality of this
Decision.48

TheJudgmentoftheCourtofAppeals

Onappeal,49theCourtofAppealsaffirmedtheconvictionofthe
appellant.Theappellatecourtruledthattheprosecutionsufficiently
proved the elements of the crimes of illegal sale and illegal
possession of shabu. The testimony of P/Insp. Fajardo on the
conduct of the buybust operation was found to be clear and
categorical. As the appellant failed to adduce any evidence that
tended to prove any ill motive on the part of the police officers to
falsely charge the appellant, the Court of Appeals held that the
presumptionofregularityintheperformanceofofficialdutiesonthe
partofthepoliceofficershadnotbeencontrovertedinthiscase.
ThedispositiveportionoftheCourtofAppealsdecisionstated:

_______________
48Id.,atp.47.
49Id.,atp.50.

96

WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,theinstantappealishereby
DENIED.TheAugust6,2009DecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourt,
Branch 41 of the City of Manila in Criminal Cases No. 98164174
75, finding appellant Donald Vasquez y Sandigan guilty beyond
reasonable doubt for the crimes of Violation of Section 15 and
Section 16, Article III of Republic Act No. 6425 is AFFIRMED
with the MODIFICATION that in Criminal Case No. 98164175,
appellant is hereby sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of
sixmonthsofarrestomayor,asminimum,totwoyears,fourmonths
and one day of prision correccional in its medium period, as
maximum.50

TheRulingoftheCourt
The appellant appealed his case to this Court to once again
impugnhisconvictionontwogrounds:(1)thepurportedillegalityof
thesearchandtheensuingarrestdonebythepoliceofficersand(2)
his supposed authority to possess the illegal drugs seized from
him.51 He argues that the police officers did not have a search
warrant or a warrant of arrest at the time he was arrested. This
occurreddespitethefactthatthepoliceofficersallegedlyhadample
timetosecureawarrantofarrestagainsthim.Inasmuchashisarrest
wasillegal,theappellantaversthattheevidenceobtainedasaresult
thereofwasinadmissibleincourt.Asthecorpusdelictiofthecrime
wasrenderedinadmissible,theappellantpositsthathisguiltwasnot
proven beyond reasonable doubt. Appellant further insists that he
wasabletoprovethathewasauthorizedtokeepthedrugspecimens
inhiscustody,giventhathewasanemployeeoftheNBIForensic
Chemistry Laboratory who was tasked with the duty to bring drug
specimensincourt.
After an assiduous review of the evidence adduced by both
partiestothiscase,weresolvetodenythisappeal.

_______________
50Rollo,p.22.
51Id.,atpp.2426.

97

Attheoutset,theCourtrulesthattheappellantcannolonger
assailthevalidityofhisarrest.WereiteratedinPeoplev.Tampis52
that[a]nyobjection,defectorirregularityattendinganarrestmust
bemadebeforetheaccusedentershispleaonarraignment.Having
failed to move for the quashing of the information against them
before their arraignment, appellants are now estopped from
questioning the legality of their arrest. Any irregularity was cured
upon their voluntary submission to the trial courts jurisdiction.53
Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that the appellant was
caughtinflagrantedelictoofsellingillegaldrugstoanundercover
police officer in a buybust operation. His arrest, thus, falls within
theambitofSection5(a),Rule11354oftheRevised

_______________
52455Phil.371407SCRA582(2003).
53Id.,atp.382p.590.
54Section5,Rule113oftheRevisedRulesofCriminalProcedureprovide:
SEC.5.Arrest without warrant when lawful.A peace officer or a
privatepersonmay,withoutawarrant,arrestaperson:
(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has
committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an
offense
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has
probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or
circumstancesthatthepersontobearrestedhascommitteditand
(c)Whenthepersontobearrestedisaprisonerwhohasescaped
fromapenalestablishmentorplacewhereheisservingfinaljudgment
or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped
whilebeingtransferredfromoneconfinementtoanother.
In cases falling under paragraphs (a) and (b) above, the person arrested
withoutawarrantshallbeforthwithdeliveredtothenearestpolicestationor
jailandshallbeproceededagainstinaccordancewithsection7ofRule112.

98
RulesonCriminalProcedurewhenanarrestmadewithoutwarrant
isdeemedlawful.
Having established the validity of the warrantless arrest in this
case,theCourtholdsthatthewarrantlessseizureoftheillegaldrugs
from the appellant is likewise valid. We held in People v.
Cabugatan55that:

This interdiction against warrantless searches and seizures,


however, is not absolute and such warrantless searches and seizures
have long been deemed permissible by jurisprudence in instances of
(1)searchofmovingvehicles,(2)seizureinplainview,(3)customs
searches, (4) waiver or consented searches, (5) stop and frisk
situations (Terry search), and search incidental to a lawful arrest.
The last includes a valid warrantless arrest, for, while as a rule, an
arrest is considered legitimate [if] effected with a valid warrant of
arrest,theRulesofCourtrecognizepermissiblewarrantlessarrest,to
wit:(1)arrestinflagrantedelicto,(2)arresteffectedinhotpursuit,
and(3)arrestofescapedprisoners.(Citationomitted.)

Thus, the appellant cannot seek exculpation by invoking


belatedlytheinvalidityofhisarrestandthesubsequentsearchupon
hisperson.
Wenowruleonthesubstantivematters.
Tosecureaconvictionforthecrimeofillegalsaleofregulatedor
prohibited drugs, the following elements should be satisfactorily
proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, the object, and the
considerationand(2)thedeliveryofthethingsoldandthepayment
therefor.56AsheldinPeoplev.ChuaTanLee,57inaprosecutionof
illegal sale of drugs, what is material is proof that the accused
peddled illicit drugs, coupled with the presentation in court of the
corpusdelicti.

_______________
55544Phil.468,485515SCRA537,552553(2007).
56Peoplev.Tiu,469Phil.163,173425SCRA207,215(2004).
57457Phil.443,449410SCRA349,354(2003).

99

On the other hand, the elements of illegal possession of drugs


are: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is
identified to be a prohibited drug (2) such possession is not
authorized by law and (3) the accused freely and consciously
possessedthesaiddrug.58
In the case at bar, the testimonies of P/Insp. Fajardo and PO2
Trambulo established that a buybust operation was legitimately
carriedoutintheweehoursofApril3,1998toentraptheappellant.
P/Insp.Fajardo,theposeurbuyer,positivelyidentifiedtheappellant
as the one who sold to her six plastic bags of shabu that were
containedinabigbrownenvelopeforthepriceofP250,000.00.She
likewiseidentifiedthesixplasticbagsofshabu,whichcontainedthe
markings she placed thereon after the same were seized from the
appellant. When subjected to laboratory examination, the white
crystalline powder contained in the plastic bags tested positive for
shabu. We find that P/Insp. Fajardos testimony on the events that
transpiredduringtheconductofthebuybustoperationwasdetailed
andstraightforward.Shewasalsoconsistentandunwaveringinher
narration even in the face of the opposing counsels cross
examination.
Apartfromherdescriptionoftheeventsthatledtotheexchange
of the drug specimens seized and the buybust money, P/Insp.
Fajardo further testified as to the recovery from the appellant of
another 12 pieces of plastic sachets of shabu. After the latter was
arrested,P/Insp.FajardostatedthatPO2Trambuloconductedabody
search on the appellant. This search resulted to the confiscation of
12 more plastic sachets, the contents of which also tested positive
forshabu.ThetestimonyofP/Insp.Fajardowasamplycorroborated
by PO2 Trambulo, whose own account dovetailed the formers
narrationofevents.Bothpoliceofficersalsoidentifiedincourtthe

_______________
58Peoplev.TingUy,430Phil.516,530380SCRA700,713(2002).

100

twelve plastic sachets of shabu that were confiscated from the


appellant.
InPeoplev.TingUy,59theCourtexplainsthatcredenceshall
be given to the narration of the incident by prosecution witnesses
especially so when they are police officers who are presumed to
have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there be
evidencetothecontrary.Intheinstantcase,theappellantfailedto
ascribe,muchlesssatisfactorilyprove,anyimpropermotiveonthe
part of the prosecution witnesses as to why they would falsely
incriminatehim.Theappellanthimselfeventestifiedthat,notonly
didhenothaveanymisunderstandingwithP/Insp.FajardoandPO2
Trambulopriortohisarrest,heinfactdidnotknowthematall.60In
the absence of evidence of such ill motive, none is presumed to
exist.61
The records of this case are also silent as to any measures
undertakenbytheappellanttocriminallyoradministrativelycharge
thepoliceofficershereinforfalselyframinghimupforsellingand
possessing illegal drugs. Such a move would not have been a
daunting task for the appellant under the circumstances. Being a
regularemployeeoftheNBI,theappellantcouldhaveeasilysought
thehelpofhisimmediatesupervisorsand/orthechiefofhisofficeto
extricate him from his predicament. Instead, what the appellant
offered in evidence were mere photocopies of documents that
supposedly showed that he was authorized to keep drug specimens
in his custody. That the original documents and the testimonies of
thesignatoriesthereofwerenotatallpresentedincourtdidnothing
tohelptheappellantscase.TothemindoftheCourt,theevidence
offered by the appellant failed to persuade amid the positive and
categoricaltestimoniesofthearrestingoffi

_______________
59Id.,atp.526p.709.
60TSN,September20,2001,p.53.
61Peoplev.ButchBucaoLee,407Phil.250,260354SCRA745,753(2001).

101

cersthattheappellantwascaughtredhandedsellingandpossessing
aconsiderableamountofprohibiteddrugsonthenightofthebuy
bustoperation.
Itisapropostoreiterateherethatwherethereisnoshowing
thatthetrialcourtoverlookedormisinterpretedsomematerialfacts
orthatitgravelyabuseditsdiscretion,theCourtwillnotdisturbthe
trial courts assessment of the facts and the credibility of the
witnessessincetheRTCwasinabetterpositiontoassessandweigh
the evidence presented during trial. Settled too is the rule that the
factual findings of the appellate court sustaining those of the trial
courtarebindingonthisCourt,unlessthereisaclearshowingthat
such findings are tainted with arbitrariness, capriciousness or
palpableerror.62
On the basis of the foregoing, the Court is convinced that the
prosecution was able to establish the guilt of the appellant of the
crimescharged.

ThePenalties
Anenttheproperimposablepenalties,Section15andSection16,
ArticleIII,inrelationtoSection20(3)ofRepublicActNo.6425,as
amendedbyRepublicActNo.7659,state:

SEC.15.Sale, Administration, Dispensation, Delivery,


Transportation and Distribution of Regulated Drugs.The penalty
of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five
hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed
upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, dispense,
deliver,transportordistributeanyregulateddrug.
Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 20 of this Act to the
contrary,ifthevictimoftheoffenseisaminor,


_______________
62Peoplev.Musa,G.R.No.199735,October24,2012,684SCRA622,634.

102

orshouldaregulateddruginvolvedinanyoffenseunderthisSection
betheproximatecauseofthedeathofavictimthereof,themaximum
penaltyhereinprovidedshallbeimposed.
SEC.16.PossessionorUseofRegulatedDrugs.Thepenalty
of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five
hundredthousandpesostotenmillionpesosshallbeimposedupon
any person who shall possess or use any regulated drug without the
corresponding license or prescription, subject to the provisions of
Section20hereof.
SEC.20.ApplicationofPenalties,ConfiscationandForfeiture
of the Proceeds or Instruments of the Crime.The penalties for
offensesunderSections3,4,7,8and9ofArticleIIandSections14,
14A, 15 and 16 of Article III of this Act shall be applied if the
dangerousdrugsinvolvedisinanyofthefollowingquantities:
1.40gramsormoreofopium
2.40gramsormoreofmorphine
3.200gramsormoreofshabuormethylamphetamine
hydrochloride
4.40gramsormoreofheroin
5.750gramsormoreofIndianhempormarijuana
6.50gramsormoreofmarijuanaresinormarijuanaresin
oil
7.40gramsormoreofcocaineorcocainehydrochloride
or
8.In the case of other dangerous drugs, the quantity of
which is far beyond therapeutic requirements, as determined
and promulgated by the Dangerous Drugs Board, after public
consultations/hearingsconductedforthepurpose.
Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing
quantities, the penalty shall range from prision correccional to
reclusion perpetua depending upon the quantity. (Emphases
supplied.)

103

In Criminal Case No. 98164174 involving the crime of illegal


saleofregulateddrugs,theappellantwasfoundtohavesoldtothe
poseurbuyer in this case a total of 247.98 grams of shabu, which
amountismorethantheminimumof200gramsrequiredbythelaw
for the imposition of either reclusion perpetua or, if there be
aggravatingcircumstances,thedeathpenalty.
Pertinently,Article6363oftheRevisedPenalCodemandatesthat
when the law prescribes a penalty composed of two indivisible
penalties and there are neither mitigating nor aggravating
circumstances in the commission of the crime, the lesser penalty
shallbeapplied.Thus,inthiscase,consideringthatnomitigatingor
aggravatingcircumstancesat

_______________
63Article63oftheRevisedPenalCodestates:
ART.63.Rulesfortheapplicationofindivisiblepenalties.Inallcases
inwhichthelawprescribesasingleindivisiblepenalty,itshallbeappliedby
thecourtsregardlessofanymitigatingoraggravatingcircumstancesthatmay
haveattendedthecommissionofthedeed.
In all cases in which the law prescribes a penalty composed of two
indivisiblepenalties,thefollowingrulesshallbeobservedintheapplication
thereof:
1. When in the commission of the deed there is present only one
aggravatingcircumstance,thegreaterpenaltyshallbeapplied.
2.Whenthereareneithermitigatingnoraggravatingcircumstances
inthecommissionofthedeed,thelesserpenaltyshallbeapplied.
3.Whenthecommissionoftheactisattendedbysomemitigating
circumstance and there is no aggravating circumstance, the lesser
penaltyshallbeapplied.
4. When both mitigating and aggravating circumstances attended
thecommissionoftheact,thecourtsshallreasonablyallowthemto
offsetoneanotherinconsiderationoftheirnumberandimportance,for
thepurposeofapplyingthepenaltyinaccordancewiththepreceding
rules,accordingtotheresultofsuchcompensation.

104

tendedtheappellantsviolationofSection15,ArticleIIIofRepublic
ActNo.6425,asamended,theCourtofAppealscorrectlyaffirmed
thetrialcourtsimpositionofreclusionperpetua.TheP5,000,000.00
fine imposed by the RTC on the appellant is also in accord with
Section15,ArticleIIIofRepublicActNo.6425,asamended.
As to the charge of illegal possession of regulated drugs in
Criminal Case No. 98164175, the Court of Appeals properly
invoked our ruling in People v. Tira64 in determining the proper
imposablepenalty.Indeed,weheldinTirathat:

Under Section 16, Article III of Rep. Act No. 6425, as amended,
theimposablepenaltyofpossessionofaregulateddrug,lessthan200
grams, in this case, shabu, is prision correccional to reclusion
perpetua. Based on the quantity of the regulated drug subject of the
offense,theimposablepenaltyshallbeasfollows:

QUANTITY IMPOSABLEPENALTY
Lessthanone(1)gramto49.25grams prisioncorreccional
49.26gramsto98.50grams prisionmayor
98.51gramsto147.75grams reclusiontemporal
147.76gramsto199grams reclusionperpetua
(Emphasesours.)

Giventhattheadditional12plasticsachetsofshabufoundinthe
possessionoftheappellantamountedto4.03grams,theimposable
penalty for the crime is prision correccional. Applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, there being no aggravating or
mitigating circumstance in this case, the imposable penalty on the
appellant should be the indeterminate sentence of six months of
arrestomayor,asminimum,tofouryearsandtwomonthsofprision
correccional,asmaximum.

_______________
64G.R.No.139615,May28,2004,430SCRA134,155.

105

ThepenaltyimposedbytheCourtofAppeals,thus,fallswithinthe
range of the proper imposable penalty. In Criminal Case No. 98
164175, no fine is imposable considering that in Republic Act No.
6425, as amended, a fine can be imposed as a conjunctive penalty
onlyifthepenaltyisreclusionperpetuatodeath.65
Incidentally, the Court notes that both parties in this case
admitted that the appellant was a regular employee of the NBI
ForensicsChemistryDivision.Suchfact,however,cannotbetaken
into consideration to increase the penalties in this case to the
maximum,inaccordancewithSection24ofRepublicActNo.6425,
asamended.66Suchaspecialaggravatingcircumstance,i.e.,onethat
whicharisesunderspecialconditionstoincreasethepenaltyforthe
offensetoitsmaximumperiod,67wasnotallegedandchargedinthe
informations.Thus,thesamewasproperlydisregardedbythelower
courts.

_______________
65Peoplev.Simon,G.R.No.93028,July29,1994,234SCRA555,573.
66Section24ofRepublicActNo.6425,asamendedbySection19ofRepublicAct
No.7659,states:
SEC. 24.Penalties for Government Officials and Employees and
OfficersandMembersofPoliceAgenciesandtheArmedForcesPlantingof
Evidence.ThemaximumpenaltiesprovidedforinSections3,4(1),5(1),6,7,
8,9,11,12and13ofArticleIIandSections14,14A,15(1),15A(1),16and19
ofArticleIIIshallbeimposed,ifthosefoundguiltyofanyofthesaidoffenses
aregovernmentofficials,employeesorofficersincludingmembersofpolice
agenciesandthearmedforces.
Any such above government official, employee or officer who is found
guiltyofplantinganydangerousdrugspunishedinSections3,4,7,8,9and
13ofArticleIIandSections14,14A,15and16ofArticleIIIofthisActinthe
person or in the immediate vicinity of another as evidence to implicate the
latter,shallsufferthesamepenaltyasthereinprovided.
67Palaganasv.People,533Phil.169,196501SCRA533,557(2006).

106

Alltold,theCourtfindsnoreasontooverturntheconvictionof
theappellant.
WHEREFORE, the Court of Appeals Decision dated May 31,
2011inCAG.R.CR.H.C.No.04201isAFFIRMED.Nocosts.
SOORDERED.

Sereno (CJ., Chairperson), Bersamin, Del Castillo** and


Villarama,Jr.,JJ.,concur.

Judgementaffirmed.

Notes.Anyobjectiontothelegalityofthesearchwarrantand
the admissibility of the evidence obtained thereby was deemed
waived when no objection was raised by appellant during trial.
(Peoplevs.Nuez,591SCRA394[2009])
The following are the instances when a warrantless search is
allowed: (i) a warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest (ii)
searchofevidencein"plainview"(iii)searchofamovingvehicle
(iv) consented warrantless search (v) customs search (vi) a "stop
and frisk" search and (vii) exigent and emergency circumtances.
(Luzvs.People,667SCRA421[2012])
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