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SPECIAL PENAL LAWS

THE ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT

Essential elements of the crime .The Information sufficiently specified the


offense that violated Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019, the essential elements of which are as
follows: 1. The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or
official functions; 2. The accused must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad
faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and 3. The action of the accused caused undue
injury to any party, including the government, or gave any private party unwarranted
benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of the functions of the accused. The
Information is sufficient, because it adequately describes the nature and cause of the
accusation against petitioners, namely the violation of the aforementioned law. The use of
the three phrases — “manifest partiality,” “evident bad faith” and “inexcusable
negligence” — in the same Information does not mean that three distinct offenses were
thereby charged but only implied that the offense charged may have been committed
through any of the modes provided by the law. In addition, there was no inconsistency in
alleging both the presence of conspiracy and gross inexcusable negligence, because the
latter was not simple negligence. Rather, the negligence involved a willful, intentional,
and conscious indifference to the consequences of one’s actions or omissions.( Bacasmas
vs. Sandiganbayan, 701 SCRA 35, G.R. Nos. 189343/189369/189553, July 10, 2013,
Sereno, CJ.:)

Essential elements of the crime .For accused to be found liable under Section
3(e) of RA 3019, the following elements must concur:

1) The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official


functions;
2) He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable
negligence;and
3) That his action caused undue injury to any party, including the government, or giving
any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his
functions.

It bears to reiterate the settled rule that private persons, when acting in conspiracy
with public officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the pertinent
offenses under Section 3 of R.A. 3019, in consonance with the avowed policy of the anti-
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graft law to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike constituting
graft or corrupt practices act or which may lead thereto. This is the controlling doctrine as
enunciated by this Court in previous cases.( Edelbert C. Uybocovs People, G.R. No.
211703, December 10, 2014, Velasco Jr., J.:)

Penalties provided under this law .The essential elements of the crime defined
in Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019, otherwise known as The Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act, are: 1. The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative,
judicial or official functions; 2. He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad
faith or inexcusable negligence; and 3. That his action caused any undue injury to any
party, including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted benefits,
advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.

Any person guilty of violating Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 is punishable with
imprisonment for not less than six (6) years and one (1) month nor more than fifteen (15)
years and perpetual disqualification from public office. Thus, the penalty imposed by the
Sandiganbayan which is an indeterminate penalty of nine (9) years and one day as
minimum and twelve (12) years as maximum, with the accessory penalty of perpetual
disqualification from public office, is in accord with law. Petitioners shall also indemnify
the Government of the Republic of the Philippines the amount of THREE HUNDRED
THIRTY SIX THOUSAND PESOS (P336,000.00) representing the
compensation/salaries paid to Dr. Posadas as TMC Project Director. As to the offense
defined in Section 7(b) of R.A. No. 6713, Section 11 of said law provides that violations
of Section 7 shall be punishable with imprisonment not exceeding five (5) years, or a fine
not exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000), or both, and, in the discretion of the court,
disqualification to hold public office. The Sandiganbayan imposed the maximum penalty
of five (5) years imprisonment and disqualification to hold public office.( Posadas and
Dayco vs. Sandiganbayan, 701 SCRA 403, G.R. Nos. 168651 & 169000, July 17, 2013,
Villarama, Jr., J.)

Good faith of heads of offices in signing a document. In the present case,


petitioner is solely charged with violating Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019. He is being held
liable for gross and inexcusable negligence in performing the duties primarily vested in
him by law, resulting in undue injury to private complainant. The good faith of heads of
offices in signing a document will only be appreciated if they, with trust and confidence,
have relied on their subordinates in whom the duty is primarily lodged. Moreover, the
undue injury to private complainant was established. The cutting down of her palm trees
and the construction of the canal were all done without her approval and consent. As a
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result, she lost income from the sale of the palm leaves. She also lost control and use of a
part of her land. The damage to private complainant did not end with the canal’s
construction. Informal settlers dirtied her private property by using the canal constructed
thereon as their lavatory, washroom, and waste disposal site.( Sanchez vs. People ,703
SCRA 586, G.R. No. 187340, August 14, 2013,Sereno, CJ.)

Evidentiary substantiation of the allegations of ill-gotten wealth. Evidentiary


substantiation of the allegations of how the wealth was illegally acquired and by whom
was necessary. For that purpose, the mere holding of a position in the Marcos
administration did not necessarily make the holder a close associate within the context of
E.O. No. 1. According to Republic v. Migriño, 189 SCRA 289 (1990), the term
subordinate as used in E.O. No. 1 and E.O. No. 2 referred to a person who enjoyed a
close association with President Marcos and/or his wife similar to that of an immediate
family member, relative, and close associate, or to that of a close relative, business
associate, dummy, agent, or nominee. Indeed, a prima facie showing must be made to
show that one unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of a close association or relation
with President Marcos and/or his wife. It would not suffice, then, that one served during
the administration of President Marcos as a government official or employee.

It is true that the recovery of ill-gotten wealth should be relentlessly pursued. But
the pursuit should not be mindless as to be oppressive towards anyone. Due process
requires that there be sufficient competent evidence of the asset being ill-gotten wealth,
and of the person or persons charged with the illegal acquisition of ill-gotten wealth being
a close associate or subordinate of the Marcoses who took advantage of such ties with the
Marcoses to enrich themselves. In that effort, the Republic carries the heavy burden of
proof, and must discharge such burden fully; otherwise, the effort would fail and fall.
(Republic vs. Bakunawa, 704 SCRA 163, G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013,Bersamin,
J.:)

Manifest partiality, Evident bad faith and Gross inexcusable negligence


explained Section 3(e) of Republic Act 3019, provides: Section 3. Corrupt practices of
public officers. - In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by
existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are
hereby declared to be unlawful:
x xxx

(e) Causing any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving
any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of
his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad
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faith or gross inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and
employees of offices or government corporations charged with the grant of licenses or
permits or other concessions.

For the afore cited provision to lie against the petitioner, the following elements
must concur:

1) The accused must be a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or


official functions;

2) He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence; and

3) That his action caused undue injury to any party, including the government, or
giving any private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of
his functions.

We focus on the next elements, there being no dispute that the first element of the
offense is present. The second element provides the different modes by which the crime
may be committed, that is, through “manifest partiality,” “evident bad faith,” or “gross
inexcusable negligence.”InUriarte v. People, this Court explained that Section 3(e) of RA
3019 may be committed either by dolo, as when the accused acted with evident bad faith
or manifest partiality, or by culpa, as when the accused committed gross inexcusable
negligence. There is “manifest partiality” when there is clear, notorious, or plain
inclination or predilection to favor one side or person rather than another. “Evident bad
faith” connotes not only bad judgment but also palpably and patently fraudulent and
dishonest purpose to do moral obliquity or conscious wrongdoing for some perverse
motive or ill will. ”Evident bad faith” contemplates a state of mind affirmatively
operating with furtive design or with some motive of self-interest or ill will or for ulterior
purposes. “Gross inexcusable negligence” refers to negligence characterized by the want
of even the slightest care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty
toact, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally, with conscious indifference to
consequences insofar as other persons may be affected. (JOVITO C. PLAMERAS versus
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,G.R. No. 187268, September 4,2013,
PEREZ, J.:)
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When can private persons be charged .For one to be successfully prosecuted


under Section 3(g) of RA 3019, the following elements must be proven: “1) the accused
is a public officer; 2) the public officer entered into a contract or transaction on behalf of
the government; and 3) the contract or transaction was grossly and manifestly
disadvantageous to the government.”However, private persons may likewise be charged
with violation of Section 3(g) of RA 3019 if they conspired with the public officer. Thus,
“if there is an allegation of conspiracy, a private person may be held liable together with
the public officer, in consonance with the avowed policy of the AntiGraft and Corrupt
Practices Act which is ‘to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike
which may constitute graft or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto.’”

Based on the evidence presented, the Sandiganbayan was convinced that all three
elements of Section 3(g), RA 3019 were satisfactorily established. It found that PNB and
ISI entered into several contracts or loan transactions. The Sandiganbayan also assessed
that petitioner conspired with his co-accused in defrauding the government considering
“(1) the frequency of the loans or closeness of the dates at which they were granted; (2)
the quantity of the loans granted; (3) the failure of the bank to verify and to take any
action on the failure of ISI to put up additional capitalization and additional collaterals ;
and (4) the eventual absence of any action by the Bank to collect full payment from ISI.”
(GREGORIO SING IAN, JR. versus SANDIGANBAY AN (3RD DIVISION),THE
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,G.R. Nos.195011-19, September 30, 2013,DEL
CASTILLO, J.:)

Contract and transaction explained. Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices; Section 3


(b) of Republic Act No. 3019, which punished any public officer for “directly or
indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for
himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between
the Government and any other party, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has
to intervene under the law.”—In its questioned resolution dismissing Criminal Case No.
SB-08-CRM-0265, the Sandiganbayan relied on the ruling in Soriano, Jr. v.
Sandiganbayan, 131 SCRA 184 (1984), in which the principal issue was whether or not
the preliminary investigation of a criminal complaint conducted by petitioner Soriano, Jr.,
then a Fiscal, was a “contract or transaction” as to bring the complaint within the ambit of
Section 3 (b) of Republic Act No. 3019, which punished any public officer for “[d]irectly
or indirectly requesting or receiving any gift, present, share, percentage, or benefit, for
himself or for any other person, in connection with any contract or transaction between
the Government and any other party, wherein the public officer in his official capacity has
to intervene under the law.” The Soriano, Jr. Court ruled in the negative, and pronounced:
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It is obvious that the investigation conducted by the petitioner was not a contract. Neither
was it a transaction because this term must be construed as analogous to the term which
precedes it. A transaction, like a contract, is one which involves some consideration as in
credit transactions and this element (consideration) is absent in the investigation
conducted by the petitioner. In the light of the foregoing, we agree with the petitioner that
it was error for the Sandiganbayan to have convicted him of violating Sec. 3 (b) of R.A.
No. 3019. (People vs. Sandiganbayan,G.R. No. 188165/G.R. No. 189063 December 11,
2013,Bersamin, J.)

When an act is considered an offense even in the absence of bad faith


.Coloma was charged with the crime of violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 which
has the following essential elements: (a) the accused must be a public officer discharging
administrative, judicial or official functions; (b) he must have acted with manifest
partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and (c) his action caused any
undue injury to any party, including the government, or gave any private party
unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.

“Partiality” is synonymous with “bias” which “excites a disposition to see and


report matters as they are wished for rather than as they are.” “Bad faith does not simply
connote bad judgment or negligence; it imputes a dishonest purpose or some moral
obliquity and conscious doing of a wrong; a breach of sworn duty through some motive
or intent or ill will; it partakes of the nature of fraud.” “Gross negligence has been so
defined as negligence characterized by the want of even slight care, acting or omitting to
act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but wilfully and
intentionally with a conscious indifference to consequences in so far as other persons may
be affected. It is the omission of that care which even inattentive and thoughtless men
never fail to take on their own property.”

Notably, the offense defined under Section 3 (e) of R.A. No. 3019 may be
committed even if bad faith is not attendant. Thus, even assuming for the sake of
argument that Coloma did not act in bad faith in rendering his report, his negligence
under the circumstances was not only gross but also inexcusable. Again, it was clearly
established that the degree of his involvement in the project may not excuse his ignorance
of the realistic progress of RTS 9. He should have exercised care in his declaration in the
report, especially because he had the duty to oversee the development of the project.

In a catena of cases, the Court has held that there are two ways by which a public
official violates Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019 in the performance of his functions,
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namely: (1) by causing undue injury to any party, including the Government; or (2) by
giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference. The accused
may be charged under either mode or both. The disjunctive term “or” connotes that either
act qualifies as a violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No. 3019. In other words, the presence
of one would suffice for conviction. Further, the term “undue injury” in the context of
Section 3(e) of the R.A. No. 3019 punishing the act of “causing undue injury to any
party,” has a meaning akin to that civil law concept of “actual damage.” Actual damage,
in the context of these definitions, is akin to that in civil law.( Coloma vs.
Sandiganbayan,G.R. No. 205561, September 24, 2014,Mendoza, J.:)

Two ways to violate Section 3.There are two ways by which Section 3(e) of R.A.
No. 3019 may be violated- first by causing undue injury to any party, including the
Government and second, by giving any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage
of preference. Although neither mode constitutes a distinct offense, an accused may be
charged under either mode or both. In the amended information, the prosecution charged
him for both. A perusal of the same simply yields no other conclusion the Valencerina,
together with the other accused, was charged with violation of Section 3(e) of R.A. No.
3019 for “willfully, unlawfully and criminally, with evident bad faith and manifest
partiality, participating, or contributing to the release or issuance of Surety Bond GIF NO.
029132xxxx hereby affording unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to Ecobel
Land incorporated.” (Alex M. Valencerinavs People,G.R. No. 206162, December 10,
2014,Mendoza, J.:)

THE COMPREHENSIVE DANGEROUS ACT OF 2002

The dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the
offense.While it is hornbook doctrine that the evaluation of the trial court on the
credibility of the witness and the testimony is entitled to great weight and is generally not
disturbed upon appeal, such rule does not apply when the trial court overlooked,
misapprehended, or misapplied facts of weight or substance that would point to a
different conclusion. In the instant case, these circumstances are present, that, when
properly appreciated, would warrant the acquittal of the accused.

As we held in Zafra v. People: Prosecutions for illegal possession of prohibited


drugs necessitates that the elemental act of possession of a prohibited substance be
established with moral certainty. The dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus
delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to a judgment of conviction.
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Essential therefore in these cases is that the identity of the prohibited drug be established
beyond doubt. Be that as it may, the mere fact of unauthorized possession will not suffice
to create in a reasonable mind the moral certainty required to sustain a finding of guilt.
More than just the fact of possession, the fact that the substance illegally possessed in the
first place is the same substance offered in court as exhibit must also be established with
the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. The chain of
custody requirement performs this function in that it ensures that unnecessary doubts
concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. (People of the Philippines vs.
Gloria Calubres y Auditor,G.R. No. 194382 June 10, 2013,PEREZ, J.)

The identity of the prohibited drug must be established. To secure conviction


for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the identity of the prohibited drug seized from the
accused must be proved with moral certainty. The prosecution must establish with such
measure of certitude that the substance bought or seized during the buy-bust operation is
the same substance offered as evidence in court. Proof of the chain of custody from the
time of seizure to the time such evidence is presented in court ensures the absence of
doubt concerning the integrity of such vital evidence. This requires as a minimum that the
police mark the seized item (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator and (2)
immediately upon confiscation.( People vs. Palomares,G.R. No. 200915, February 12,
2014)

Essential elements of illegal sale. The elements necessary for the prosecution of
the illegal sale of drugs are as follows: (a) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the
object and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and payment therefor.

The prosecution, to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, must present inevidence
the corpus delicti of the case. The corpus delicti is the seized illegal drugs. The duty of
the prosecution is not merely to present in evidence the seized illegal drugs. It is essential
that the illegal drugs seized from the suspect is the very same substance offered in
evidence in court as the identity of the drug must be established with the same
unwavering exactitude as that required to make a finding of guilt. (People vs.
Amante,G.R. No. 190177, June 11, 2014,Perez, J.:)

Essential elements of illegal sale. In this case, the prosecution failed to prove
that each and every element that constitutes an illegal sale of dangerous drug was present
to convict the accused. Upon evaluation of the testimonies of PO1 Familara and PO1
Mendoza, it is apparent that there is an inconsistency on the identity and number of
plastic sachets bought from the accused. In his statement, PO1 Familara recalled that
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upon arrival at the place of arrest, PO1 Mendoza told him that he was able to buy one
plastic sachet of shabu from Guinto. On the other hand, PO1 Mendoza recalled that he
was able to buy two plastic sachets instead of one. The pointed inconsistency is not a
minor one that can be brushed aside as the discrepancy taints the very corpus deliciti of
the crime of illegal sale. A vital point of contention, the prosecution’s evidence places in
reasonable doubt the identification of the dangerous drug that was presented in court.

In People v. Roble, the Court ruled that generally, the evaluation of the trial court
of the credibility of the witnesses and their testimonies is entitled to great weight and
generally not disturbed upon appeal. However, such rule does not apply when the trial
court has overlooked, misapprehended, or misapplied any fact of weight or substance. In
this present case, the contradictions, numerous and material, warrant the acquittal of
accused-appellant.

In People v. Unisa this Court held that “in cases involving violations of the
Dangerous Drug Act, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who are police officers
for they are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is
evidence to the contrary suggesting ill-motive on the part of the police officers.” (People
vs. Guinto,G.R. No. 198314, September 24, 2014,Perez, J.:)

Essential elements of illegal sale. In the prosecution for the crime of illegal sale
of prohibited drugs, the following elements must concur: (1) the identities of the buyer
and seller, object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment thereof. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is
the proof that the transaction or sale actually occurred, coupled with the presentation in
court of the substance seized as evidence.

With respect to illegal possession of dangerous drugs, its elements are the
following: (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 possessed the said drug. Possession of dangerous drugs constitutes prima
facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused in the
absence of a satisfactory explanation of such possession.

The Court will not disturb the weight and credence accorded by the trial court to
witnesses’ testimonies, especially when affirmed by the Court of Appeals. As the Court
explained in People v. Naelga:
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At the outset, it should be pointed out that prosecutions involving illegal drugs
largely depend on the credibility of the police officers who conducted the buy-bust
operation. Considering that this Court has access only to the cold and impersonal records
of the proceedings, it generally relies upon the assessment of the trial court. This Court
will not interfere with the trial court’s assessment of the credibility of witnesses except
when there appears on record some fact or circumstance of weight and influence which
the trial court has overlooked, misapprehended, or misinterpreted. This rule is consistent
with the reality that the trial court is in a better position to decide the question, having
heard the witnesses themselves and observed their deportment and manner of testifying
during the trial. Thus, factual findings of the trial court, its calibration of the testimonies
of the witnesses, and its conclusions anchored on its findings are accorded by the
appellate court high respect, if not conclusive effect, more so when affirmed by the Court
of Appeals, as in this case.

The testimonies of police officers who conducted the buy-bust are generally
accorded full faith and credit, in view of the presumption of regularity in the performance
of public duties. Hence, when lined against an unsubstantiated denial or claim of frame-
up, the testimony of the officers who caught the accused red-handed is given more weight
and usually prevails. In order to overcome the presumption of regularity, there must be
clear and convincing evidence that the police officers did not properly perform their
duties or that they were prompted with ill motive, none of which exists in this case.
(People of the Philippines vs. Mercidita Resurreccion y Torres,G.R. No. 188310 June
13, 2013,LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.)

Essential elements of illegal sale. It is significant to reiterate and emphasize that


the elements necessary for the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs, like shabu, were
convincingly established. These are: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object
and consideration, and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.

What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof
that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of
evidence of corpus delicti.

Accused-appellant alleged that the trial court erred in appreciating the evidence
presented by the prosecution as they were seized as a result of an unlawful arrest. She
insists that a valid warrant should have been secured first before they proceeded to arrest
her.
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This argument is totally faulty and is without even an iota of credibility. The
warrantless arrest conducted on accused-appellant was valid. Section 5, Rule 113 of the
Rules of Criminal Procedure enumerates the situations when a person may be arrested
without a warrant, thus:

"SEC. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. - A peace officer or a private


person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(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 circumstances that the person to be
arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal
establishment or place where he is serving final judgement or is temporarily
confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from
one confinement to another."

Paragraph (a) of Section 5, is commonly known as an in flagrante delicto arrest.


For a warrantless arrest of an accused caught in flagrante delicto to be valid, two
requisites must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating
that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime;
and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer.
In the instant case, the prosecution completely and fully established that accused-
appellant was arrested in flagrante delicto. (People of the Philippines vs. Monica
Mendoza y Trinidad,G.R. No. 191267 June 26, 2013,PEREZ, J.)

Essential elements of illegal sale.For the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs to


prosper, the following elements must be proved: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller,
the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and its payment.
What is material is the proof that the transaction actually took place, coupled with the
presentation before the court of the prohibited or regulated drug or the corpus delicti.
(People vs. Blanco,703 SCRA 597, G.R. No. 193661, August 14, 2013,Perez, J.:)

Essential elements of illegal sale. We held in People v. Hernandez, 589 SCRA


625 (2009) that “to secure a conviction for illegal sale of shabu, the following essential
elements must be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the
sale and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
thereof.” Furthermore, we explained in People v. Denoman, 596 SCRA 257 (2009) that: A
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successful prosecution for the sale of illegal drugs requires more than the perfunctory
presentation of evidence establishing each element of the crime: the identities of the
buyer and seller, the transaction or sale of the illegal drug and the existence of the corpus
delicti. In securing or sustaining a conviction under RA No. 9165, the intrinsic worth of
these pieces of evidence, especially the identity and integrity of the corpus delicti, must
definitely be shown to have been preserved. This requirement necessarily arises from the
illegal drug’s unique characteristic that renders it indistinct, not readily identifiable, and
easily open to tampering, alteration or substitution either by accident or otherwise. Thus,
to remove any doubt or uncertainty on the identity and integrity of the seized drug,
evidence must definitely show that the illegal drug presented in court is the same illegal
drug actually recovered from the accused-appellant; otherwise, the prosecution for
possession or for drug pushing under RA No. 9165 fails.

The Court also cautioned in People v. Roble, 647 SCRA 593 (2011), that “[w]hile
a buy-bust operation is legal and has been proved to be an effective method of
apprehending drug peddlers, due regard to constitutional and legal safeguards must be
undertaken. It is the duty of the Courts to ascertain if the operation was subject to any
police abuse.” Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and Section
21(a), Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9165
provide the procedural guidelines that police officers must observe in the handling of
seized illegal drugs in order to ensure the preservation of the identity and integrity
thereof.

In view of the evident breaks in the chain of custody, very serious doubts arise as
to the identity of the seized illegal drugs in this case. Apparently, there can be no absolute
certainty if the sachets of shabu seized from the informant were the very same drugs
handed by accused-appellant, or, later on, the same drugs transmitted to the crime
laboratory and eventually presented before the trial court. (People vs. Pepino-
Consulta,704 SCRA 276, G.R. No. 191071, August 28, 2013,Leonardo-De Castro, J.:)

Essential elements of illegal sale. In the prosecution for the crime of illegal sale
of prohibited drugs, the following elements must concur: (1) the identities of the buyer
and seller, object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment thereof. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs
is the proof that the transaction or sale actually occurred, coupled with the presentation
in court of the substance seized as evidence. (People vs. Gani,G.R. No. 198318
November 27, 2013,Leonardo-De Castro, J.)
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Essential elements of illegal sale. People v. Hernandez, 589 SCRA 625 (2009),
teaches that “[t]o secure a conviction for illegal sale of shabu, the following essential
elements must be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the
sale and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
thereof.” People v. Nicolas, 515 SCRA 187 (2007), adds that “[w]hat is material to the
prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale
actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti.”

Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and Section 21(a),
Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 9165 provide
the procedural guidelines that police officers must observe in the proper handling of
seized illegal drugs in order to ensure the preservation of the identity and integrity
thereof. (People vs. Santos,G.R. No. 193190, November 13, 2013,Leonardo-De Castro,
J.: )

Essential elements of illegal sale. To secure a conviction for the crime of illegal
sale of regulated or prohibited drugs, the following elements should be satisfactorily
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, 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 corpus delicti." 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 possessed
the said drug. (People vs. Vasquez,G.R. No. 200304, January 15, 2014,Leonardo-De
Castro, J.:)

Essential elements of illegal sale. Illegal sale of prohibited drugs is


consummated at the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. In a buy-bust
operation, the crime is consummated when the police officer makes an offer to buy that is
accepted by the accused, and there is an ensuing exchange between them involving the
delivery of the dangerous drugs to the police officer. In order to successfully prosecute
the offense, proof beyond reasonable doubt of two elements must be satisfied by the
prosecution, viz: (a) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the identity of the object and
the consideration of the sale; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and of the payment for
the thing. (People vs. Valdez,G.R. No. 205202, June 9, 2014,Reyes, J.:)
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Essential elements of illegal sale. In a charge of illegal sale of shabu, the


prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt: (a) the identity of the buyer and the
seller, (b) the identity of the object and the consideration of the sale; and (c) the delivery
of the thing sold and of the payment made. What assumes primary importance is the
proof clearly showing that an illegal transaction actually took place, and the presentation
in court of what was sold as evidence of the corpus delicti.

In convicting an accused for drug-related offenses, it is essential that the identity


of the drugs must be established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to
make a finding of guilt. In this case, we see no irregularity on the part of the buy-bust
operatives as to break the required chain of custody which could warrant the acquittal of
Lai.
The existence of the drug is the corpus delicti of the crime of illegal possession of
dangerous drugs and is an essential element to secure a conviction. It is on this point that
all doubts on the identity of the evidence should be removed through the monitoring and
tracking of the movement of the seized drugs from the accused, to the police, to the
forensic chemist, and finally to the court.

We have held that prior surveillance is not necessary to render a buy-bust


operation legitimate, especially when the buy-bust team is accompanied at the target area
by the informant. Similarly, the presentation of an informant as a witness is not regarded
as indispensable to the success in prosecuting drug-related cases. It is only when the
testimony of the informant is considered absolutely essential in obtaining the conviction
of the culprit should the need to protect his identity be disregarded. In this case, the
informant had actively participated in the buy-bust operation and her testimony, if
presented, would merely corroborate the testimonies of the members of the buy-bust
team. (People vs. Monceda,G.R. No. 176269, November 13, 2013,Brion, J. )

Essential elements of illegal sale. In the prosecution of a case of illegal sale of


dangerous drugs, it is necessary that the prosecution is able to establish the following
essential elements: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale and
the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and its payment. What is material
is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation
in court of the corpus delicti as evidence. The delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-
buyer and the receipt by the seller of the marked money successfully consummate the
buy-bust transaction.
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The Supreme Court has ruled that the defense of denial or frame-up, like alibi, has
been invariably viewed by the courts with disfavor for it can just as easily be concocted
and is a common and standard defense ploy in most prosecution for violation of the
Dangerous Drugs Act. Appellant’s defense which is anchored principally on denial cannot
be given credence. It does not have more evidentiary weight than the positive assertions
of the prosecution witnesses. Appellant’s defense is unavailing considering that he was
caught in flagrante delicto in a legitimate buy-bust operation. This Court has ruled that
the defense of denial or frame-up, like alibi, has been invariably viewed by the courts
with disfavor for it can just as easily be concocted and is a common and standard defense
ploy in most prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

To be admissible in evidence, the prosecution must be able to present through


records or testimony, the whereabouts of the dangerous drugs from the time these were
seized from the accused by the arresting officers; turned-over to the investigating officer;
forwarded to the laboratory for determination of their composition; and up to the time
these are offered in evidence. (People vs. Ortega,G.R. No. 207392, July 2, 2014,Perez,
J:)

Essential elements of illegal sale and possession. In every prosecution for illegal
sale of dangerous drugs, like ephedrine in this case, the following elements must be
sufficiently proved to sustain a conviction therefor: (1) the identity of the buyer, as well
as the seller, the object and consideration of the sale; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold
and the payment therefor. What is material is proof that the transaction or sale actually
took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the dangerous drugs seized as
evidence. The commission of the offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs requires
merely the consummation of the selling transaction, which happens the moment the buyer
receives the drug from the seller. Settled is the rule that as long as the police officer went
through the operation as a buyer and his offer was accepted by appellant and the
dangerous drugs delivered to the former; the crime is considered consummated by the
delivery of the goods.

With respect to the prosecution of illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the


following facts must be proved: (a) the accused was in possession of dangerous drugs, (b)
such possession was not authorized by law, and (c) the accused was freely and
consciously aware of being in possession of dangerous drugs. In the case under
consideration, this Court also conforms to the lower courts’ findings that all the elements
of illegal possession of dangerous drugs were adequately proven by the prosecution.
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The chain of custody requirement performs the function of ensuring that the
integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved, so much so that
unnecessary doubts as to the identity of the evidence are removed. To be admissible, the
prosecution must show by records or testimony, the continuous whereabouts of the
exhibit at least between the time it came into possession of the police officers and until it
was tested in the laboratory to determine its composition up to the time it was offered in
evidence.

It has been judicially settled that in buy-bust operations, the testimony of the
police officers who apprehended the accused is usually accorded full faith and credit
because of the presumption that they have performed their duties regularly. This
presumption is overturned only if there is clear and convincing evidence that they were
not properly performing their duty or that they were inspired by improper motive. In this
case, there was none. (People vs. Villarta ,G.R. No. 205610, July 30, 2014,Perez, J.:)

Essential elements of illegal sale and possession. Accused-appellant was


charged and convicted with violation of Section 5 (Illegal Sale of Dangerous Drugs) and
11 (Illegal Possession of Dangerous Drugs), Art. II or RA No. 9165, otherwise known as
the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002”, for selling and illegal possession of
Marijuana both by the RTC of Cebu City and the CA. Appellant contends that the
prosecution failed to prove the identity of the corpus delicti as its sole witness never
testified as to how he was able to recover the four sticks of hand rolled marijuana
cigarettes, which are the corpus delicti of the crime of illegal sale of marijuana from the
possession of the poseur-buyer.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is sufficient evidence to establish appellant’s guilt beyond
reasonable doubt of the crimes charged.

HELD: In every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like marijuana, the
following essential elements must be duly established: (1) The identities of the buyer and
the seller, the object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment for it. Similarly, it is essential that the transaction or sale be proved to have
actually taken place coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti,
that is, the actual commission by someone of the particular crime charged. On the other
hand, to successfully prosecute a case of illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the
following elements must be established: (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 possessed the drug. Given the foregoing
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circumstances, the prosecution miserably failed to specifically identify the four sticks of
hand rolled marijuana cigarettes that were actually sold at the buy-bust as among those
that were presented in court. This evidentiary situation effectively translates to the
absence of proof of corpus delicti, and cannot be lead this Court to conclude that no valid
conviction for the crime of illegal sale of marijuana can result. All told, the prosecution
failed to establish the element of corpus delicti with the prescribed degree of proof
required for successful prosecution of both sale and possession of prohibited drugs, thus,
no valid conviction for the crimes charged can result. (People vs Charve John
Lagahit,G.R. No. 200877, November 12, 2014,Perez, J.:)

Essential elements of illegal sale and possession. For the violation of Section 5,
the prosecution satisfactorily established the following elements: “(1) the identity of the
buyer and the seller, the object and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing
sold and the payment therefor. What is material in a prosecution for illegal sale of
dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with
the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug in evidence.” Similarly,
the prosecution satisfactorily established the following elements for the illegal possession
of dangerous drugs in violation of Section 11, to wit: appellant was shown to have been
in possession of 0.74 gram of shabu, a prohibited drug; his possession was not authorized
by law; and that he freely and consciously possessed the said illegal drug. (People vs.
Opiana,G.R. No. 200797, January 12, 2015,Del Castillo, J.:)

Prior surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of an entrapment


operation. In People v. Llanita citing People v. Unisa, the Court ruled that in order to
successfully prosecute an offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, the
following elements must first be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller,
the object and consideration of the sale; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment therefor.

In illegal sale, what the prosecution needs to present is proof that a transaction or
sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of the corpus
delicti. The commission of illegal sale merely requires the consummation of the selling
transaction, which happens the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. As
long as the police officer went through the operation as a buyer, whose offer was
accepted by appellant, followed by the delivery of the dangerous drugs to the former, the
crime is already consummated. In this case, the prosecution has amply proven all the
elements of the drugs sale with moral certainty.
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It must be stressed that prior surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of
an entrapment operation. This issue in the prosecution of illegal drugs cases, again, has
long been settled by this Court. We have been consistent in our ruling that prior
surveillance is not required for a valid buy-bust operation, especially if the buy-bust team
is accompanied to the target area by their informant.

In People v. Eugenio, the Court held that there is no requirement that prior
surveillance should be conducted before a buy-bust operation can be undertaken
especially when the policemen are accompanied to the scene by their civilian informant.
Prior surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of an entrapment or a buy-bust
operation, there being no fixed or textbook method for conducting one. When time is of
essence, the police may dispense with the need for prior surveillance. The buy-bust
operation conducted by PO1 Castro and the rest of them, together with their civilian
informant is justified by the urgency of the situation.

In order for a discrepancy or inconsistency between the testimonies of witnesses


to serve as basis for acquittal, it must refer to significant facts vital to the guilt or
innocence of the accused x x x. An inconsistency which has nothing to do with the
elements of the crime cannot be a ground for the acquittal of the accused.

As stated in People v. Albarido: It is elementary in the rule of evidence that


inconsistencies in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses with respect to minor details
and collateral matters do not affect the substance of their declaration nor the veracity or
weight of their testimony. In fact, these minor inconsistencies enhance the credibility of
the witnesses, for they remove any suspicion that their testimonies were contrived or
rehearsed. Further, in People vs. Maglente, this Court ruled that inconsistencies in details
which are irrelevant to the elements of the crime are not grounds for acquittal. x x x.

It has been ruled time and again that failure to strictly comply with Section 21 (1),
Article II of R.A. No. 916584 does not necessarily render an accused's arrest illegal or the
items seized or confiscated from him inadmissible. What is of utmost importance is the
preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as these would
be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.

The function of the chain of custody requirement is to ensure that the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved, so much so that unnecessary doubts
as to the identity of the evidence are removed. To be admissible, the prosecution must
show by records or testimony, the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit at least between
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the time it came into possession of the police officers and until it was tested in the
laboratory to determine its composition up to the time it was offered in evidence. (People
of the Philippines vs. Benedict Homaky Lucio,G.R. No. 191391 June 19, 2013,PEREZ,
J.)

Prior surveillance is not required in a buy-bust operation. Accused-appellant


Edwin Cabrera was charged with violation of Sec. 5, Article II, of R.A. 9165 due to a
buy-bust operation conducted September 30, 2002, wherein it was found in his
possession two (2) plastic packs of white crystalline substance later confirmed by
chemistry report as shabu, other paraphernalia and two (2) fifty-peso bills used as marked
money. Appellant questions the legality of the buy-bust operation. He pointed to the
absence of a prior surveillance and pre-operation report. Likewise assailed is the non-
presentation in court of the confidential informant, marked money, and the break in the
chain of custody since the confiscation of the specimen happened at 4:30PM of
September 30, 2002 while the submission of the same to the PNP Crime Laboratory for
examination was made only at 10:50PM of the same day. Hence, his guilt was not
proved beyond reasonable doubt.

ISSUE: Whether or not the allegations of the accused are valid to find him not guilty of
the offense charged.

HELD: Prior surveillance is not required in a buy-bust operation especially where the
police operatives are accompanied by their informant. Neither is the submission of a pre-
operation report necessary for a conviction under Sec. 5 Art II of R.A. 9165 as long as the
elements of the offense are sufficiently established by the prosecution. There is no need
to present in court the confidential informant and the marked money. Presentation of the
confidential informant is only required when there are material inconsistencies in the
testimony of the prosecution witness. There is no break in the chain of custody despite
the lapse of six (6) hours in the submission of the specimen. The integrity of the
evidence is presumed to be preserved unless there is a showing of bad faith, ill will, or
proof that the evidence has been tampered with. Appellant bears the burden to make
some showing that the evidence was tampered or meddled with to overcome a
presumption or regularity in the handling of exhibit by public officers and a presumption
that public officers properly discharged their duties. (People vs. Edwin Cabrera,G.R. No.
190175, November 12, 2014,Del Castillo, J.:)

Quantity of shabu not material in the determination of corresponding


penalty .Under Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, the quantity of shabu is
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not material in the determination of the corresponding penalty therefor. A person found
guilty thereof shall suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and a fine ranging from Five
Hundred Thousand (P500,000.00) pesos to Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00).

The Indeterminate Sentence Law provides that "if the offense is punished by any
other law, the court shall sentence the accused to an indeterminate sentence, the
maximum term of which shall not exceed the maximum fixed by said law and the
minimum shall not be less than the minimum term prescribed by the same."

Considering the absence of any mitigating circumstance, the penalty of life


imprisonment and a fine of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) were, thus,
correctly imposed. These are within the period and range of the fine prescribed by law.

Settled are the rule that "findings of the trial courts which are factual in nature and
which involve credibility are accorded respect when no glaring errors; gross
misapprehension of facts; or speculative, arbitrary, and unsupported conclusions can be
gathered from such findings,"16 and that "the determination by the trial court of the
credibility of witnesses, when affirmed by the appellate court, is accorded full weight and
credit as well as great respect, if not conclusive effect."

"In People v. Tion, x x x Unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the
members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any improper motive or were not
properly performing their duty, their testimonies on the buy-bust operation deserve full
faith and credit. Settled is the rule that in cases involving violations of the Dangerous
Drugs Act, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who are police officers, for they
are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is evidence
to the contrary suggesting ill motive on the part of the police officers or deviation from
the regular performance of their duties. The records do not show any allegation of
improper motive on the part of the buy-bust team. Thus, the presumption of regularity in
the performance of duties of the police officers must be upheld."

Proceeding from the above, we find that the essential requisites for illegal sale of
shabu were all present in the instant case. These are: "(a) the identities of the buyer and
the seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration; and (b) the delivery of the thing
sold and the payment for the thing."25 The prosecution has likewise complied with the
following material requirements: (1) proof that the transaction or sale actually took place
and (2) presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence. (People of the Philippines
vs. Peter Linda y Garolaga,G.R. No. 200507, June 26, 2013,PEREZ, J.)
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Presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty .We sustain the


conviction of accused-appellant. To secure a conviction for illegal sale of shabu, the
following elements must be present: "(a) the identities of the buyer and the seller, the
object of the sale, and the consideration; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment for the thing."18 The prosecution must show that the transaction or sale actually
took place, coupled with the presentation of the corpus delicti as evidence.

The presence of the elements of the crime of illegal possession of shabu has
likewise been sufficiently established, to wit: "(a) the accused was in possession of an
item or object that is identified to be a prohibited or dangerous drug; (b) such possession
was not authorized by law; and (c) the accused freely and consciously possessed the
drug." When asked to empty his pocket, accused-appellant produced therefrom two (2)
more transparent plastic sachets containing white substance, which also tested positive
for shabu. Such possession was likewise unauthorized by law.

The doctrine of presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty,


therefore, applies. As explained in People v. Tion:x x x Unless there is clear and
convincing evidence that the members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any
improper motive or were not properly performing their duty, their testimonies on the buy-
bust operation deserve full faith and credit. Settled is the rule that in cases involving
violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who
are police officers, for they are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular
manner, unless there is evidence to the contrary suggesting ill motive on the part of the
police officers or deviation from the regular performance of their duties. The records do
not show any allegation of improper motive on the part of the buy-bust team. Thus, the
presumption of regularity in the performance of duties of the police officers must be
upheld. (People of the Philippines vs. Ferdinand Castro y Lapena,G.R. No. 195777
June 19, 2013,PEREZ, J.)

Presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty .To secure a


conviction for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, the following essential
elements must be duly established: (1) identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and
consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. Succinctly,
the delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer, as well as the receipt of the marked
money by the seller, successfully consummates the buy-bust transaction. Hence, what is
material is the proof that the transaction or sale transpired, coupled with the presentation
in court of the corpus delicti as evidence.
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With regard to the offense of illegal possession of dangerous drugs, like shabu,
the following elements must be proven: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or
object that is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by
law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possesses the said drug. All these
elements have been established in this case.

Time and again, this Court held that denial is an inherently weak defense and has
always been viewed upon with disfavor by the courts due to the ease with which it can be
concocted. Inherently weak, denial as a defense crumbles in the light of positive
identification of the appellant, as in this case. The defense of denial assumes significance
only when the prosecution’s evidence is such that it does not prove guilt beyond
reasonable doubt, which is not the case here. Verily, mere denial, unsubstantiated by clear
and convincing evidence, is negative self-serving evidence which cannot be given greater
evidentiary weight than the testimony of the prosecution witness who testified on
affirmative matters. Moreover, there is a presumption that public officers, including the
arresting officers, regularly perform their official duties. In this case, the defense failed to
overcome this presumption by presenting clear and convincing evidence. Furthermore,
this Court finds no ill motive that could be attributed to the police officers who had
conducted the buy-bust operation. Even the allegation of the appellant that PO2 Martinez
got angry with him when he failed to pinpoint the big time pusher cannot be considered
as the ill motive in implicating the appellant on all the three charges against him for this
is self-serving and uncorroborated. (People vs. Rom,G.R. No. 198452, February 19,
2014,Perez, J.:)

Presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty.By way of


emphasis, we have adhered to the time-honored principle that for illegal possession of
regulated or prohibited drugs, the prosecution must establish the following elements: (1)
the accused is in possession of an item or object, which is identified to be a prohibited or
regulated drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely
and consciously possessed the drug.xxx

In People v. De Guzman, we held that in cases involving violations of the


Dangerous Drugs Act, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who are police officers
for they are presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is
evidence to the contrary suggesting ill motive on the part of the police officers. In this
case, accused-appellant failed to show that the police officers deviated from the regular
performance of their duties. His defense of denial is weak and self-serving. Unless
corroborated by other evidence, it cannot overcome the presumption that the police
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officers have performed their duties in a regular and proper manner. The defense simply
failed to show any ill motive or odious intent on the part of the police officers to impute
such a serious crime that would put in jeopardy the life and liberty of an innocent person,
such as in the case of accused-appellant. Additionally, in weighing the testimonies of the
prosecution’s witnesses vis-à-vis that of the defense, it is a well-settled rule that in the
absence of palpable error or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial judge, the
trial court’s evaluation of the credibility of witnesses will not be disturbed on appeal.
(People vs. Bontuyan,G.R. No. 206912, September 10, 2014, Perez, J.:)

Presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. Accused-


appellant was charged and convicted by the RTC of Pasig City and affirmed by the CA
for selling and illegal possession of shabu in violation of RA 9165 Sec 5 and Sec 11.
Appellant claims that the credibility of the police officers are prosecution witnesses is
cannot convict him since there were inconsistencies in their testimonies. Further he
argues that the grant of bail in his favor means that the evidence of guilt is not strong.

ISSUE: Whether or not the guilt of the accused is proved beyond reasonable doubt

HELD: Unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the members of the buy-bust
team were inspired by any improper motive or did not properly perform their duty, their
regularity should not by itself prevail over the presumption of innocence, still, he must be
able to present a viable defense. Here, what appellant interposed is merely denial and a
claim of frame-up. For the claim of frame-up to prosper, the defense must be able to
present clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption of regularity. A few
discrepancies and inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses referring to minor
details and not actually touching upon the central fact of the crime do not impair their
credibility. (People vsMelchor D. Brita,G.R. No. 191260, November 24, 2014,Del
Castillo, J.:)

Non-compliance with the required chain of custody. The law prescribes certain
procedures in keeping custody and disposition of seized dangerous drugs like the shabu
that the police supposedly confiscated from Romeo and Mercy on June 16, 2004. Section
21 of Republic Act (R.A.) 9165 reads: Section 21. Custody and Disposition of
Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous
Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia
and/or Laboratory Equipment.—The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all
dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential
chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so
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confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, 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, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from
the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who
shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof;
x x x. Compliance with the above, especially the required physical inventory and
photograph of the seized drugs in the presence of the accused, the media, and responsible
government functionaries, would be clear evidence that the police had carried out a
legitimate buy-bust operation. Here, the prosecution was unable to adduce such evidence,
indicating that the police officers did not at all comply with prescribed procedures.
Worse, they offered no excuse or explanation at the hearing of the case for their blatant
omission of what the law required of them. (People vs. Oniza ,700 SCRA 72, G.R. No.
202709, July 3, 2013,Abad, J.:)

What is “Marking”.A successful prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs


requires that the following elements be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the
seller, the object and the consideration of the sale; and (2) the delivery to the buyer of the
thing sold and receipt by the seller of the payment therefor.

There can be conviction for illegal possession of dangerous drugs only if the
following elements are present: (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 possessed the drug.

In both cases of illegal sale and illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the
prosecution must show the chain of custody over the dangerous drug in order to establish
the corpus delicti, which is the dangerous drug itself. Such chain of custody should show
that the dangerous drug sold by or in the possession of the accused is the same dangerous
drug seized from the said accused and taken into custody by the apprehending officer,
marked and subjected to physical inventory by the apprehending officer, submitted to the
PDEA or PNP forensic laboratory, subjected by the forensic laboratory examiner to
laboratory examination the results of which are contained in a sworn certification, and
presented to the court as evidence against the accused. This is to ensure the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized items and preclude the possibility of alteration, tampering
or substitution of substance in the chain of custody of the dangerous drug. Nevertheless, a
perfect chain is not always the standard as it is almost always impossible to obtain an
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unbroken chain. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items, because the same will be utilized in ascertaining the
guilt or innocence of the accused.

This Court has already held in People v. Ambrosio, 427 SCRA 312 (2004), that
the non-presentation of the entire amount of the marked money is not a mortal blow to
the prosecution’s case. It has also been held that the non-presentation of the marked
money, or the presentation of mere photocopies of the marked money, does not render the
buy-bust operation illegal or invalid. Nor is the presentation of the marked money
material in the prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs as the omission to present
the marked money may be overlooked as a peripheral matter. As this Court ruled in
People v. Ara, 609 SCRA 304 (2009) In the prosecution for the sale of dangerous drugs,
the absence of marked money does not create a hiatus in the evidence for the prosecution,
as long as the sale of dangerous drugs is adequately proved and the drug subject of the
transaction is presented before the court. x x x.

Illegal sale of dangerous drugs is committed when the sale transaction is


consummated, that is, upon delivery of the illicit drug to the buyer and the receipt of the
payment by the seller. While the marked money may be used to prove payment, it is not
material in proving the commission of the crime. What is material is the proof that the
sale transaction actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus
delicti, the dangerous drug subject of the sale. Here, the prosecution has adequately
established the occurrence of a sale transaction between accused-appellant and PO1
Bautista, and the sachet containing the contraband subject of the sale was presented in
court.

“Marking” is the placing by the apprehending officer of some distinguishing


signs with his/her initials and signature on the items seized. It helps ensure that the
dangerous drugs seized upon apprehension are the same dangerous drugs subjected to
inventory and photography when these activities are undertaken at the police station or at
some other practicable venue rather than at the place of arrest. 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. (People vs. Somoza ,701 SCRA 525, G.R. No. 197250,
July 17, 2013,Leonardo-De Castro, J.)
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Chain of custody and objective test. In order to successfully prosecute an


offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, the following elements must first
be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and consideration of
the sale; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.

“Chain of custody” means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody
of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory
equipment of each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic
laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court and finally for destruction. Such record
of movements and custody of seized item shall include the identity and signature of the
person who held temporary custody of the seized item, the date and time when such
transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence,
and the final disposition.

To establish the chain of custody in a buy-bust operation, the prosecution must


establish the following links, namely: First, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the
illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; Second, the turnover
of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; Third,
the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for
laboratory examination; and Fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal
drug seized by the forensic chemist to the court.

The “objective test” in determining the credibility of prosecution witnesses


regarding the conduct of buy-bust operation provides that it is the duty of the prosecution
to present a complete picture detailing the buy-bust operation — from the initial contact
between the poseur-buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment
of the consideration, until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal
subject of sale. The manner by which the initial contact was made, the offer to purchase
the drug, the payment of the buy-bust money, and the delivery of the illegal drug must be
the subject of strict scrutiny by courts to insure that law-abiding citizens are not
unlawfully induced to commit an offense. (People vs. Clara ,702 SCRA 273, G.R. No.
195528, July 24, 2013,Perez, J.:)

Gaps or Lapses in the Chain of Custody of Illegal Drugs.For the successful


prosecution of offenses involving the illegal sale of drugs under Section 5, Article II of
R.A. No. 9165, the following elements must be proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and
seller, object and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor. What is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the
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proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in
court of evidence of corpus delicti.

Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002 which
implements R.A. No. 9165 defines “Chain of Custody” as follows: “Chain of Custody”
means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled
chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of each stage,
from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping
to presentation in court for destruction. Such record of movements and custody of seized
item shall include the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of
the seized item, the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course
of safekeeping and use in court as evidence, and the final disposition.

Jurisprudence is consistent in stating that less than strict compliance with the
procedural aspect of the chain of custody rule does not necessarily render the seized drug
items inadmissible. As held in People v. Llanita, 682 SCRA 288 (2012) as cited in People
v. Ara, 609 SCRA 304 (2009): RA 9165 and its subsequent Implementing Rules and
Regulations (IRR) do not require strict compliance as to the chain of custody rule. x x x
We have emphasized that what is essential is “the preservation of the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination
of the guilt or innocence of the accused.” Briefly stated, non-compliance with the
procedural requirements under RA 9165 and its IRR relative to the custody,
photographing, and drug-testing of the apprehended persons, is not a serious flaw that can
render void the seizures and custody of drugs in a buy-bust operation.

As to the charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the prosecution must


establish the following elements: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object,
which is identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug; (2) such possession is not
authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. In the
case at hand, the prosecution was able to prove that the accused-appellant was in
possession of one (1) plastic sachet of shabu, when he was frisked on the occasion of his
arrest. There was also no showing that he had the authority to possess the drugs that was
in his person. This Court held in a catena of cases that mere possession of a regulated
drug per se constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi
sufficient to convict an accused absent a satisfactory explanation of such possession —
the onus probandi is shifted to the accused, to explain the absence of knowledge or
animus possidendi. (People vs. Posing ,703 SCRA 62, G.R. No. 196973, July 31,
2013,Perea, J.:)
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Gaps or Lapses in the Chain of Custody of Illegal Drugs .The elements


necessary for the prosecution of the illegal sale of drugs are as follows: (1) the identity of
the buyer and the seller, the object and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing
sold and payment therefor. The prosecution, to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, must
present in evidence the corpus delicti of the case. The corpus delicti is the seized illegal
drugs. This is to establish with unwavering exactitude that the seized illegal drugs from
the suspect is the very same substance offered in court as exhibit.

“Chain of Custody” means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody
of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory
equipment at each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic
laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court and destruction. Such record of
movements and custody of the seized item shall include the identity and signature of the
person who held temporary custody of the seized item, the date and times when such
transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence,
and the final disposition.

Our discussion in People v. Lim is apropos: x xx [A]ny apprehending team


having initial custody and control of said drugs and/or paraphernalia, should immediately
after seizure and confiscation, have the same physically inventoried and photographed in
the presence of the accused, if there be any, and or his representative, who shall be
required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. The failure of
the agents to comply with such a requirement raises a doubt whether what was
submitted for laboratory examination and presented in court was actually recovered
from the appellants. It negates the presumption that official duties have been
regularly performed by the PAOC-TF agents. (People vs. Balibay ,G.R. No. 202701,
September 10, 2014 ,Perez, J.:)

Gaps or Lapses in the Chain of Custody of Illegal Drugs .PO2 Bernardo T.


Suarez (PO2 Suarez), who acted as poseur-buyer, went to the house of the accused
accompanied by a police “asset.” The asset told the accused that they were going to buy
drugs, and upon agreement, PO2 Suarez gave accused two (2) marked ₱100 bills. In
return, the accused gave PO2 Suarez a deck of shabu. PO2 Suarez testified that he was
the one who marked the sachets with his own initials and who prepared the letter-
request for laboratory examination of the specimens. The seized sachets were then
delivered to Eastern Police District Crime Laboratory for examination. Police Senior
Inspector Annalee R. Forro (P/S Insp. Forro), PNP Forensic Chemical Officer, admitted
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in her testimony that she personally received the drug specimens which tested positive for
methamphetamine hydrochloride.

ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC and the CA erred in finding that the evidence of the
prosecution was sufficient to convict the accused of the alleged sale and possession of
methamphetamine hydrochloride, in violation of Sections 5 and 11, respectively, of R.A.
9165.

HELD:It has been consistently ruled that the elements needed to be proven to
successfully prosecute a case of illegal sale of drugs are: (1) the identity of the buyer and
the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment therefor.

The Court has adopted the chain of custody rule, a method of authenticating
evidence which 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. “It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the
item was picked up to the time it is offered in evidence, in such a way that every person
who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where it
was and what happened to it while in the witness’ possession, the condition in which it
was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain.
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.”

Contrary to the claim of accused, the prosecution was able to clearly recount how
the buy-bust operation was conducted. However, the Court finds that the chain of custody
was broken in view of several infirmities in the procedure and the evidence presented.
Section 21 of R.A. 9165 delineates the mandatory procedural safeguards in buy-bust
operations, which reads:

Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered


Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and
Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. – The
PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of
dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or
surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
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(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, 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, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and
the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to
sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof; xxx.

First, it is not clear from the evidence that the marking, which was done in the
police station, was made in the presence of the accused or his representative. Although
we have previously ruled that the marking upon “immediate” confiscation of the
prohibited items contemplates even that which was done at the nearest police station or
office of the apprehending team, the same must always be done in the presence of the
accused or his representative. Thus, there is already a gap in determining whether the
specimens that entered into the chain were actually the ones examined and offered in
evidence.

“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. Marking after seizure is
the starting point in the custodial link, thus it is vital that the seized contrabands are
immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimens will use the markings
as reference. 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 of at the end of criminal proceedings, obviating
switching, planting, or contamination of evidence.”

Second, the prosecution failed to duly accomplish the Certificate of Inventory and
to take photos of the seized items pursuant to the above-stated provision. There is nothing
in the records that would show at least an attempt to comply with this procedural
safeguard; neither was there any justifiable reason propounded for failing to do so.

Third, we find conflicting testimony and glaring inconsistencies that would cast
doubt on the integrity of the handling of the seized drugs. The material inconsistency of
who actually received the specimens in the Crime Laboratory creates a cloud of doubt as
to whether the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items were preserved.

The gaps in the chain of custody creates a reasonable doubt as to whether the
specimens seized from the accused were the same specimens brought to the laboratory
and eventually offered in court as evidence. Without adequate proof of the corpus delicti,
the conviction cannot stand.The gaps in the chain of custody creates a reasonable doubt
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as to whether the specimens seized from the accused were the same specimens brought to
the laboratory and eventually offered in court as evidence. Without adequate proof of the
corpus delicti, the conviction cannot stand. WHEREFORE, the appealed CA Decision is
SET ASIDE. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES versus FREDDY SALONGA y
AFIADO,G. R. No. 194948, September 2, 2013,SERENO, CJ:)

Gaps or Lapses in the Chain of Custody of Illegal Drugs .Sometime in May


2003, Senior Police Officer (SPO) 2 Edilberto David, SPO2 Ernesto Divina, and SPO1
Saturnino Garung received reports from the barangay office and other concerned citizens
of drug-dealing activities in the locality of Porac, Pampanga. They immediately
conducted a casing and surveillance operation to verify the reports. About four operations
were carried out, on a weekly basis, which confirmed that Enriquez was indeed dealing
drugs among the truck drivers and helpers within the vicinity. After confirming the
reports, SPO2 David, together with one civilian asset, conducted a test-buy on June 2,
2003.During the test-buy, SPO2 David’s asset was able to buy P200.00 worth of shabu,
which he confirmed to be so by burning it, contrary to standard police procedure.After
the test-buy, SPO2 David organized a team, composed of himself, SPO2 Divina, and
SPO1 Garung, to conduct a buy-bust operation.On June 3, 2003, after SPO2 Divina
coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for their on-going
narcotics operation, their Chief of Police Ricardo Erese briefed the team at Kababayan
Center No. 2, at Barangay Sta. Cruz, Porac, Pampanga. Atthe briefing, SPO2 David was
designated as the poseur-buyer, with the other two police officers as backups. To
purchase the shabu, Chief of Police Erese gave SPO2 David a P100-peso bill and five
P20-peso bills, which SPO2 David marked by placing a small bar on the lower right
corner of the bills. The team thereafter proceeded to Brgy. Manibaug, Libutad in Porac,
Pampanga. Upon arriving at the target area at around 11:00 a.m., SPO2 David
approached Enriquez, whom they spotted sitting in a sari-saristore, while SPO2 Divina
and SPO1 Garung hid behind a dump truck parked across the store. SPO2 David called
the attention of Enriquez by saying “dalawang (2) piso”while handing him the P200.00.
Without saying anything, Enriquez took the money and went to the backof the store.
After oneto two minutes, Enriquez emerged and handed SPO2 David a sachet of shabu.
This prompted SPO2 David to put his hand at the back of his head, to signal his
teammates that the sale had been consummated. Upon the execution of the pre-arranged
signal, SPO2 Divina and SPO1 Garung approached the site of engagement, introduced
themselves as police officers to Enriquez, and thereafter conducted a body search on him,
which resulted to the discovery of a plastic game card containing one big and 45 small
plastic sachets of white crystalline substance.SPO2 David prepared the Confiscation
Receipt for the above-seized items, then subsequently brought Enriquez to the Porac
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Police Station, wherein the team prepared the papers necessary in filing a case against
Enriquez.As per Chemistry Report No. D-219-2003,16 prepared by Police Inspector and
Forensic Chemical Officer Divina Mallare Dizon (P/Insp. Dizon), upon the request for
laboratory examination submitted by Chief of Police Erese, the plastic sachets
confiscated from Enriquez tested positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride.
ISSUES:

1.THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-


APPELLANT DESPITE THE IRREGULARITY OF THE BUY-BUST OPERATION.

2.THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-


APPELLANT DESPITE THE PROSECUTION’S FAILURE TO PROVE WITH
MORAL CERTAINTY THE IDENTITY OF THE CORPUS DELICTI.

3.THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSED-


APPELLANT DESPITE THE PROSECUTION’S FAILURE TO PROVE
WITHMORAL CERTAINTY THE IDENTITY OF THE CORPUS DELICTI.

HELD: When prosecuting the sale of a dangerous drug, the following elements must be
proven: (1) the identities of the buyer and seller, object, and consideration; and (2) the
delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. In cases of illegal possession of
dangerous drugs, the essential requisites that must be established are: (1) the accused was
in possession of the dangerous drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3)
the accused freely and consciously possessed the dangerous drug.

As the dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of both offenses,
its identity and integrity must definitely be shown to have been preserved. “This means
that on top of the elements of possession or illegal sale, the fact that the substance
[possessed or illegally sold], in the first instance, the very substance adduced incourt
must likewise be established with the same exacting degree of certitude as that required
sustaining a conviction. “Thus, the prosecution must be able to account for each link in
the chain of custody over the dangerous drug, from the moment it was seized from the
accused up to the time it was presented in court as proof of the corpus delicti. The chain
of custody requirement “ensures that unnecessary doubts respecting the identity of the
evidence are minimized if not altogether removed.”
The following are the links that must be established in the chain of custody in a
buy-bust situation: First, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug
recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; Second, the turnover of the
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illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; Third, the
turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for
laboratory examination; and Fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal
drug seized from the forensic chemist to the court.

While non-compliance with the prescribed procedural requirements will not


automatically render the seizure and custody of the items void and invalid, this is true
only when “(i) there is a justifiable ground for such noncompliance, and (ii) the integrity
and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved.”Thus, any divergence
from the prescribed procedure must be justified and should not affect the integrity and
evidentiary value of the confiscated contraband. Absent any of the said conditions, the
non-compliance is an irregularity, a red flag that casts reasonable doubt on the identity of
the corpus delicti.

In the case at bar, not only was there no justifiable ground offered for the non-
compliance with the chain of custody requirement, there was an apparent failure to
properly preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items to ensure the
identity of the corpus delicti from the time of seizure to the time of presentation in
court.In other words, the prosecution’s evidence failed to establish the chain that would
have shown that the sachets of shabu presented in court were the very same items seized
from Enriquez.

The first crucial link in the chain of custody starts with the seizure from Enriquez
of the dangerous drugs and its subsequent marking. Under the law, such marking should
have been done immediately after confiscation and in the presence of the accused or his
representative. While it is true that the items presented in court bore the initials of SPO2
David, who was also the poseur-buyer and primary apprehending officer, nowhere in the
documentary and testimonial evidence of the prosecution can it be found when these
items were actually marked and if they were marked in the presence of Enriquez or at
least his representative.

The second link in the chain of custody is the turnover of the illegal drug by the
apprehending officer to the investigating officer. Both SPO2 David and SPO2 Divina
testified that after the buy-bust operation, they brought Enriquez and the seized items to
the police station. However, they both failed to identify the person to whom they turned
over the seized items. Records show that the request for laboratory examination was
prepared by Chief of Police Erese, and yet there is no evidence to show that he was the
person who received the seized items from the apprehending officers. There is therefore a
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crucial missing link, i.e., what happened to the seized items after they left the hands of
SPO2 David and SPO2 Divina and before they came to the hands of Chief of Police
Erese.

As for the third and the last links, although records show that Chief of Police
Erese signed the request for laboratory examination, he was not presented in court to
testify as such. The testimony of Chief of Police Erese is indispensable because he could
have provided the critical link between the testimony of SPO2 David, and the tenor of the
testimony of P/Insp. Dizon, which the parties have stipulated on. The unaccounted for
whereabouts of the seized items from the time they were brought to the police station to
the time they were submitted to P/Insp. Dizon for examination constitutes a clear break in
the chain of custody. Moreover, no one testified as to how the confiscated items were
handled and cared for after the laboratory examination.

Overall, the prosecution failed to observe the requirement that the testimonies of
all persons who handled the specimen are important to establish the chain of custody. Of
all the individuals who came into direct contact with or had physical possession of the
shabu allegedly seized from Enriquez, only SPO2 David testified for the specific purpose
of identifying the evidence. However, his testimony miserably failed to demonstrate an
unbroken chain as it ended with his identification of the money and seized items he
marked and documents he signed. In effect, the custodial link ended with SPO2 David
when he testified that he brought the seized items, together with Enriquez, to the police
station. WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES versus ARTURO ENRIQUEZ DE LOS
REYES G.R. No. 197550, September 25,2013,LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.)

Gaps or Lapses in the Chain of Custody of Illegal Drugs. On May 14, 2004
Capt. Dennis Vargas briefed his police team on a buy-bust operation it was to carry out
against Pornillos. He handed two P500.00 bills to P02 Leonardo Garcia whom he
designated as poseur buyer. PO2 Garcia marked the bills with his initials, “LMG,” and
recorded their serial numbers in their logbook.Arriving at Nabua, Camarines Sur,on May
15, 2004, the team cased the area. The police informant, with PO2 Garcia in tow,
approached Pornillos’ house then knocked on the door. Pornillos opened it and asked the
informant if he was there for shabu. PO2 Garcia replied that he wanted to buy ₱1,000.00
worth of shabu. Pornillos handed over the shabuand got the money. PO2 Garcia then
identified himself and arrested Pornillos. The rest of the team converged on them. After
apprising Pornillos of his rights, Capt. Vargas frisked him and seized the marked money
in his pocket. PO2 Garcia marked the shabuin the plastic sachet with his initials “LMG”
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and turned over the same to the evidence custodian, PO1 Danilo Prianes.PSI Vargas then
made a request for the laboratory examination of the seized substance.T he examination
yielded positive results for methamphetamine hydrochloride.

ISSUE: Whether discrepancy between the weight of the substance seized from the
accused and the weight of the substance subject of forensic test breaks the required chain
of custody.

HELD: But the CA is in error in one important point. It said that the chain of custody of
the seized drugs does not appear to be unbroken. But the PDEA report to the Provincial
Prosecutor’s Office, the booking sheet and arrest report, the Certificate of Inventory, and
the laboratory examination request all put down the seized shabuas weighing 0.4 gram.
The forensic chemist reported and testified, however, that the police actually submitted
only 0.2204 gram of shabu for laboratory testing, short by 0.1796 gram from what the
police inventoried. The percentage of loss was not that small. The content of the sachet
was inventoried at 0.4 gram but yielded only 0.2204 gram during the laboratory test,
short by 0.1796 gram. It suffered a loss of 45% or nearly half of the original weight. The
prosecution has three theories: only two chemists served the entire region giving rise to
possible error; the police and the crime laboratory" used different weighing scales; and
the failure of the laboratory to take into account the weight of the sachet container. But
these are mere speculations since none of those involved was willing to admit having
committed weighing error. Speculations cannot overcome the concrete evidence that what
was seized was not what was forensically tested. This implies tampering with the
prosecution evidence. The Court cannot affirm the conviction of Pornillos on
compromised evidence. WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the appeal, SETS ASIDE
the decision of the Court of Appeals. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES versus JOVI
PORNILLOS y HALLARE,G.R. No. 201109 , October 2,2013,ABAD, J.:)

Gaps or Lapses in the Chain of Custody of Illegal Drugs. PO2 Elyzer Tuzon
on November 22, 2005 received a telephone call from an unknown tipper that Guzon was
engaged in drug-pushing activity at Nalupta Street, Barangay3, San Nicolas, Ilocos
Norte. After an unnamed asset identified Guzon’s location, the police planned a buy-bust
operation. PO2 Tuzon gave marked money to the asset designated to be the poseur-buyer
of shabu. The asset was instructed to remove his cap to signal that he had received the
shabu from Guzon. The buy-bust operation ensued at Nalupta Street, where the asset
approached Guzon. From afar, PO2 Tuzon saw the asset hand three (3) marked P100.00
bills to Guzon, who then handed something to the asset. After the asset removed his cap,
the police ran towards Guzon to arrest him. PO3 Manuel recovered the marked P100 bills
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from Guzon, while PO2 Tuzon received from the asset the item purchased from Guzon.
Guzon was brought to the San Nicolas Police Station, where PO2 Tuzon prepared a
Certification/Inventory of Seized/Confiscated Items , marked the seized sachet with his
initials “EAT”,and then delivered the sachet to the police crime laboratory for chemical
examination. The sachet was received by PO3 Nolie Domingo (PO3 Domingo).

ISSUE: Whether or not the chain of custody was established.

HELD: A buy-bust operation is a legally effective and proven procedure, sanctioned by


law, for apprehending drug peddlers and distributors.” As in all drugs cases, compliance
with the chain of custody rule is crucial in any prosecution that follows such operation.
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. The rule is
imperative, as it is essential that the prohibited drug confiscated or recovered from the
suspect is the very same substance offered in court as exhibit; and that the identity of said
drug is established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a
finding of guilt.

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, provided that the integrity and
the evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved. In each case, courts are
nonetheless reminded to thoroughly evaluate and differentiate those errors that constitute
a simple procedural lapse from those that amount to a gross, systematic, or deliberate
disregard of the safeguards that are drawn by the law for the protection of the corpus
delicti. The strict demands and significant value of the chain of custody rule were
emphasized in the oft-cited Malillin v. People wherein the Court held:

As a method of authenticating evidence, 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. 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, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe
how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the
witness’ possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it
was delivered to the next link in the chain. 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.
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While testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is
almost always impossible to obtain, an unbroken chain of custody becomes indispensable
and essential when the item of real evidence is not distinctive and is not readily
identifiable, or when its condition at the time of testing or trial is critical, or when a
witness has failed to observe its uniqueness. The same standard likewise obtains in case
the evidence is susceptible to alteration, tampering, contamination and even substitution
and exchange. In other words, the exhibit’s level of susceptibility to fungibility, 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.

In the case at bar, instead of immediately marking the subject drug upon its
confiscation, PO2 Tuzon marked it with his initials “EAT” only upon arrival at the police
station. While the failure of arresting officers to mark the seized items at the place of
arrest does not, by itself, impair the integrity of the chain of custody and render the
confiscated items inadmissible in evidence, such circumstance, when taken in light of the
several other lapses in the chain of custody that attend the present case, forms part of a
gross, systematic, or deliberate disregard of the safeguards that are drawn by the law,
sufficient to create reasonable doubt as to the culpability of the accused.

The Court has determined that although a physical inventory of the items seized
during the buy-bust operation forms part of the case records, the buy-bust team failed to
fully comply with the requirements under Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 for its preparation
and execution. Under the law, the inventory must be made “in the presence of the accused
or the person/s from whom [the] items were confiscated and/orseized, or his/her
representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice,
and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory
and be given a copy thereof.” These requirements are reiterated in Section 21, IRR of
R.A. No. 9165. Non-compliant with such rules, however, the Certification/Inventory of
Seized/Confiscated Items in this case only bears the signatures of PO3 Manuel and PO2
Tuzon as apprehending officers. Although the Certification indicates the name of Guzon
under the section “With Conformity”, it includes neither his signature nor of any other
person who is allowed by law to witness the required inventory. There is also no proof
that a copy of the inventory was received by any of the persons enumerated under the
law. Besides these deficiencies in the preparation of the inventory, no photograph of the
seized item, which is also required under Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165, forms part of the
case records.
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As further proof that the chain of custody rule was breached in this case, the Court
points out the discrepancy in the weight of the item that was supposedly seized following
the buy-bust operation, and that examined by PSI Cayabyab. Clearly, the specimen
submitted to the police crime laboratory weighed only 0.01 gram, even including the
plastic sachet that contained the substance. It appears, however, 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. The Initial Laboratory
Reportprepared by PSI Cayabyab indicates that the specimen examined weighed more,
specifically at 0.06 gram, excluding its plastic container. It appears, however, 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. The Initial
Laboratory Report prepared by PSI Cayabyab indicates that the specimen examined
weighed more, specifically at 0.06 gram, excluding its plastic container.

In drugs cases, the prosecution must show that the integrity of the corpus delicti
has been preserved. 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. “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. 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. “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, as any taint of irregularity affects the whole
performance and should make the presumption unavailable. (PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES versus GARYZALDY GUZON,G.R. No. 199901, October
9,2013,REYES, J.:)

Failure to immediately marked the seized drugs Jurisprudence tells us that the
failure to immediately mark seized drugs will not automatically impair the integrity of
chain of custody. The failure to strictly comply with Sec. 21(1), Art. II of RA 9165 does
not necessarily render an accused’s arrest illegal or the items seized or confiscated from
him inadmissible. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and
the evidentiary value of the seized items, as these would be utilized in the determination
of the guilt or innocence of the accused. As we held in People v. Cortez, testimony about
a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain
an unbroken chain.
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“What Section 21 of R.A. No. 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. 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.”

To be able to create a first link in the chain of custody, then, what is required is
that the marking be made in the presence of the accused and upon immediate
confiscation. “Immediate confiscation” has no exact definition. Thus, in People v. Gum-
Oyen, 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. Marking upon immediate confiscation contemplates even marking at the
nearest police station or office of the apprehending team. (PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES versus GIOVANNI OCFEMIA y CHAVEZ,G.R. No. 185383,
September 25, 2013 ,LEONARDO-DE CASTRO.)

Crime of illegal sale of dangerous drugs necessarily includes the crime of


illegal possession .As for the illegal delivery of dangerous drugs, it must be proven that
(1) the accused passed on possession of a dangerous drug to another, personally or
otherwise, and by any means; (2) such delivery is not authorized by law; and (3) the
accused knowingly made the delivery. Worthy of note is that the delivery may be
committed even without consideration.

For the prosecution of illegal possession of dangerous drugs to prosper, the


following essential elements must be proven, namely: (1) the accused is in possession of
an item or object that is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not
authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possess the said drug.

Well-settled in jurisprudence that the crime of illegal sale of dangerous drugs


necessarily includes the crime of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. The same ruling
may also be applied to the other acts penalized under Article II, Section 5 of Republic Act
No. 9165 because for the accused to be able to trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give
away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit, or transport any dangerous drug, he must
necessarily be in possession of said drugs.
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The Court had previously held that in dangerous drugs cases, the failure of the
police officers to make a physical inventory, to photograph, and to mark the seized drugs
at the place of arrest do not render said drugs inadmissible in evidence or automatically
impair the integrity of the chain of custody of the same. The Court had further clarified,
in relation to the requirement of marking the drugs “immediately after seizure and
confiscation,” that the marking may be undertaken at the police station rather than at the
place of arrest for as long as it is done in the presence of the accused and that what is of
utmost importance is the preservation of its integrity and evidentiary value. (PEOPLE
OF THE PHILIPPINES versus MICHAEL MAONGCO y YUMONDA G.R. No.
196966, October 23,2013,TERESITA LEONARDO-DE CASTRO)

Credibility of police officers who conducted the buy-bust operation .We will
still pass upon this question considering the gravity of its consequences on the liberty of
appellant. We take this opportunity to reiterate jurisprudence which states that
noncompliance with Section 21 does not necessarily render the arrest illegal or the items
seized inadmissible because what is essential is that the integrity and evidentiary value of
the seized items are preserved which would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or
innocence of the accused.

The testimony of PO2 Santos and PO1 Chavez eiived the scrutiny of both the trial
court judge and the defense counsel and was adjudged to be credible and worthy of belief
not only by the trial court but also by the appellate court. This is significant considering
that we have stated in jurisprudence that the successful prosecution of drug cases is
dependent, in large part, to the credibility of the police officers who conducted the buy-
bust operation. In this case, we find no reason to question the credibility of the
prosecution witnesses considering that, time and again, we have held that the
determination of the credibility of witnesses by the trial court, when affirmed by the
appellate court, is accorded full weight and credit as well as great respect, if not
conclusive effect. (People vs. Castillo,G.R. No. 190180, November 27, 2013,Leonardo-
De Castro, J.)

Failure to make an inventory and to take photographs of the subject drug. In


People v. Seraspe, 688 SCRA 289 (2013), the Court emphasized that in the prosecution of
illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the two essential elements of the offense must concur,
namely: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and
(2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.
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“A buy-475 and distributors.” Since Loks was caught by the buy-bust team in
flagrante delicto, his immediate arrest was also validly made. The accused was caught in
the act and had to be apprehended on the spot. From the very nature of a buy-bust
operation, the absence of a warrant did not make the arrest illegal. Section 5(a), Rule 113
of the Rules of Court authorizes a warrantless arrest by a peace officer and even a private
person “when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed or is attempting to
commit an offense.” The legitimate warrantless arrest also cloaks the arresting police
officer with the authority to validly search and seize from the offender those that may be
used to prove the commission of the offense.

The drug seized during the buy-bust operation, which is considered the crime’s
corpus delicti, was sufficiently established as containing shabu, a dangerous drug. SPO1
Velasco’s marking of the seized drug immediately upon his arrival at the police station
qualified as a compliance with the marking requirement. Contrary to the argument of the
defense, even the buy-bust team’s failure to make an inventory and to take photographs
of the subject drug did not adversely affect the prosecution’s case. What is essential is
that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items which would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused are preserved. In this case, the
defense failed to substantiate its claim that such integrity and evidentiary value of the
subject drug was adversely affected by the police officers’ handling thereof. (People vs.
Loks ,G.R. No. 203433, November 27, 2013,Reyes, J.:)

Failure to make an inventory and to take photographs of the subject drug.


ALFREDO CERDON Y SANCHEZ, was arrested via buy-bust operation, being a person
not authorized by law to sell and deliver, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
feloniously sell and deliver to a poseur-buyer one (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic
sachet containing methylamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu), a dangerous drug.
Appellant denied the charge against him. He narrated that he was having snack with his
live in partner Yvette Jose when three male persons entered his house. He recognized
them as PO1 Yusi, PO3 Laxamana and PO3 Agustin. These three police officers poked
their guns on appellant while PO1 Yusi searched his room. While he was held at the
kitchen, appellant heard PO1 Yusi utter the word "bingo." PO1 Yusi emerged carrying a
gun allegedly confiscated from appellant. Afterwards, appellant was brought to the police
station. The RTC rendered a Decision finding appellant guilty of violation of Section 5,
Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life
imprisonment.
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Appellant appealed his conviction before this Court, adopting the same arguments
in his Brief before the Court of Appeals.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused is guilty of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No.
9165.

HELD: Yes. In every prosecution for illegal sale of shabu, the following elements must
be sufficiently proved: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and the
consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. Indeed, all
these elements were duly established. Appellant was caught in flagrante delicto selling
shabu through a buy-bust operation conducted by members of the Special Operations
Group of Mabalacat, Pampanga.

The failure of the prosecution to show that the police officers conducted the
required physical inventory and photograph of the evidence confiscated in the presence of
representatives from the media and the DOJ pursuant to said guidelines does not
automatically render appellant’s arrest illegal or the item seized from him inadmissible. A
proviso was added in the implementing rules that “noncompliance with these
requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value
of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not
render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items.” Pertinently, it is
the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items which must be
proven to establish the corpus delicti.

Marking; The general rule is that “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, and (2)
immediately upon confiscation. To be able to create a first link in the chain of custody,
then, what is required is that the marking should be made in the presence of the accused
and upon immediate confiscation. (People vs. Cerdon,G.R. No. 201111, August 6,
2014,Perez, J.:)

Failure to make an inventory and to take photographs of the subject drug. In


every prosecution for the illegal sale of shabu, under Section 5, Article II of RA 9165, the
following elements must be proved: “(1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the
object and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor. x xxWhat is material in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the
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proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in
court of the corpus delicti” or the illicit drug in evidence. On the other hand, in
prosecuting a case for illegal possession of dangerous drugs under Section 11, Article II
of the same law, the following elements must concur: “(1) the accused is in possession of
an item or object, which is identified as a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not
authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug.

Appellant’s contention that the buy-bust team should have coordinated with the
PDEA on the day the entrapment operation occurred deserves scant consideration.
Coordination with the PDEA 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.

There is a proviso in the implementing rules stating that when it is shown that
there exist justifiable grounds and proof that the integrity and evidentiary value of the
evidence have been preserved, the seized items can still be used in determining the guilt
or innocence of the accused. Here, the absence of evidence that the buy-bust team made
an inventory and took photographs of the drugs seized from appellant was not fatal since
the prosecution was able to preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the shabu. PO3
Ruiz, the poseur-buyer and apprehending officer, marked the seized items in front of
appellant, the barangay captain and other members of the buy-bust team, immediately
after the consummation of the drug transaction. He then delivered the seized items to the
duty investigator, who in turn sent the same to the PNP Crime Laboratory for
examination on the same day. During trial, PO3 Ruiz was able to identify the said
markings and explain how they were made.

All the elements in the prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs were
also established. First, the two plastic sachets containing shabu subject of the case for the
illegal possession of drugs were found in appellant’s pocket after a search on his person
was made following his arrest in flagrante delicto for the illegal sale of shabu. It must be
remembered that a person lawfully arrested may be searched for anything which may
have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a warrant.
Second, appellant did not adduce evidence showing his legal authority to possess the
shabu. Third, appellant’s act of allowing the poseur-buyer to choose one from among the
three sachets and putting back into his pocket the two sachets of shabu not chosen clearly
shows that he freely and consciously possessed the illegal drugs. Hence, appellant was
correctly charged and convicted for illegal possession of shabu. (People vs.
Montevirgen ,G.R. No. 189840 December 11, 2013,Del Castillo, J. )
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FACTS: The said accused was arrested through buy-bust operation, not being authorized
by law to sell, dispense, deliver, transport or distribute any dangerous drug, did, then and
there, willfully, and unlawfully sell, dispense, deliver, transport, distribute or act as broker
in the said transaction, almost one kilo of white crystalline substance containing
Methylamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug.

The accused-appellants denied the commission of the crime. They alleged that a buy-bust
operation was never conducted by the police officers. Both of them were temporarily
staying in the residence of Spouses Pauto and Armpo Lilog when the policemen forced
their way into the house. In the police station, all of them were asked to pay the total
amount of one (1) million pesos for their release. As accused-appellants failed to give any
amount, only Noro and Spouses Pauto and Armpo Lilog were released.

ISSUE: Whether or not the accused is guilty of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act No.
9165.

HELD: Yes. The following elements must be proven: (1) the identity of the buyer and
seller, object and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor. In other words, there is a need to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the
accused actually sold and delivered a prohibited drug to another, and that the former
indeed knew that what he had sold and delivered to the latter was a prohibited drug.

Although this Court finds that the police officers did not strictly comply with the
requirements of Section 21, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, such noncompliance did not
affect the evidentiary weight of the drug seized from the accused-appellants because the
chain of custody of the evidence was shown to be unbroken under the circumstances of
the case. Similarly, Section 86 of R.A. No. 9165 is silent as to the consequence of failure
to comply therewith; hence, the same shall not be considered as a sole ground to make an
arrest without the participation of the PDEA illegal or evidence obtained pursuant to such
an arrest inadmissible. Note that the subject drug confiscated from the accused-appellants
was properly accounted for and forthrightly submitted to the PNP Crime Laboratory for
its extensive examination.

The defense of frame-up in drug cases requires strong and convincing evidence to
overcome the presumption that the law enforcement agencies acted in the regular
performance of their official duties. On the other hand, courts generally view the defense
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of denial with disfavor due to the facility with which an accused can concoct it to suit his
or her defense. (People vs. Basman,G.R. No. 204911, August 6, 2014,Perez, J.:)

Coordination with PDEA is not an indispensable element of a proper buy-


bust operation. In the first place, coordination with the PDEA is not an indispensable
requirement before police authorities may carry out a buy-bust operation. While it is true
that Section 86 of Republic Act No. 9165 requires the National Bureau of Investigation,
PNP and the Bureau of Customs to maintain "close coordination with the PDEA on all
drug related matters," the provision does not, by so saying, make PDEA’s participation a
condition sine qua nonfor every buy-bust operation. After all, a buy-bust is just a form of
an in flagrante arrest sanctioned by Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of the Court, which
police authorities may rightfully resort to in apprehending violators of Republic Act No.
9165 in support of the PDEA. A buy-bust operation is not invalidated by mere non-
coordination with the PDEA.

What Section 21 of R.A. No. 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. Consistency with the 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. (People vs. Balaquiot,G.R. No. 206366, August 13,
2014,Perez, J.:)

Coordination with PDEA is not an indispensable element of a proper buy-


bust operation. The omission of the CA to discuss and pass upon the same in its assailed
Decision is not a fatal flaw since coordination of the buy-bust operation with the PDEA is
not an indispensable element of the crimes of illegal sale and possession of dangerous
drugs such as shabu. (People vs. Gabuya,G.R. No. 195245, February 16, 2015,Del
Castillo, J.)

What does marking upon immediate confiscation means?. When prosecuting


the sale or possession of dangerous drugs like shabu, the State must prove not only the
elements of each of the offenses. It must prove as well the corpus delicti, failing in which
the State will be unable to discharge its basic duty of proving the guilt of the accused
beyond reasonable doubt. To prove the corpus delicti, the prosecution must show that the
dangerous drugs seized from the accused and subsequently examined in the laboratory
are the same dangerous drugs presented in court as evidence to prove his guilt. To ensure
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that this is done right and that the integrity of the evidence of the dangerous drugs is
safeguarded, Congress outlined in Sec. 21 of R.A. 9165 the mandatory procedure that law
enforcers must observe following the seizure of such substance.

The Court has of course held that noncompliance with the procedural safeguards
provided in Sec. 21 of R.A. 9165 and its IRR would not necessarily void the seizure and
custody of the dangerous drugs for as long as there is a justifiable ground for it and the
integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved. Here,
however, the buy-bust team did not bother to show that they “intended to comply with the
procedure but where thwarted by some justifiable reason or consideration.” Accordingly,
despite the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty, this Court
stresses that the step-by-step procedure outlined under R.A. 9165 is a matter of
substantive law, which cannot be simply brushed aside as a simple procedural
technicality.

It begins with the marking of the seized objects to fix its identity; Marking upon
“immediate” confiscation can reasonably cover marking done at the nearest police station
or office of the apprehending team, especially when the place of seizure is volatile and
could draw unpredictable reactions from its surroundings. (People vs. Bautista ,G.R. No.
198113 December 11, 2013,Abad, J.:)

Marking of the seized substance immediately upon arrival at the police


station. In People v. Loks, we acknowledged that a buy-bust operation is a legally
effective and proven procedure, sanctioned by law, for apprehending drug peddlers and
distributors. Since accused-appellant was caught by the buy-bust team in flagrante
delicto, his immediate arrest was also validly made. The accused was caught in the act
and had to be apprehended on the spot.

In a catena of cases, this Court laid down the essential elements to be duly
established for a successful prosecution of offenses involving the illegal sale of
dangerous or prohibited drugs, like shabu, under Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165,
to wit: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and the
consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and payment therefor. Briefly, the
delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt of the marked money by the
seller successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction. What is material, therefore, is
the proof that the transaction or sale transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of
thecorpus delicti.
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Indeed, as we held in People v. Torres, equally important in every prosecution for


illegal sale of dangerous or prohibited drugs is the presentation of evidence of the seized
drug as the corpus delicti. The identity of the prohibited drug must be proved with moral
certainty. It must also be established with the same degree of certitude that the substance
bought or seized during the buy-bust operation is the same item offered in court as
exhibit. In this regard, paragraph 1, Section 21, Article II of R. A. No. 9165 (the chain of
custody rule) provides for safeguards for the protection of the identity and integrity of
dangerous drugs seized.

However, this Court has, in many cases, held that while the chain of custody
should ideally be perfect, in reality it is not, “as it is almost always impossible to obtain
an unbroken chain.” The most important factor is the preservation of the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items as they will be used to determine the guilt or
innocence of the accused. Hence, the prosecution’s failure to submit in evidence the
physical inventory and photograph of the seized drugs as required under Article 21 of R.
A. No. 9165, will not render the accused’s arrest illegal or the items seized from him
inadmissible.

The chain of custody is not established solely by compliance with the prescribed
physical inventory and photographing of the seized drugs in the presence of the
enumerated persons. The Implementing Rules and Regulations of R. A. No. 9165 on the
handling and disposition of seized dangerous drugs states: Provided, further, that non-
compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending
officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said
items.

As to the fact that PO1 Sta. Maria was able to mark the seized sachet only at the
police station, in People v. Loks, we held that the marking of the seized substance
immediately upon arrival at the police station qualified as a compliance with the marking
requirement. Such can also be said here in light of the fact that the reason why PO1 Sta.
Maria was unable to immediately mark the seized sachet was due to accused-appellant’s
resistance to arrest and, as at that time, he did not know accused-appellant’s name yet.
(People vs. Usman,G.R. No. 201100, February 4, 2015,Perez, J.:)

Marking upon immediate confiscation .To secure a conviction for illegal sale of
shabu, the following essential elements must be established: (1) the identities of the buyer
and the seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration for the sale; and (2) the
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delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material in the prosecution of
an illegal sale of dangerous drugs is proof that the transaction or sale actually took place,
coupled with the presentation of the corpus delicti in court as evidence. The commission
of illegal sale merely requires the consummation of the selling transaction, which
happens the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. As long as a police
officer or civilian asset went through the operation as a buyer, whose offer was accepted
by the appellant, followed by the delivery of the dangerous drugs to the former, the crime
is already consummated. In the case at bar, the prosecution has amply proven all the
elements of the drug sale with moral certainty.

For the successful prosecution of the crime of illegal possession of dangerous


drugs, the following requisites must concur: (a) the accused was in possession of an item
or object that is identified to be a prohibited or dangerous drug; (b) such possession was
not authorized by law; and (c) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. The
foregoing elements were likewise convincingly established herein. When the police
operatives bodily searched appellant for his wallet at the police station, they found eight
(8) plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance which, upon laboratory
examination, turned out to be shabu.

To ascertain that the illegal drugs presented in court are the ones actually seized
from the accused, the prosecution must show that: (a) the prescribed procedure under
Section 21(1), Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165 has been complied with or falls
within the saving clause provided in Section 21(a), Article II of the Implementing Rules
and Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9165; and (b) there was an unbroken link in the chain
of custody with respect to the confiscated items.

The allegation of appellant that the apprehending officers failed to comply with
the mandates of Section 21, particularly paragraph 1, of R.A. No. 9165 has no basis. In
addition to this, jurisprudence states that “the phrase ‘marking upon immediate
confiscation’ contemplates even marking at the nearest police station or office of the
apprehending team.” Hence, the fact that the seized plastic sachets were marked at the
police station only does not deviate from the elements required in the preservation of the
integrity of the seized drugs.

The Supreme Court (SC) has, in many cases held that while the chain of custody
should ideally be perfect, in reality it is not, as it is almost always impossible to obtain an
unbroken chain.—Indeed, this Court has, in many cases held that “while the chain of
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custody should ideally be perfect, in reality it is not, as it is almost always impossible to


obtain an unbroken chain. The most important factor is the preservation of the integrity
and the evidentiary value of the seized items as they will be used to determine the guilt or
innocence of the accused.”

Pursuant to Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, the illegal sale of dangerous
drugs is punishable by life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five Hundred
Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00), regardless of the
quantity or purity of the drug involved. However, since the imposition of the death
penalty has been prohibited by R.A. No. 9346, only the penalties of life imprisonment
and fine may be imposed. The RTC and the CA, therefore, correctly imposed the
penalties of life imprisonment and a fine in the amount of P500,000.00 on appellant in
Criminal Case No. 0099-2003. (People vs. Endaya,G.R. No. 205741, July 23,
2014,Perez, J.:)

Essence of marking the seized drugs . The manner and timing of the marking of
the seized drugs or related items are crucial in proving the chain of custody. Certainly, the
marking after seizure by the arresting officer, being the starting point in the custodial link,
should be made immediately upon the seizure, or, if that is not possible, as close to the
time and place of the seizure as practicable under the obtaining circumstances. This
stricture is essential because the succeeding handlers of the contraband would use the
markings as their reference to the seizure. The marking further serves to separate the
marked seized drugs from all other evidence from the time of seizure from the accused
until the drugs are disposed of upon the termination of the criminal proceedings. The
deliberate taking of these identifying steps is statutorily aimed at obviating switching,
“planting” or contamination of the evidence. Indeed, the preservation of the chain of
custody vis-à-vis the contraband ensures the integrity of the evidence incriminating the
accused, and relates to the element of relevancy as one of the requisites for the
admissibility of the evidence.
The consequences of the failure of the arresting lawmen to comply with the
requirements of Section 21(1), supra, were dire as far as the Prosecution was concerned.
Without the insulating presence of the representative from the media or the Department
of Justice, or any elected public official during the seizure and marking of the sachets of
shabu, the evils of switching, “planting” or contamination of the evidence that had tainted
the buy-busts conducted under the regime of RA No. 6425(Dangerous Drugs Act of
1972) again reared their ugly heads as to negate the integrity and credibility of the seizure
and confiscation of the sachets ofshabu that were evidence herein of the corpus delicti,
and thus adversely affected the trustworthiness of the incrimination of the accused.
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Indeed, the insulating presence of such witnesses would have preserved an


unbrokenchain of custody.The last paragraph of Section 21(1) of the IRR of RA No.
9165expressly provides a saving mechanism to the effect that not every case ofnon-
compliance with the statutory requirements for the physical inventoryand photograph of
the dangerous drugs being made “in the presence of theaccused or the person/s from
whom such items were confiscated and/orseized, or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the mediaand the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected
public official whoshall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a
copythereof” would prejudice the State’s case against the accused. But in orderfor that
saving mechanism to apply, and thus save the day for the State’scause, the Prosecution
must have to recognize first the lapse or lapses, and then credibly explain them. (People v
Estrada,G.R. No. 192432, June 23, 2014,Bersamin, J.:)

Essence of marking the seized drugs. This Court has held that the failure to
strictly comply with Section 21, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, such as immediately
marking seized drugs, will not automatically impair the integrity of chain of custody
because what is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items, as these would be utilized in the determination of
the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Section 21 and its IRR do not even mention “marking.” What they require are (1)
physical inventory, and (2) taking of photographs. As this Court held in People v.
Ocfemia: What Section 21 of R.A. No. 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. 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.

The prosecution was able to establish the chain of custody of the seized
marijuana from the time the police officers confiscated it, to the time it was turned over
to the investigating officer, up to the time it was brought to the forensic chemist for
laboratory examination. This Court has no reason to overrule the RTC and the Court of
Appeals, which both found the chain of custody of the seized drugs to have not been
broken so as to render the marijuana seized from Calantiao inadmissible in evidence.
Furthermore, unless it can be shown that there was bad faith, ill will, or tampering of the
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evidence, the presumption that the integrity of the evidence has been preserved will
remain. The burden of showing the foregoing to overcome the presumption that the
police officers handled the seized drugs with regularity, and that they properly discharged
their duties is on Calantiao. Unfortunately, Calantiao failed to discharge such burden.
(People vs. Dimalanta,G.R. No. 203984, June 18, 2014,Leonardo – De Castro J.)

Effect when marking was done by the accused. Even granting, for the sake of
argument, that the appellant’s warrantless arrest was valid, the latter’s acquittal is still in
order due to the prosecution’s failure to establish the evidence of the corpus delicti with
moral certainty. We stress that “[t]he existence of dangerous drugs is a condition sine qua
non for conviction for the illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs, it being the very
corpus delicti of the crimes.” Thus, the evidence of the corpus delicti must be established
beyond reasonable doubt. In the present case, the various lapses — enumerated and
discussed below — committed by the police in the handling, safekeeping and custody
over the seized drug tainted the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated shabu.

Marking, as used in drug cases, means the placing by the apprehending officer or
the poseur-buyer of his/her initials and signature on the item/s seized. “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.” The Court clarified in People v. Resurreccion, 603
SCRA 510 (2009), that marking upon immediate confiscation contemplates even marking
at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending team. Thus, while marking of
the seized drugs at the police station is permitted, the marking should be done by
the police, and not by the accused. The appellant’s participation in the marking
procedure should only be as a witness. Why the police failed to do a basic police
procedure truly baffles us.

To be sure, Section 21(a), Article II of the IRR offers some flexibility in


complying with the express requirements under paragraph 1, Section 21, Article II of
R.A. No. 9165, i.e., “noncompliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds,
as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly
preserved bythe apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such
seizures of and custody over said items.” This saving clause, however, applies only where
the prosecution recognized the procedural lapses and thereafter explained the cited
justifiable grounds, and when the prosecution established that the integrity and
evidentiary value of the evidence seized had been preserved.
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Although the Court has recognized that minor deviations from the procedures
under R.A. No. 9165 would not automatically exonerate an accused, we have also
declared that when there is gross disregard of the procedural safeguards prescribed in the
substantive law (R.A. No. 9165), serious uncertainty is generated about the identity of the
seized items that the prosecution presented in evidence. This doubt cannot be remedied
by simply invoking the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties,
for a gross, systematic, or deliberate disregard of the procedural safeguards effectively
produces an irregularity in the performance of official duties.

In sum, we hold that the appellant’s acquittal is in order since the shabu
purportedly seized from him is inadmissible in evidence for being the proverbial fruit of
the poisonous tree. Corollarily, the prosecution’s failure to comply with Section 21,
Article II of R.A. No. 9165, and with the chain of custody requirement of this Act,
compromised the identity of the item seized, leading to the failure to adequately prove the
corpus delicti of the crime charged. (People vs. Edano,G.R. No. 188133, July 7,
2014,Brion, J:)

A person apprehended or arrested defined. “A person apprehended or arrested”


cannot literally mean any person apprehended or arrested for any crime. The phrase must
be read in context and understood in consonance with R.A. No. 9165. Section 15
comprehends persons arrested or apprehended for unlawful acts listed under Article II of
the law. Hence, a drug test can be made upon persons who are apprehended or arrested
for, among others, the “importation,” “sale, trading, administration, dispensation,
delivery, distribution and transportation,” “manufacture” and “possession” of dangerous
drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals; possession thereof “during
parties, social gatherings or meetings”; being “employees and visitors of a den, dive or
resort”; “maintenance of a den, dive or resort”; “illegal chemical diversion of controlled
precursors and essential chemicals”; “manufacture or delivery” or “possession” of
equipment, instrument, apparatus, and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs and/or
controlled precursors and essential chemicals; possession of dangerous drugs “during
parties, social gatherings or meetings”; “unnecessary” or “unlawful” prescription thereof;
“cultivation or culture of plants classified as dangerous drugs or are sources thereof”; and
“maintenance and keeping of original records of transactions on dangerous drugs and/or
controlled precursors and essential chemicals.” To make the provision applicable to all
persons arrested or apprehended for any crime not listed under Article II is tantamount to
unduly expanding its meaning. Note that accused appellant here was arrested in the
alleged act of extortion.
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Making the phrase “a person apprehended or arrested” in Section 15 applicable to


all persons arrested or apprehended for unlawful acts, not only under R.A. 9165 but for
all other crimes, is tantamount to a mandatory drug testing of all persons apprehended or
arrested for any crime. To overextend the application of this provision would run counter
to our pronouncement in Social Justice Society v. Dangerous Drugs Board and Philippine
Drug Enforcement Agency, 570 SCRA 410 (2008), to wit: x x x [M]andatory drug testing
can never be random and suspicionless. The ideas of randomness and being suspicionless
are antithetical to their being made defendants in a criminal complaint. They are not
randomly picked; neither are they beyond suspicion. When persons suspected of
committing a crime are charged, they are singled out and are impleaded against their will.
The persons thus charged, by the bare fact of being haled before the prosecutor’s office
and peaceably submitting themselves to drug testing, if that be the case, do not
necessarily consent to the procedure, let alone waive their right to privacy. To impose
mandatory drug testing on the accused is a blatant attempt to harness a medical test as a
tool for criminal prosecution, contrary to the stated objectives of RA 6195. Drug testing
in this case would violate a person’s right to privacy guaranteed under Sec. 2, Art. III of
the Constitution. Worse still, the accused persons are veritably forced to incriminate
themselves.

The Supreme Court (SC) cannot condone drug testing of all arrested persons
regardless of the crime or offense for which the arrest is being made. (Dela Cruz vs.
People,G.R. No. 200748, July 23, 2014,Sereno, CJ.:)

Entrapment and Instigation distinguished. The elements necessary for the


prosecution of the illegal sale of drugs are as follows: (1) the identity of the buyer and the
seller, the object and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and payment
therefor. The prosecution, to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt, must present in
evidence the corpus delicti of the case. The corpus delicti is the seized illegal drugs.

It is elementary that entrapment and instigation are different. In instigation, the


instigator induces the would-be-defendant into committing the offense, and himself
becomes a co-principal. In entrapment, the means originates from the mind of the
criminal. Otherwise stated, the idea and the resolve to commit the crime come from the
criminal. While in instigation, the law enforcer conceives the commission of the crime
and suggests the same to the accused who adopts the idea and carries it into execution.
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The defense’s mere denial of the charges and allegations of instigation and frame-
up cannot prevail over the clear and unequivocal pieces of evidence presented by the
prosecution. We are not unaware of the common defenses of frame-up or instigation by
police officers in illegal drugs cases. However, because instigation and frame-up as a
defense can easily be concocted and fabricated, they are given little evidentiary value.
(People vs. Ampatuan,G.R. No. 188707, July 30, 2014,Perez, J.:)

Entrapment and Instigation distinguished. There is entrapment when law


officers employ ruses and schemes to ensure the apprehension of the criminal while in the
actual commission of the crime. There is instigation when the accused is induced to
commit the crime. The difference in the nature of the two lies in the origin of the criminal
intent. In entrapment, the mensrea originates from the mind of the criminal. The idea and
the resolve to commit the crime comes from him. In instigation, the law officer conceives
the commission of the crime and suggests to the accused who adopts the idea and carries
it into execution. Regardless of the willingness of AAA and BBB, therefore, to be
trafficked, we affirm the text and spirit of our laws. Minors should spend their
adolescence moulding their character in environments free of the vilest motives and the
worse of other human beings. The evidence and the law compel us to affirm the
conviction of accused in this case. (People vs Shirley A. Casio,G.R. No. 211465,
December 03, 2014,Leonen, J.:)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21. Non-compliance with Section 21,


19 Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 is not fatal and will not render an accused's arrest
illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. In People v. Del Monte,
this Court held that what is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and
the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. x x x.

Frame-Up; Denials; Frame-up are invariably viewed with disfavor because such
defenses can easily be fabricated and are common ploy in prosecutions for the illegal sale
and possession of dangerous drugs. They deserve scant consideration in light of the
positive testimonies of the police officers. (People vs. Bala,G.R. No. 203048, August 13,
2014,Perez, J.:)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21. The essential elements in illegal


possession of dangerous drugs are (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object
that is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and
(3) the accused freely and consciously possess the said drug.
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The Court gives full faith and credence to the testimonies of the police officers
and upholds the presumption of regularity in the apprehending officers’ performance of
official duty. It is a settled rule that in cases involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs
Act, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who are police officers, for they are
presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is evidence to
the contrary. However, petitioner failed to present clear and convincing evidence to
overturn the presumption that the arresting officers regularly performed their duties.
Except for his bare allegations of denial and frame-up, and that the police officers had
mistakenly identified him as Bobot, his younger brother, nothing supports his claim that
the police officers were impelled by improper motives to testify against him. Needless to
stress, the integrity of the evidence is presumed to be preserved, unless there is a showing
of bad faith, ill will, or proof that the evidence has been tampered with. On petitioner’s
claim that at the time of his arrest, Bobot was actually confined in a rehabilitation center
in Bicutan, we note that petitioner failed to fulfill his promise to prove it as fact.

Likewise, this Court has invariably viewed with disfavor the defenses of denial
and frame-up. Such defenses can easily be fabricated and are common ploy in
prosecutions for the illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs. In order to prosper,
such defenses must be proved with strong and convincing evidence.

Moreover, it bears stressing that in weighing the testimonies of the prosecution


witnesses vis-à-vis those of the defense, the RTC gave more credence to the version of
the prosecution. This Court finds no reason to disagree. Well-settled is the rule that in the
absence of palpable error or grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial judge, the
trial court’s evaluation of the credibility of witnesses will not be disturbed on appeal. 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. The rule finds an even more stringent application where said
findings are sustained by the CA as in this case.

Lastly, petitioner claims that there were no inventory and photographs of the
prohibited item allegedly seized from him. He argues that as a result of this failure, there
is doubt as to the identity and integrity of the drugs, and there was a break in the chain of
custody of the evidence. The argument does not hold water.

Section 21 of the IRR of R.A. No. 9165 provides:


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SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or


Surrendered Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors
and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment.— The
PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of
dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or
surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:

(a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs
shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, 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, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the
media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be
required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof; Provided, that
the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search
warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the
apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures;
Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds,
as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved
by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and
custody over said items.

Based on the foregoing, this Court has held that non-compliance with the above-
mentioned requirements is not fatal. Non-compliance with Section 21 of the IRR does not
make the items seized inadmissible. What is imperative is “the preservation of the
integrity and the evidential value of the seized items as the same would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.”

In this case, the chain of custody was established through the following link: (1)
PO1 Mariano marked the seized sachet subject of the in flagrante delicto arrest with
“EXH A ARM 04-16-03” which stands for his full name, Aldrin Reyes Mariano;37 (2) a
request for laboratory examination of the seized item was signed by P/Sr. Insp. Rodrigo
E. Villaruel;38 (3) the request and the marked item seized were personally delivered by
PO1 Sabo and received by the PNP Crime Laboratory on the same day of the arrest on
April 16, 2003; (4) Chemistry Report No. D-687-03E39 confirmed that the marked item
seized from petitioner was methamphetamine hydrochloride; and (5) the marked item
was duly identified by PO1 Mariano in court and offered in evidence.
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Hence, it is clear that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized drugs
were preserved. This Court, therefore, finds no reason to overturn the findings of the RTC
that the drugs seized from petitioner were the same ones presented during trial.
Accordingly, we hold that the chain of custody of the illicit drugs seized from petitioner
remains unbroken, contrary to the assertions of petitioner. (People vs. Portuguez,G.R.
No. 194499, January 14, 2015,Villarama, Jr.)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21 .Section 13, Article II of R.A. No.


9165, which provides: Possession of Dangerous Drugs During Parties, Social
Gatherings or Meetings. – Any person found possessing any dangerous drug during a
party, or at a social gathering or meeting, or in the proximate company of at least two (2)
persons, shall suffer the maximum penalties provided for in Section 11 of this Act,
regardless of the quantity and purity of such dangerous drugs.

The elements for the illegal possession of dangerous drugs under Section 13 of
R.A. No. 9165 are the same as those for the violation of Section 11 of the law: (1)
possession by the accused of an item or object identified to be a prohibited or dangerous
drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; (3) the free and conscious possession
of the drug by the accused, with the additional element that (4) the accused possessed the
prohibited or dangerous drug during a social gathering or meeting, or in the company of
at least two persons.

The fact that the apprehending team did not strictly comply with the procedural
requirements of Section 21(1), Article II of R.A. No. 9165 does not necessarily render
appellants’ arrest illegal or the items seized from them inadmissible in evidence. As held
by this Court in the case of People v. Llanita: RA 9165 and its subsequent Implementing
Rules and Regulations (IRR) do not require strict compliance as to the chain of custody
rule. x x x. We have emphasized that what is essential is “the preservation of the integrity
and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.”

Briefly stated, non-compliance with the procedural requirements under RA 9165


and its IRR relative to the custody, photographing, and drug-testing of the apprehended
persons, is not a serious flaw that can render void the seizures and custody of drugs in a
buy-bust operation. We recognize that the strict compliance with the requirements of
Section 21 may not always be possible under field conditions; the police operates under
varied conditions, and cannot at all times attend to all the niceties of the procedures in the
handling of confiscated evidence.
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Indeed, the defenses of denial and frame-up have been invariably viewed by this
Court with disfavor for it can easily be concocted and is a common and standard defense
ploy in prosecutions for violations of the Dangerous Drugs Act. In order to prosper, the
defenses of denial and frame-up must be proved with strong and convincing evidence. In
the case before us, appellants failed to present sufficient evidence in support of their
claims. Aside from their self-serving assertions, no plausible proof was presented to
bolster their allegations. Consequently, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence
that the police officers were inspired by any improper motive, this Court will not
appreciate the defense of denial or frame-up and instead apply the presumption of
regularity in the performance of official duty by law enforcement agents. (People vs.
Pavia and Buendia, G.R. No. 202687, January 14, 2015,Perez, J.:)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21 The essential elements of illegal


possession of dangerous drugs are (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object
that is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and
(3) the accused freely and consciously possess the said drug.

We find that these essential elements were proven in this case. Appellant was
caught in flagrante possessing 12.882 grams of shabu, a dangerous drug, packed in four
big sachets. His possession of said dangerous drugs is not authorized by law. And he
was freely and consciously possessing the contraband as shown by his act of handing
these four sachets to PO1 Condez in an intended sale. We note that appellant was
positively identified by PO1 Condez as the one who handed over the four sachets.
However, the money was not given to appellant as it was intended only as show money.

The Court gives full faith and credence to the testimonies of the police officers
and upholds the presumption of regularity in the apprehending officers’ performance of
official duty. It is a settled rule that in cases involving violations of the Dangerous Drugs
Act, credence is given to prosecution witnesses who are police officers, for they are
presumed to have performed their duties in a regular manner, unless there is evidence to
the contrary.

On the other hand, appellant failed to present clear and convincing evidence to
overturn the presumption that the arresting officers regularly performed their duties.
Except for his bare allegations of denial and frame-up that a certain Muslim was behind
his arrest, nothing supports his claim that the police officers were impelled by improper
motives to testify against him. In fact, in his direct testimony, appellant was asked
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whether he knew said Muslim but despite the opportunity given to him, he failed to
identify him in court.

This Court has invariably viewed with disfavor the defenses of denial and frame-
up. Such defenses can easily be fabricated and are common ploy in prosecutions for the
illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs. In order to prosper, such defenses must
be proved with strong and convincing evidence.

Appellant’s claim that the absence of inventory of the prohibited items allegedly
seized from him creates doubt as to the identity and integrity of the drugs and that there
was a break in the chain of custody of the evidence cannot prosper. Evidently, Section 21
of the IRR of R.A. No. 9165 lays down exceptions to its requirements. Thus, non-
compliance with the above-mentioned requirements is not fatal. In fact it has been ruled
time and again that non-compliance with Section 21 of the IRR does not make the items
seized inadmissible. What is imperative is “the preservation of the integrity and the
evidential value of the seized items as the same would be utilized in the determination of
the guilt or innocence of the accused.” (People vs. Minanga,G.R. No. 202837, January
21, 2015,Villarama, Jr., J)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21. The Court is satisfied that the
prosecution discharged its burden in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs,
which are: “(1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and consideration; and,
(2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.” This offense merely requires
the consummation of the selling transaction, which occurs the moment the buyer
exchanges his money for the drugs of the seller.

Also, appellant’s guilt for selling shabu, a dangerous drug, cannot be reversed by
her assertion that the apprehending officers failed to observe the procedure for the
custody and disposition of the seized drug as provided in Section 21(1), Article II of RA
9165, particularly the conduct of physical inventory and taking of photograph of the
seized item.

Section 21(1), Article II of RA 9165 clearly outlines the post-seizure procedure


for the custody and disposition of seized drugs. The law mandates that the police officer
taking initial custody of the drug shall immediately after seizure and confiscation, take
photograph and conduct physical inventory of the same in the presence of the accused or
the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, his/her representative
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or counsel, a representative from the media and the DOJ, and any elected public official,
who shall sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.

It can be easily understood from a cursory reading of Section 21(a) of the


Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9165 that the crucial factor is the
preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items since they will
be used to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. In this case, it is admitted that
there was no physical inventory and photographing of the seized drug as mandated by
law. However, it was shown that the integrity and evidentiary value of the item has been
preserved and remained intact. The crucial links in the chain of custody of the seized drug
subject matter of the case from its confiscation from appellant up to its presentation as
evidence was duly accounted for and shown to have not been broken. No irregularity
was shown to have attended the chain of custody of the shabu. Its identity, integrity and
probative value were preserved and kept intact by the police officers. (People vs.
Nepomuceno,G.R. No. 194999, February 9, 2015,Del Castillo, J.:)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21 . In the prosecution of a case of


illegal sale of dangerous drugs, it is necessary that the prosecution is able to establish the
following essential elements: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the
sale and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and its payment. What is
material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence. The delivery of the illicit drug to
the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the seller of the marked money successfully
consummate the buy-bust transaction.

Relevant to the instant case is the procedure to be followed in the custody and
handling of the seized dangerous drugs as outlined in Section 21(a), Article II of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 9165. The last part of the said issuance
provided the exception to the strict compliance with the requirements of Section 21 of
R.A. No. 9165. Although ideally the prosecution should offer a perfect chain of custody
in the handling of evidence, “substantial compliance with the legal requirements on the
handling of the seized item” is sufficient. This Court has consistently ruled that even if
the arresting officers failed to strictly comply with the requirements under Section 21 of
R.A. No. 9165, such procedural lapse is not fatal and will not render the items seized
inadmissible in evidence. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the
integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. In other words, to be admissible
in evidence, the prosecution must be able to present through records or testimony, the
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whereabouts of the dangerous drugs from the time these were seized from the accused by
the arresting officers; turned-over to the investigating officer; forwarded to the laboratory
for determination of their composition; and up to the time these are offered in evidence.
For as long as the chain of custody remains unbroken, as in this case, even though the
procedural requirements provided for in Sec. 21 of R.A. No. 9165 was not faithfully
observed, the guilt of the accused will not be affected.

Anent the alleged delay in the examination of the seized item, the prosecution was
able to explain through P/Insp. Laya that the examination cannot be immediately done
because of the distance of the police station to the crime laboratory. It was noted that the
apprehension of Rowena occurred in Laoag City while the PNP Crime Laboratory is in
San Fernando, La Union. PI Laya reported that although he immediately conducted a
qualitative examination of the seized item upon receipt of the request and completed his
examination and preparation of report within four (4) hours, the same would reach the
requesting party only upon the latter’s retrieval thereof. We have previously ruled that as
long as the state can show by record or testimony that the integrity of the evidence has
not been compromised by accounting for the continuous whereabouts of the object
evidence at least between the time it came into the possession of the police officers until
it was tested in the laboratory, then the prosecution can maintain that it was able to prove
the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt. (People vs. Tapugay,G.R. No. 200336,
February 11, 2015,Perez, J.:)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21.The elements necessary for the


prosecution of a charge for illegal sale of dangerous drugs under Section 5, Article II of
R.A. 9165 are: (1) the identities of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the
consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.

On the other hand, the elements of the crime of illegal possession of dangerous
drug are: (a) the accused is in possession of an item or object that is identified to be a
prohibited or dangerous drug; (b) such possession is not authorized by law; and (c) the
accused freely and consciously possessed the drug.

In Criminal Case No. CBU-83576, Dela Peña asserted that no buy-bust operation
was conducted because an illegal drug peddler will not sell shabu to a total stranger in a
public place which is open to view. Contrary to Dela Peña’s posture, peddlers of illicit
drugs have been known with ever increasing casualness and recklessness to offer and sell
their wares for the right price to anybody, be they strangers or not. Moreover, drug
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pushing when done on a small-scale, like the instant case, belongs to those types of
crimes that may be committed any time and at any place.

The lack of documentary proof of the surveillance conducted on Dela Peña, the
failure of the PDEA-7 operatives to record in their blotter the serial numbers of the buy-
bust money, and the failure of the prosecution to present as evidence the pre-operation
report, failed to create a dent on the prosecution’s evidence. A surveillance, pre-operation
report, and buy-bust money are not elements of, and are not vital to the prosecution for
illegal sale of shabu. What is material to the prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous
drugs is the proof that the illegal sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in
court of the corpus delicti as evidence.

In the prosecution of a case for violation of R.A. 9165, both for illegal sale and
illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the primary consideration is to ensure that the
identity and integrity of the seized drugs have been preserved from the time they were
confiscated from the accused until their presentation as evidence in court. The
prosecution must establish with moral certainty that the specimen submitted to the crime
laboratory and found positive for dangerous drugs, and finally introduced in evidence
against the accused was the same illegal drug that was confiscated from him.

On the alleged non-compliance with Section 21 of R.A. 9165 on the conduct of


physical inventory, the CA aptly ruled that a physical inventory was conducted and
photographs were taken, thus: x x x Records show that the confiscated items were listed
in a Certificate of Inventory which was duly signed by a media representative and elected
public official. Photographs were even taken showing that the appellants were present
when the media representative and elected official signed the certificate of inventory. In
any event, we emphasized in People v. Abedin that what is of utmost importance is to
preserve the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items as the same would be
utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. The failure of the
law enforcers to comply strictly with Section 21 of R.A. 9165 is not fatal, and its non-
compliance will not render the arrest of an accused illegal or the items seized or
confiscated from him inadmissible.

Neither the use of the initials of Dela Peña (“DSDP”) and Delima (“DCD”) in
marking the confiscated sachets at the PDEA-7 office instead of the locus criminis, create
a cloud on the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items.
“Marking” initiates the process of protecting innocent persons from dubious and
concocted searches, and of protecting as well the apprehending officers from harassment
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suits based on planting of evidence. Marking upon immediate confiscation contemplates


even marking at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending team, like what
occurred in the present case. In the same vein, the fact that the markings used in the
subject sachets were the initials of Dela Peña and Delima and not the initials of the
arresting PDEA agent is not a ground to acquit the appellants. In the similar case
of People v. Cardenas, where the seized plastic sachets containing shabu were marked
with the initials of accused-appellant, his conviction for illegal sale of dangerous drugs
was nonetheless affirmed. Further, the defense cannot raise for the first time on appeal
the question of whether the markings were made in the presence of Dela Peña and
Delima. Lapses that affected the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized illegal drugs
should be raised at the trial court level. In any case, marking of the evidence, just like the
security measures mandated under Section 21 of R.A. 9165, is aimed to ensure that the
integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated illegal drugs will be preserved. With
the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the six sachets seized from Dela
Peña and Delima, as previously discussed, the lapses allegedly committed by the PDEA-7
operatives in the marking thereof, will not suffice to reverse their conviction. (People vs.
Dela Peña and Delima,G.R. No. 207365, February 18, 2015,Villarama, Jr.:)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21. To obtain a conviction for violation


of Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 involving a buy-bust operation, the following
essential elements must be established: “(1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the
object of the sale and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and its
payment. What is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place,
coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence.” Thus, the
delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the seller of the marked
money consummate the illegal transaction.

The chain of custody requirement aims to ensure that the integrity and evidentiary
value of the seized item are preserved, so much so that doubts as to the identity of the
evidence are removed. “To be admissible, the prosecution must show by records or
testimony, the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit at least between the time it came
into possession of the police officers and until it was tested in the laboratory to determine
its composition up to the time it was offered in evidence.”

Marking the subject item at the police station did not dent the prosecution’s case.
While R.A. No. 9165 provides for the immediate marking of the seized item, it does not
specify a time frame when and where said marking should be done. In fact, in People v.
Resurreccion, the Court had the occasion to rule that marking upon immediate
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confiscation contemplates even marking at the nearest police station or office of the
apprehending team.

Finally, while it is admitted that the apprehending officers failed to conduct an


inventory of the seized item and to photograph the same as required by paragraph 1,
Section 21, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 and Section 21(a) of its Implementing Rules and
Regulations, the non-compliance did not affect the seized item’s evidentiary weight and
admissibility in evidence. As previously discussed, the chain of custody of the seized
item was unbroken, hence, its integrity and evidentiary value were not compromised. It
must be stressed that what is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized item. (People vs. Basilio,G.R. No. 195774, February 23,
2015,Del Castillo, J.:)

Effect of Non-compliance with Section 21. This Court has consistently ruled
that non-compliance with the requirements of Section 21 of RA 9165 will not necessarily
render the item seized or confiscated in a buy-bust operation inadmissible. Strict
compliance with the letter of Section 21 is not required if there is a clear showing that the
integrity and evidentiary value of the seized item have been preserved, i.e., the item being
offered in court as exhibit is, without a specter of doubt, the very same one recovered in
the buy-bust operation. Thus, the primordial concern is the preservation of the integrity
and evidentiary value of the seized items as the same would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. (PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES versus RAFAEL CUNANAN Y DAVID,G.R. No. 198024, March 16,
2015)

Testimony of poseur-buyer not indispensable. Appellant’s insistence that the


failure to present the poseur-buyer is fatal to the prosecution fails to impress. "The
relevant information acquired by the ‘poseur-buyer ‘was equally known to the police
officers who gave evidence for the prosecution at the trial. They all took part in the
planning and implementation of the [buy-bust] operation, and all were direct witnesses to
the actual sale of the [shabu, the appellant’s] arrest immediately thereafter, and the
recovery from [her] x x x of the marked money x x x. The testimony of the poseur-buyer
was not therefore indispensable or necessary; it would have been cumulative merely, or
corroborative at best." His testimony can therefore be dispensed with since the illicit
transaction was actually witnessed and adequately proved by the prosecution witnesses.
(People vs. Marcelo,G.R. No. 181541, August 18, 2014,Del Castillo, J.:)

Testimony of poseur-buyer not indispensable. In a successful prosecution for


illegal sale of shabu, the following elements must concur: “(1) the identity of the buyer
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and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and
the payment therefor. x x x What is material in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous
drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
presentation in court of the corpus delicti.”

It is clear from the foregoing that the prosecution was able to establish the
elements of illegal sale of shabu. “Prosecutions involving illegal drugs depend largely on
the credibility of the police officers who conducted the buy-bust operation.” Here, the
Court finds no reason to doubt the credibility of the prosecution witnesses and their
testimonies. The RTC and the CA are one in finding that their testimonies were direct,
definite, consistent with one another in relevant points and also with the physical
evidence. It bears to stress that the “findings of the trial courts which are factual in nature
and which involve credibility are accorded respect when no glaring errors, gross
misapprehension of facts, or speculative, arbitrary, and unsupported conclusions can be
gathered from such findings.

The Court is not impressed with appellant’s insistence that the failure to present
the poseur-buyer is fatal to the prosecution. It must be noted that whatever relevant
information the poseur-buyer may have was also equally known to the police officers
who testified for the prosecution during trial. This is considering that they all participated
in the planning and implementation of the buy-bust operation and were all direct
witnesses to the actual sale of the shabu, the appellant’s arrest immediately thereafter, and
the recovery from him of the marked money. Hence, the testimony of the poseur-buyer
was not indispensable or necessary; it would have been cumulative merely, or
corroborative at best. (People vs. Largo,G.R. No. 193855, February 18, 2015,Del
Castillo, J.:)

Failure to present the buy-bust money. Appellant’s arguments deserve scant


consideration. Jurisprudence dictates that minor inconsistencies do not affect the
credibility of the witness. We have held that "discrepancies and inconsistencies in the
testimonies of witnesses referring to minor details, and not in actuality touching upon the
central fact of the crime, do not impair their credibility. Testimonies of witnesses need
only corroborate each other on important and relevant details concerning the principal
occurrence. In fact, such minor inconsistencies may even serve to strengthen the
witnesses’ credibility as they negate any suspicion that the testimonies have been
rehearsed."
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Failure to present the buy-bust money is not fatal to the prosecution’s cause. It is
not indispensable in drug cases since it is merely corroborative evidence, and the absence
thereof does not create a hiatus in the evidence for the prosecution provided the sale of
dangerous drugs is adequately proven and the drug subject of the transaction ispresented
before the court. Neither law nor jurisprudence requires the presentation of any money
used in the buy-bust operation. (People vs. Bayan ,G.R. No. 200987, August 20,
2014,Perez, J.:)

Actual and constructive possession distinguished. In People v. Pringas, the


Court recognized that the strict compliance with the requirements of Section 21 may not
always be possible under field conditions; the police operates under varied conditions,
and cannot at all times attend to all the niceties of the procedures in the handling of
confiscated evidence.

Possession, under the law, includes not only actual possession, but also
constructive possession. Actual possession exists when the drug is in the immediate
possession or control of the accused. On the other hand, constructive possession exists
when the drug is under the dominion and control of the accused or when he has the right
to exercise dominion and control over the place where it is found. Exclusive possession
or control is not necessary. The accused cannot avoid conviction if his right to exercise
control and dominion over the place where the contraband is located, is shared with
another.

The ruling of this Court in People v. Lagman is instructive. It held that illegal
possession of regulated drugs is mala prohibita, and, as such, criminal intent is not an
essential element. However, the prosecution must prove that the accused had the intent to
possess (animus posidendi) the drugs. (People vs. De La Trinidad,G.R. No. 199898,
September 03, 2014,Perez, J.)

Effect of failure to offer in evidence the Certificate of Inventory and the


formal request for examination of the confiscated substance. It is true that the
prosecution did not formally offer in evidence the Certificate of Inventory and the formal
request for examination of the confiscated substance. Be that as it may, the Court has
previously held that even if an exhibit is not formally offered, the same “may still be
admitted against the adverse party if, first, it has been duly identified by testimony duly
recorded and, second, it has itself been incorporated in the records of the case.” PO3
Velasquez categorically testified that an inventory of the seized drugs was performed, a
corresponding certificate was prepared, and a formal request for examination was made.
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He further narrated that together with the formal request, he submitted and delivered the
confiscated drugs to the crime laboratory. On the basis of the said formal request, P/Insp.
Roderos examined the specimen and she likewise testified on this. Appellant’s counsel
even asked the said prosecution witnesses regarding these documents. Considering the
said testimonies and the fact that the documents were incorporated in the records of the
case, they are therefore admissible against appellant. (People vs. Baturi,G.R. No.
189812, September 01, 2014,Del Castillo, J.:)

Presentation of confidential informant. The non-presentation of the


confidential informant as a witness does not ordinarily weaken the State's case against the
accused. However, if the arresting lawmen arrested the accused based on the pre-arranged
signal from the confidential informant who acted as the poseur buyer, his non-
presentation must be credibly explained and the transaction established by other ways in
order to satisfy the quantum of proof beyond reasonable doubt because the arresting
lawmen did not themselves participate in the buy-bust transaction with the accused.

In People vs Lopez (214 SCRA 323), it was held that there was no need for the
prosecution to present the confidential informer as the poseur-buyer himself positively
identified the accused as the one who sold to him one deck of methamphetamine
hydrochloride or "shabu." The trial court then properly relied on the testimonies of the
police officers despite the decision of the prosecution not to present the informer. (People
vs. Andaya,G.R. No. 183700, October 13, 2014,Bersamin, J.:)

Buy-bust operation defined. A buy-bust operation is "a form of entrapment, in


which the violator is caught in flagrante delicto and the police officers conducting the
operation are not only authorized but duty-bound to apprehend the violator and to search
him for anything that may have been part of or used in the commission of the
crime." In People v. Agulay, we discussed buy-bust operation as a form of a valid and
effective mode of apprehending drug pushers: A buy-bust operation is a form of
entrapment which in recent years has been accepted as a valid and effective mode of
apprehending drug pushers. In a buy-bust operation, the idea to commit a crime
originates from the offender, without anybody inducing or prodding him to commit the
offense. If carried out with due regard for constitutional and legal safeguards, a buy-bust
operation deserves judicial sanction. (People vs. Adriano,G.R. No. 208169, October 08,
2014,Perez, J.:)

Fruit of the poisonous tree. Petitioner Danilo Villanueva was charged with the
violation of Sec. 11, Article II of RA No. 9165 or The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs
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Act of 2002. Accused was invited to the police station due to a complaint lodge against
him for a shooting incident. While at the station he was subjected to a body search and in
the process, a plastic sachet of shabu was recovered from him. The RTC and the CA
found Villanueva guilty. The petitioner claims that his arrest is illegal since it does not fall
within purview of valid warrantless arrest.

ISSUE: Whether or not, the petitioners’ conviction is tenable

HELD: Records have established that both the arrest and the search were made without
a warrant. While the accused has already waived his right to contest the legality of his
arrest, he is not deemed to have equally waived his right to contest the legality of the
search. Having been obtained through an unlawful search, the seized item is thus
inadmissible in evidence against accused-appellant. Obviously, this is an instance of
seizure of the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Hence, the confiscated item in inadmissible
in evidence consonant with Article III, Section 3(2) of the 1987 Constitution: “Any
evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for
any purpose in any proceeding.” Without the seized item, therefore, the conviction of
accused appellant cannot be sustained. (Danilo Villanueva y Alcaraz vs. People, G.R.
No. 199042, November 17, 2014,Sereno, CJ.: )

Plain view doctrine and its requisites. The Court does not find the totality of
the circumstances described by SPO1 Amposta as sufficient to incite a reasonable
suspicion that would justify a stop-and-frisk search on Sanchez. Coming out from the
house of a drug pusher and boarding a tricycle, without more, were innocuous
movements, and by themselves alone could not give rise in the mind of an experienced
and prudent police officer or any belief that he had shabu in his possession, or that he was
probably committing a crime in the presence of the officer. Under the plain view
doctrine, objects falling in the plain view of an officer who has right to be in the position
to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence. The plain
view doctrine applies when the following requisites concur: (1) the law enforcement
officer in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position
from which he can view a particular area; (2) the discovery of the evidence in a plain
view is inadvertent; and (3) it is immediately apparent to the officer that the item he
observes may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure. In the
light of foregoing, there being no lawful warrantless arrest and warrantless search and
seizure, the shabu purportedly seized from Sanchez is inadmissible in evidence for being
the proverbial fruit of the poisonous tree. As the confiscated shabu is the very corpus
delicti of the crime charged, the accused, the accused must be acquitted and exonerated
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from the criminal charge of violation of Sec. 11, Art II or RA No. 9165. (Rizaldy
Sanchez y Cajili vs People,G.R. No. 204589, November 19, 2014,Mendoza, J.: )

How the crime of importation is committed? The crime of importation of


regulated drugs is committed by importing or bringing any regulated drug into the
Philippines without being authorized by law. According to appellants, if it is not proven
that the regulated drugs are brought into the Philippines from a foreign origin, there is no
importation. In support of this, they cite our ruling in United States v. Jose, wherein We
said that: There can be no question that, unless a ship on which opium is alleged to
have been illegally imported comes from a foreign country, there is no importation.
If the ship came to Olongapo from Zamboanga, for example, the charge that opium
was illegally imported on her into the port of Olongapo, i.e., into the Philippine
Islands, could not be sustained no matter how much opium she had on board or how
much was discharged. In order to establish the crime of importation as defined by
the Opium Law, it must be shown that the vessel from which the opium is landed or
on which it arrived in Philippine waters came from a foreign port. Section 4 of Act
No. 2381 provides that: Any person who shall unlawfully import or bring any prohibited
drug into the Philippine Islands, or assist in so doing, shall be punished . . . . It is clear
that a breach of this provision involves the bringing of opium into the Philippine
Islands from a foreign country. Indeed, it is a prime essential of the crime defined by
that section. Without it, no crime under that section can be established.

Moreover, the Black’s Law Dictionary defines importation as “the act of bringing
goods and merchandise into a country from a foreign country.” As used in our tariff and
customs laws, imported articles, those which are brought into the Philippines from any
foreign country, are subject to duty upon each importation. Similarly, in a statute
controlling the entry of toxic substances and hazardous and nuclear wastes, importation
was construed as the entry of products or substances into the Philippines through the
seaports or airports of entry. Importation then, necessarily connotes the introduction of
something into a certain territory coming from an external source. Logically, if the article
merely came from the same territory, there cannot be any importation of the same.

The mere fact that the appellants were Chinese nationals as well as their penchant
for making reference to China where they could obtain money to bribe the apprehending
officers does not necessarily mean that the confiscated drugs necessarily came from
China. The records only bear the fact that the speed boat on which the appellants were
apprehended was docked on the coast of Ambil Island in the Municipality of Looc,
Occidental Mindoro. But it could have easily come from some other locality within the
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country, and not necessarily from China or any foreign port, as held by the CA. This
Court notes that for a vessel which resembles a speed boat, it is rather difficult to suppose
how appellants made their way to the shores of Occidental Mindoro from China.
Moreover, an earlier intelligence report that foreign nationals on board extraordinary
types of vessels were seen along the sealine of Lubang Island in Cavite, and Quezon
Province, does not sufficiently prove the allegation that appellants herein were, in fact,
importing illegal drugs in the country from an external source. This, notwithstanding,
had the prosecution presented more concrete evidence to convince this Court that the
prohibited drugs, indeed, came from a source outside of the Philippines, the importation
contention could have been sustained.

Appellants’ exoneration from illegal importation of regulated drugs under Section


14, Article III of RA No. 6425 does not, however, free them from all criminal liability for
their possession of the same is clearly evident.

In United States v. Jose, possession is not necessarily included in the charge of


importation and thus, they cannot be held liable thereof, to wit: Counsel for neither of the
parties to this action have discussed the question whether, in case the charge of illegal
importation fails, the accused may still be convicted, under the information, of the crime
of illegal possession of opium. We, therefore, have not had the aid of discussion of this
proposition; but, believing that it is a question which might fairly be raised in the event of
an acquittal on the charge of illegal importation, we have taken it up and decided it.
Section 29 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that: The court may find the
defendant guilty of any offense, or of any frustrated or attempted offense, the commission
of which is necessarily included in the charge in the complaint or information. As will be
seen from this provision, to convict of an offense included in the charge in the
information it is not sufficient that the crime may be included, but it must
necessarily be included. While, the case before us, the possession of the opium by the
appellants was proved beyond question and they might have been convicted of that
offense if they have been charged therewith, nevertheless, such possession was not
an essential element of the crime of illegal importation and was not necessarily
included therein. The importation was complete, to say the least, when the ship carrying
it anchored in Subic Bay. It was not necessary that the opium be discharged or that it be
taken from the ship. It was sufficient that the opium was brought into the waters of the
Philippine Islands on a boat destined for a Philippine port and which subsequently
anchored in a port of the Philippine Islands with intent to discharge its cargo. That being
the case it is clear that possession, either actual or constructive, is not a necessary
element of the crime of illegal importation nor is it necessarily included therein.
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Therefore, in acquitting the appellants of the charge of illegal importation, we


cannot legally convict them of the crime of illegal possession.

However, in our more recent ruling in People v. Elkanish, this Court held that
possession is inherent in importation. In that case, the accused, who was suspected of
being the owner of sixty-five (65) large boxes of blasting caps found aboard a ship of
American registry docked inside Philippine territory, was charged with illegal importation
of the articles under Section 2702 of the Revised Administrative Code and illegal
possession of the same articles under Section 1 of Act No. 3023, in two (2) separate
informations. Ruling that double jeopardy exists in view of the fact that possession is
necessarily included in importation, this Court affirmed the dismissal of the information
on illegal importation, in the following wise:

Section 9 of Rule 113 of the Rules of Court reads: When a defendant shall have
been convicted or acquitted, or the case against him dismissed or otherwise terminated
without the express consent of the defendant, by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a
valid complaint or information or other formal charge sufficient in form and substance to
sustain a conviction, and after the defendant had pleaded to the charge, the conviction or
acquittal of the defendant or the dismissal of the case shall be a bar to another prosecution
for the offense charged, or for any attempt to commit the same or frustration thereof, or
for any offense which necessarily includes or is necessarily included in the offense
charged in the former complaint or information.

With reference to the importation and possession of blasting caps, it seems


plain beyond argument that the latter is inherent in the former so as to make them
juridically identical. There can hardly be importation without possession. When one
brings something or causes something to be brought into the country, he necessarily
has the possession of it. The possession ensuing from the importation may not be
actual, but legal, or constructive, but whatever its character, the importer, in our
opinion, is a possessor in the juristic sense and he is liable to criminal prosecution . If
he parts with the ownership of interest in the article before it reaches Philippine territory,
he is neither an importer nor a possessor within the legal meaning of the term, and he is
not subject to prosecution for either offense under the Philippine Laws. The owner of the
merchandise at the time it enters Philippine water is its importer and possessor. He who
puts merchandise on board a vessel and alienates the title thereto while it is in transit does
not incur criminal liability. Possession on ownership of a prohibited article on a foreign
vessel on the high seas outside the jurisdiction of the Philippines does not constitute a
crime triable by the courts of this country. (U.S. vs. Look Chaw, 18 Phil., 573).
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As We have explained in our more recent ruling above, there is double jeopardy
therein since the offense charged in the information on possession is necessarily included
in the information on importation in view of the fact that the former is inherent in the
latter. Thus, this Court sustained the dismissal of one of the two informations which
charged the accused with importation to avoid the implications of double jeopardy for
possession is necessarily included in the charge of importation.

Applying the aforequoted ruling, this Court finds that while appellants cannot be
held liable for the offense of illegal importation charged in the information, their criminal
liability for illegal possession, if proven beyond reasonable doubt, may nevertheless be
sustained. As previously mentioned, the crime of importation of regulated drugs is
committed by importing or bringing any regulated drug into the Philippines without being
authorized by law. Indeed, when one brings something or causes something to be
brought into the country, he necessarily has possession of the same. Necessarily,
therefore, importation can never be proven without first establishing possession,
affirming the fact that possession is a condition sine qua non for it would rather be unjust
to convict one of illegal importation of regulated drugs when he is not proven to be in
possession thereof.
At this point, this Court notes that charging appellants with illegal possession
when the information filed against them charges the crime of importation does not violate
their constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation brought
against them. The rule is that when there is a variance between the offense charged in the
complaint or information, and that proved or established by the evidence, and the offense
as charged necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the
offense proved included in that which is charged. An offense charged necessarily includes
that which is proved, when some of the essential elements or ingredients of the former, as
this is alleged in the complaint or information, constitute the latter.

Indeed, We have had several occasions in the past wherein an accused, charged
with the illegal sale of dangerous drugs, was convicted of illegal possession thereof. In
those cases, this Court upheld the prevailing doctrine that the illegal sale of dangerous
drugs absorbs the illegal possession thereof except if the seller was also apprehended in
the illegal possession of another quantity of dangerous drugs not covered by or not
included in the illegal sale, and the other quantity of dangerous drugs was probably
intended for some future dealings or use by the accused. Illegal possession of dangerous
drugs is therefore an element of and is necessarily included in illegal sale. Hence,
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convicting the accused with the former does not violate his right to be informed of the
accusation against him for it is an element of the latter.

In a similar manner, considering that illegal possession is likewise an element of


and is necessarily included in illegal importation of dangerous drugs, convicting
appellants of the former, if duly established beyond reasonable doubt, does not amount to
a violation of their right to be informed of the nature and cause of accusation against
them. Indeed, where an accused is charged with a specific crime, he is duly informed not
only of such specific crime but also of lesser crimes or offenses included therein.

The elements of illegal possession of regulated drugs are as follows: (a) the
accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a regulated drug;
(b) such possession is not authorized by law; and (c) the accused freely and consciously
possessed the regulated drug. The evidence on record clearly established that appellants
were in possession of the bags containing the regulated drugs without the requisite
authority. As mentioned previously, on the date of appellants’ arrest, the apprehending
officers were conducting a surveillance of the coast of Ambil Island in the Municipality
of Looc, Occidental Mindoro, upon being informed by the Municipality’s Barangay
Captain that a suspicious-looking boat was within the vicinity. Not long after, they
spotted two (2) boats anchored side by side, the persons on which were transferring cargo
from one to the other. Interestingly, as they moved closer to the area, one of the boats
hurriedly sped away. Upon reaching the other boat, the police officers found the
appellants with several transparent plastic bags containing what appeared to be shabu
which were plainly exposed to the view of the officers. Clearly, appellants were found to
be in possession of the subject regulated drugs.

Moreover, this Court is not legally prepared to accept the version of the appellants
that they had nothing to do with the incident and that they were being framed up as the
drugs seized from them were merely planted by the apprehending officers. At the outset,
this Court observes that appellants did not provide any explanation as to how the
apprehending officers were actually able to plant forty-five (45) bags of regulated drugs
weighing about one (1) kilo each in the speed boat of appellants in the middle of the
ocean without their knowledge. Also, as the trial court noted, they did not even give any
explanation as to the purpose of their presence in the coast of Ambil, Looc, Occidental
Mindoro. More importantly, aside from saying that the confiscated bags of regulated
drugs were merely implanted in their speed boat, they did not provide the court with
sufficient evidence to substantiate their claim.
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As to appellants’ assignment of failure on the part of the prosecution to


substantiate beyond reasonable doubt the corpus delicti of the crime charged for the chain
of custody of the illegal drugs was not sufficiently established, the same cannot be
sustained as a review of the records of the case provides otherwise. From the time of
appellants’ arrest, the seized bags of regulated drugs were properly marked and
photographed. Proper inventory was also conducted in the presence of the appellants and
Mayor Telebrico, who signed a receipt evidencing that the confiscated drugs were turned
over to the PNP Regional Headquarters. There, the evidence was sent to the Regional
Crime Laboratory Service Office for an examination which yielded positive results. The
laboratory report, photographs, and receipts were all made part of the records of this
case. In fact, the bags containing the crystalline substance were presented before the trial
court during the hearing held on October 12, 1999 which was identified by SPO3 Yuson,
the officer who confiscated the same. Evidently, an unbroken chain of custody of the
confiscated drugs was established by the prosecution.

Appellants also assail the legality of their detention for being formally charged in
an Information on December 8, 1998 or five (5) days after their arrest on December 3,
1998, beyond the thirty-six (36)-hour period in Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.
But while the law subjects such public officers who detain persons beyond the legal
period to criminal liability, it must be remembered that the proceeding taken against the
detained persons for the act they committed remains unaffected, for the two acts are
distinct and separate. This Court is nevertheless mindful of the difficult circumstances
faced by the police officers in this case, such as the language barrier, the
unresponsiveness of the appellants, the fact that one of the days fell on a Sunday, as well
as the disparity in the distances between the different offices. But even assuming that the
police officers intentionally delayed the filing of the Information, appellants should have
taken steps to report or file charges against the officers. Unfortunately, they cannot now
rely on administrative shortcomings of police officers to get a judgment of acquittal for
these do not diminish the fact that illegal drugs were found in appellants’ possession.
(People vs. Chi Chan Liu and Hui Lao Chung, G.R. No. 189272, January 21, 2015,
Peralta, J.)

Bare denials and accusations of frame-up in drug cases. In any criminal


prosecution, the defenses of denial and frame-up, like alibi, are considered weak defenses
and have been invariably viewed by the courts with disfavor for they can just as easily be
concocted but are difficult to prove. Negative in their nature, bare denials and accusations
of frame-up cannot, as a rule, prevail over the affirmative testimonies of truthful
witnesses. The foregoing principle applies with equal, if not greater, force in
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prosecutions involving violations of [R.A. No.] 9165, especially those originating from
buy-bust operations. In such cases, the testimonies of the police officers who conducted
the buy-bust operations are generally accorded full faith and credit, in view of the
presumption of regularity in the performance of public duties. Hence, when lined up
against an unsubstantiated denial or claim of frame-up, the testimonies of the officers
who caught the accused red-handed are given more weight and usually prevail. In order
to overcome the presumption of regularity, jurisprudence teaches us that there must be
clear and convincing evidence that the police officers did not properly perform their
duties or that they were prompted with ill motive.

In a prosecution for the illegal sale and illegal delivery of dangerous drugs, the
following elements must be established: (1) proof that the transaction or sale took place;
and (2) presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug as evidence. On the
other hand, the elements of the crime of possession of dangerous 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
possessed the said drug. (People vs. Pasion and Paz,G.R. No. 203026, January 28,
2015,Perez, J.: )

Decoy Solicitation. In People v. Bartolome, we had the occasion to discuss the


legitimacy of a “decoy solicitation,” to wit: It is no defense to the perpetrator of a crime
that facilities for its commission were purposely placed in his way, or that the criminal act
was done at the “decoy solicitation” of persons seeking to expose the criminal, or that
detectives feigning complicity in the act were present and apparently assisting its
commission. Especially is this true in that class of cases where the office is one habitually
committed, and the solicitation merely furnishes evidence of a course of conduct.

As here, the solicitation of drugs from appellant by the informant utilized by the
police merely furnishes evidence of a course of conduct. The police received an
intelligence report that appellant has been habitually dealing in illegal drugs. They duly
acted on it by utilizing an informant to effect a drug transaction with appellant. There was
no showing that the informant induced the appellant to sell illegal drugs to him.

Similarly, the presentation of an informant as witness is not regarded as


indispensable to the success of a prosecution of a drug-dealing accused. As a rule, the
informant is not presented in court for security reasons, in view of the need to protect the
informant from the retaliation of the culprit arrested through his efforts. Thereby, the
confidentiality of the informant’s identity is protected in deference to his invaluable
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services to law enforcement. Only when the testimony of the informant is considered
absolutely essential in obtaining the conviction of the culprit should the need to protect
his security be disregarded.

In a catena of cases, this Court laid down the essential elements to be duly
established for a successful prosecution of offenses involving the illegal sale of
dangerous or prohibited drugs, like shabu, under Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165,
to wit: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and the
consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and payment therefor. Briefly, the
delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt of the marked money by the
seller successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction. What is material, therefore, is
the proof that the transaction or sale transpired, coupled with the presentation in court of
the corpus delicti.

Indeed, as we held in People v. Torres, equally important in every prosecution for


illegal sale of dangerous or prohibited drugs is the presentation of evidence of the seized
drug as the corpus delicti. The identity of the prohibited drug must be proved with moral
certainty. It must also be established with the same degree of certitude that the substance
bought or seized during the buy-bust operation is the same item offered in court as
exhibit. In this regard, paragraph 1, Section 21, Article II of R. A. No. 9165 (the chain of
custody rule) provides for safeguards for the protection of the identity and integrity of
dangerous drugs seized.

The chain of custody is not established solely by compliance with the prescribed
physical inventory and photographing of the seized drugs in the presence of the
enumerated persons. The Implementing Rules and Regulations of R. A. No. 9165 on the
handling and disposition of seized dangerous drugs states: x x x Provided, further, that
non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the
integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the
apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody
over said items. (People vs. Rosauro,G.R. No. 209588, February 18, 2015,Perez, J.:)

What does “deliver” means. The crime of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, such
as shabu, has the following elements: “(1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the
object, and consideration; (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor.” “The delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the seller
of the marked money successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction.” In this case,
SPO1 Acosta positively identified appellant as the person he transacted with and who
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handed to him the two sachets of shabu presented in court. However, and as correctly
pointed out by appellant, the prosecution was unable to discharge its burden of
establishing the element of consideration or payment for the sachets of shabu. SPO1
Acosta practically admitted in his testimony the lack of consideration or payment for the
sachets of shabu delivered to him by appellant. Clearly, the element of receipt of
payment for the thing sold is absent in this case. Hence, the offense of illegal sale
of shabu against appellant cannot stand. However, this finding does not necessarily result
in appellant’s exoneration.

The Information states that appellant did “wilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously
sell and deliver” to PO1 Acosta plastic sachets containing shabu with a total weight of
1.67 grams. Thus, the charge against him was not confined to the sale of shabu.19 To
deliver a dangerous drug is an act that is also punishable under the same Section 5,
Article II of R.A. 9165, which provides: Section 5. Sale, Trading, Administration,
Dispensation, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Dangerous Drugs and/or
Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. - The penalty of life imprisonment to
death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million
pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person, who, unless authorized by
law, shall sell, trade, administer, dispense, deliver, give away to another, distribute,
dispatch in transit or transport any dangerous drug, including any and all species of
opium poppy regardless of the quantity and purity involved, or shall act as a broker in
any such transaction.

Under Article I, Section 3(k) of the same statute, the term “deliver” means “any
act of knowingly passing a dangerous drug to another, personally or otherwise, and by
any means, with or without consideration.” On the other hand, “sell” as defined in
Section 3(ii) refers to “any act of giving away any dangerous drug and/or controlled
precursor and essential chemical whether for money or any other consideration.”

To establish the guilt of an accused for the illegal delivery of a dangerous drug,
there must be evidence that “(1) the accused passed on possession of a dangerous drug to
another, personally or otherwise, and by any means; (2) such delivery” is not authorized
by law; and (3) the accused knowingly made the delivery with or without consideration.

The Court disagrees with the contention of appellant that the police officers did
not comply with the chain of custody rule under Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules
and Regulations of R.A. 9165. In this case, the Certificate of Inventory prepared by the
police officers belies the contention of appellant that there was no compliance with the
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above-quoted provision. While the said certificate was signed only by the DOJ
representative, the failure of the police officers to include the signatures of the other
persons enumerated under the subject provision does not affect the evidentiary weight of
the subject shabu as the chain of custody of the evidence remained unbroken. In like
manner, the absence of photographs of the seized shabu does not render said drugs
inadmissible or impair the integrity of the chain of custody of the same.

Moreover, the marking of the seized sachets of shabu a few moments prior to its
transfer to the crime laboratory complies with the requirement that such marking be done
immediately upon confiscation since it was undertaken while the shabu was still in the
police station. There is also no doubt that the marking was done in the presence of
appellant since he was also in the police station at the time of the marking. The short
period in which these events occurred ensures the preservation of the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized items.

The presentation of the marked money is immaterial in this case since the crime
of illegal delivery of a dangerous drug can be committed even without consideration or
payment.

Lastly, there was no unlawful delay in the filing of charges against appellant since
the police officers had 36 hours from detention to bring him to the proper judicial
authorities. The police officers complied with this requirement since SPO1 Acosta
testified that appellant was detained only for more than 24 hours. Notably, neither proof
nor allegation exists on record that appellant was detained for a period longer than
allowed by law. Moreover, it is worth stressing that while a delay in the delivery of
appellant to the proper judicial authorities is a violation of Article 125 of the Revised
Penal Code, it does not affect the presumption of regularity in the performance of the
official duties of the police officers in the absence of criminal charges against them.
(People vs. Reyes,G.R. No. 194606, February 18, 2015,Del Castillo, J.:)

Chain of Custody. In a catena of cases, this Court laid down the essential
elements to be duly established for a successful prosecution of offenses involving the
illegal sale of dangerous or prohibited drugs, like shabu, under Section 5, Article II of
Republic Act No. 9165, to wit: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object of
the sale and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and payment therefor.
Briefly, the delivery of the illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt of the marked
money by the seller successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction. What is material,
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therefore, is the proof that the transaction or sale transpired, coupled with the presentation
in court of the corpus delicti.

Equally important in every prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous or prohibited


drugs is the presentation in evidence of the seized drug as the corpus delicti. The identity
of the prohibited drug must be proved with moral certainty. It must also be established
with the same degree of certitude that the substance bought or seized during the buy-bust
operation is the same item offered in court as exhibit. In this regard, paragraph 1, Section
21, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165 (the chain of custody rule) provides for
safeguards for the protection of the identity and integrity of dangerous drugs seized, to
wit:

SEC. 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered


Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and
Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. – The
PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of
dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as
instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or
surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:
(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, 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, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the
media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be
required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.

The chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by
claims it to be. In context, this would ideally cover the testimony about every link in the
chain, from seizure of the prohibited drug up to the time it is offered in evidence, in such
a way that everyone who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was
received, to include, as much as possible, a description of the condition in which it was
delivered to the next link in the chain.

The chain of custody is, however, not established solely by compliance with the
prescribed physical inventory and photographing of the seized drugs in the presence of
the enumerated persons. The Implementing Rules and Regulations35 of Republic Act No.
9165 on the handling and disposition of seized dangerous drugs states:
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Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable


grounds, as long as the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly
preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such
seizures of and custody over said items.

Clearly, what is essential is "the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary
value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt
or innocence of the accused."

As held in People v. Bara citing People v. Campomanes: Although Section 21(1)


of [Republic Act] No. 9165 mandates that the apprehending team must immediately
conduct a physical inventory of the seized items and photograph them, non-compliance
with said section 21 is not fatal as long as there is a justifiable ground therefor, and as
long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the confiscated/seized items are properly
preserved by the apprehending team. Thus, the prosecution must demonstrate that the
integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence seized have been preserved.
Objection to evidence cannot be raised for the first time on appeal; when a party
desires the court to reject the evidence offered, he must so state in the form of objection.
Without such objection he cannot raise the question for the first time on appeal. (People
of the Philippines vs. Mylene Torres y Cruz,G.R. No. 191730 June 5, 2013
PEREZ, J.)

Chain of Custody. Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court provides for lawful
warrantless arrests. Section 5(a) is what is known as arrest in flagrante delicto. For this
type of warrantless arrest to be valid, two requisites must concur: "(1) the person to be
arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually
committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and, (2) such overt act is done in the
presence or within the view of the arresting officer." A common example of an arrest in
flagrante delicto is one made after conducting a buy-bust operation.

The defense of extortion and/or frame-up is often put up in drugs cases in order to
cast doubt on the credibility of police officers. This is a serious imputation of a crime
hence clear and convincing evidence must be presented to support the same. There must
also be a showing that the police officers were inspired by improper motive. In this case,
we find such imputation unfounded.

In People v. Capalad, this Court held thus: Charges of extortion and frame-up are
frequently made in this jurisdiction. Courts are, thus, cautious in dealing with such
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accusations, which are quite difficult to prove in light of the presumption of regularity in
the performance of the police officers’ duties. To substantiate such defense, which can be
easily concocted, the evidence must be clear and convincing and should show that the
members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any improper motive or were not
properly performing their duty. Otherwise, the police officers’ testimonies on the
operation deserve full faith and credit.

Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of RA 9165 provides for the custody and
disposition of the confiscated drugs. This rule is elaborated in Section 21(a), Article II of
the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9165, viz:

a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs
shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, 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, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the
media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be
required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, that
the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search
warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the
apprehending officer/ team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizure;
Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds,
as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly
preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such
seizures of and custody over said items.

Pursuant to the above-cited provisions, this Court has consistently ruled that the
failure of the police officers to inventory and photograph the confiscated items are not
fatal to the prosecution’s cause, provided that the integrity and evidentiary value of the
seized substance were preserved, as in this case.

Since violation of Section 14 of R.A. No. 9165 is a crime of mala prohibita, the
degree of participation of the offenders is not considered. All who perpetrated the
prohibited act are penalized to the same extent. There is no principal or accomplice or
accessory to consider. In short, the degree of participation of the offenders does not affect
their liability, and the penalty on all of them are the same whether they are principals or
merely accomplices or accessories.( People of the Philippines vs. Marcelino C. Collado,
et al.,G.R. No. 185719 June 17, 2013,DEL CASTILLO, J.)
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Chain of Custody.The chain-of-custody rule is a method of authenticating


evidence, by which the corpus delicti presented in court is shown to be one and the same
as that which was retrieved from the accused or from the crime scene. This rule, when
applied to drug cases, requires a more stringent application, because the corpus delicti –
the narcotic substance is not readily identifiable and must be subjected to scientific
analysis to determine its composition and nature.

In Malillin v. People, 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. It would include testimony about every link in the
chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the time it was offered into evidence,
in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from
whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’
possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was
delivered to the next link in the chain. 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.
Hence, every link in the chain of custody must not show any possibility of
tampering, alteration or substitution. However, it is accepted that a perfect chain is not the
standard. Nonetheless, two crucial links must be complied with. First, the seized illegal
drug must be marked in the presence of the accused and immediately upon confiscation.
This marking must be supported by details on how, when, and where the marking was
done, as well as the witnesses to the marking. Second, the turnover of the seized drugs at
every stage – from confiscation from the accused, transportation to the police station,
conveyance to the chemistry lab, and presentation to the court must be shown and
substantiated.

In People v. Sanchez, "it is fatal for the prosecution to fail to prove that the
specimen submitted for laboratory examination was the same one allegedly seized from
the accused."

In People v. Tan "By the very nature of anti-narcotics operations, the need for
entrapment procedures, the use of shady characters as informants, the ease with which
sticks of marijuana or grams of heroin can be planted in pockets or hands of unsuspecting
provincial hicks, and the secrecy that inevitably shrouds all drug deals, the possibility of
abuse is great." Thus, 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. Needless to state, the lower court should have exercised the utmost diligence
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and prudence in deliberating upon accused-appellants’ guilt. It should have given more
serious consideration to the pros and cons of the evidence offered by both the defense and
the State and many loose ends should have been settled by the trial court in determining
the merits of the present case.( People of the Philippines vs. Datu Not Abdul,G.R. No.
186137, June 26, 2013,Sereno CJ)

Chain of Custody. It is well-settled that in the prosecution of cases involving the


illegal sale or illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the evidence of the corpus delicti
which is the dangerous drug itself, must be independently established beyond reasonable
doubt. In People v Pagaduan we ruled that proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal
prosecution for the sale of illegal drugs demands that unwavering exactitude be observed
in establishing the corpus delicti the body of the crime whose core is the confiscated
illicit drug.

The case of People vs. Tan, cited in People of the Philippines vs. Datu Not
Abdul, elucidates and reminds us why: "By the very nature of anti-narcotics operations,
the need for entrapment procedures, the use of shady characters as informants, the ease
with which sticks of marijuana or grams of heroin can be planted in pockets or hands of
unsuspecting provincial hicks, and the secrecy that inevitably shrouds all drug deals, the
possibility of abuse is great." Thus, 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. Needless to state, the lower court should have exercised the utmost
diligence and prudence in deliberating upon accused-appellants' guilt. It should have
given more serious consideration to the pros and cons of the evidence offered by both the
defense and the State and many loose ends should have been settled by the trial court in
determining the merits of the present case.

Thus, every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be established, and the
chain of custody requirement under R.A. No. 9165 performs this function in buy-bust
operations as it ensures that any doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are
removed. Blacks Law Dictionary describes "chain of custody," as follows: The purpose
of the requirement of proof of the chain of custody is to ensure that the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized drug are preserved, as thus dispel unnecessary doubts as to
the identity of the evidence. To be admissible, the prosecution must establish by records
or testimony the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit, from the time it came into the
possession of the police officers, until it was tested in the laboratory to determine its
composition, and all the way to the time it was offered in evidence.
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Concerning the marking of evidence seized in a buy-bust operation or under a


search warrant, vis-a-vis the physical inventory and photograph, it must be noted that
there are distinctions as to time and place under Section 21 of R A No. 9165. Thus,
whereas in seizures covered by search warrants, the physical inventory and photograph
must be conducted in the place of the search warrant, in warrantless seizures such as a
buy-bust operation the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the
nearest police station or office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable,
consistent with the "chain of custody" rule. In People v. Sanchez the Court held that:
In seizures covered by search warrants, the physical inventory and photograph must be
conducted in the place where the search warrant was served. On the other hand, in case of
warrantless seizures such as a buy-bust operation, the physical inventory and photograph
shall be conducted at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending officer/team,
whichever is practicable; however, nothing prevents the apprehending officer/team from
immediately conducting the physical inventory and photography of the items at the place
where they were seized, as it is more in keeping with the law's intent of preserving their
integrity and evidentiary value.

What Section 21 of R.A. No. 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. 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. This step initiates the process of
protecting innocent persons from dubious and concocted searches, and of protecting as
well the apprehending officers from harassment suits based on planting of evidence under
Section 29 and on allegations of robbery or theft.

It has been held that "while a perfect chain of custody is almost always impossible
to achieve, an unbroken chain becomes indispensable and essential in the prosecution of
drug cases owing to its susceptibility to alteration, tampering, contamination and even
substitution and exchange." Moreover, as the investigator of the case, PO3 Sia claimed
that he personally took the drug to the laboratory for testing, but there is no showing who
the laboratory technician was who received the drug from him. The records also show
that he submitted the sachet to the laboratory only on the next day, without explaining
how he preserved his exclusive custody thereof overnight. All these leave us with no
conclusion but that there is serious doubt that the integrity and evidentiary value of the
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seized item have not been fatally compromised. (People vs. Beran,G.R. No. 203028,
January 15, 2014,Reyes, J.:)

Chain of Custody. The elements of the offense of illegal possession of dangerous


drugs, are the following: first, the accused was in possession of an item or object, which
is identified to be a prohibited or dangerous drug; second, such possession was not
authorized by law; and third, the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug.

In the prosecution of illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the dangerous drug


itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and, in sustaining a conviction
therefor, the identity and integrity of the corpus delicti must definitely be shown to have
been preserved. This requirement necessarily arises from the illegal drug’s unique
characteristic that renders it indistinct, not readily identifiable, and easily open to
tampering, alteration or substitution either by accident or otherwise. Thus, to remove any
doubt or uncertainty on the identity and integrity of the seized drug, evidence must
definitely show that the illegal drug presented in court is the same illegal drug actually
recovered from the accused-appellant; otherwise, the prosecution for illegal possession of
dangerous drugs under R.A. No. 9165 fails.

There must be strict compliance with the prescribed measures to be observed


during and after the seizure of dangerous drugs and related paraphernalia, during the
custody and transfer thereof for examination, and at all times up to their presentation in
court.

The rule on chain of custody under the foregoing enactments expressly demands
the identification of the persons who handle the confiscated items for the purpose of duly
monitoring the authorized movements of the illegal drugs and/or drug paraphernalia from
the time they are seized from the accused until the time they are presented in
court. Moreover, as a method of authenticating evidence, 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. It would include
testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the
time it is offered in evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit
would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to
it while in the witness’ possession, the condition in which it was received and the
condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses would
then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the
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condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession
of the same. (Valencia vs. People,G.R. No. 198804, January 22, 2014,Reyes, J.:)

Chain of Custody. In the prosecution of drug cases, it is of paramount


importance that the existence of the drug, the corpus delicti of the crime, be established
beyond doubt. To successfully prosecute a case involving illegal drugs, the identity and
integrity of the corpus delicti must definitely be shown to have been preserved. This
requirement necessarily arises from the illegal drug's unique characteristic that renders it
indistinct, not readily identifiable, and easily open to tampering, alteration or substitution
either by accident or otherwise. Thus, to remove any doubt or uncertainty on the identity
and integrity of the seized drug, evidence must definitely show that the illegal drug
presented in court is the same illegal drug actually recovered from the accused-petitioner.

In both cases of illegal sale and illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the
prosecution must show the chain of custody over the dangerous drug in order to establish
the corpus delicti, which is the dangerous drug itself. The chain of custody rule comes
into play as a mode of authenticating the seized illegal drug as evidence. It includes
testimony about every link in the chain, from the moment the item was picked up to the
time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit
would describe how and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to
it while in the witness’ possession, the condition in which it was received and the
condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. 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. Indeed, it is from the testimony of every witness who handled the evidence
from which a reliable assurance can be derived that the evidence presented in court is one
and the same as that seized from the accused. This step initiates the process of protecting
innocent persons from dubious and concocted searches, and of protecting as well the
apprehending officers from harassment suits based on planting of evidence and on
allegations of robbery or theft.

The rule requires that the marking of the seized items should be done in the
presence of the apprehended violator and immediately upon confiscation to ensure that
they are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in
evidence.

A substantial gap in the chain of custody renders the identity and integrity of the
corpus delicti dubious. (Lopez vs. People,G.R. No. 188653, January 29, 2014,Perez, J.:)
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Chain of Custody. In a successful prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs,


like shabu, the following elements must be established: "(1) the identity of the buyer and
the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment therefor. x xxWhat is material in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous
drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
presentation in court of the corpus delicti" or the illicit drug in evidence. "[T]he
commission of the offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs x xx merely requires the
consummation of the selling transaction, which happens the moment the exchange of
money and drugs between the buyer and the seller takes place."

Prosecutions for illegal drugs depend largely on the credibility of the police
officers who conducted the buy-bust operation. Their narration of the incident,
"buttressed by the presumption that they have regularly performed their duties in the
absence of convincing proof to the contrary, must be given weight."27 Here, the CA
affirmed the RTC’s ruling that the testimonies and facts stipulated upon were consistent
with each other as well as with the physical evidence. Thus, there is no justification to
disturb the findings of the RTC, as sustained by the CA, on the matter.

The links in the chain of custody must be established. "The integrity and
evidentiary value of seized items are properly preserved for as long as the chain of
custody of the same are duly established." "‘Chain of Custody’ means the duly recorded
authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant
sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of each stage, from the time of
seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in
court. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall include the identity
and signature of the person who had temporary custody of the seized item, the date and
time when such transfer of custody was made in the course of safekeeping and use in
court as evidence, and the final disposition."

There are links that must be established in the chain of custody in a buy-bust
situation, namely: "first, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug
recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; second, the turnover of the
illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; third, the
turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for
laboratory examination; and, fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal
drug seized from the forensic chemist to the court." (People vs. Salvador,G.R. No.
190621, February 10, 2014,Del Castillo, J.:)
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Chain of Custody. Accused was charged for violation of Sec. 11 Article II of RA


No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Act of 2002 in an arrest which happened on
August 28, 2002. The accused assailed the conviction of the RTC since the shabu was
confiscated from his pocket and not in plain view. Further, he argued that the rule on
chain custody was not properly adhered to since there was no evidence that a physical
inventory of the shabu was conducted in the presence of any elected local government
official and the media. He claimed that the possibility of tampering, alteration or
substitution, of the substance may have been present since the investigating officer who
marked the seized shabu in the police station and the person who delivered the same to
the crime laboratory were not presented during the trial.

ISSUE: Whether or not the guilt of Araza was established beyond unreasonable doubt.

HELD: The non-compliance with the Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and
Regulation RA 9165 under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary
value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall
not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. The chain of
custody requirement ensures the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the
seized items such that doubts as to the identity of the evidence are eliminated. To be
admissible, the prosecution must show by record or testimony, the continuous,
whereabouts of the exhibit at least between the time it came into possession of the police
officers and until it was tested in the laboratory to determine its composition up to the
time it was offered in evidence. (People vs Rommel Araza y Sagun,G.R. No. 190623,
November 17, 2014,Del Castillo, J.:)

Chain of Custody. In prosecutions involving narcotics, the narcotic substance


itself constitutes the corpus delicti of the offense and its existence is vital to sustain a
judgment of conviction beyond reasonable doubt. Proof beyond reasonable doubt
demands that unwavering exactitude be observed in establishing the corpus delicti. The
chain of custody rule performs this function as it ensures that unnecessary doubts
concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. The rule seeks to settle definitively
whether the object allegedly seized from appellant. That the presumption of regularity in
the performance of official duty obtains only when there is no deviation from the regular
performance of duty. Where the official act in question is irregular on its face, no
presumption or regularity can arise. (People vs Rosalinda Casabuena,G.R. No. 186455,
November 19, 2014,Brion, J.:)
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Chain of Custody. Clearly, the prosecution was able to establish the chain of
custody of the shabu from its possession by the police officers, testing in the laboratory to
determine its composition, until the same was presented as evidence in court. Hence,
even if there was no statement as to where the markings were made, what is important is
that the seized specimen never left the custody of PO3 Bongon until he turned over the
same SPO1 Antonio and that thereafter, the chain of custody was shown to be unbroken.
Indeed, the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized shabu is shown to have been
properly preserved and the crucial links in the chain of custody unbroken. (People
vsVenerandodela Cruz y Sebastian,G.R. No. 193670, December 03, 2014
Del Castillo, J.:)

Chain of Custody. A buy-bust operation gave rise to the present case. While this
kind of operation has been proven to be an effective way to flush out illegal transactions
that are otherwise conducted covertly and in secrecy, a buy-bust operation has a
significant downside that has not escaped the attention of the framers of the law. It is
susceptible to police abuse, the most notorious of which is its use as a tool for extortion.
The presentation of the dangerous drugs as evidence in court is material if not
indispensable in every prosecution for the illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs.
As such, the identity of the dangerous drugs should be established beyond doubt by
showing that the items offered in court were the same substances bought during the buy-
bust operation. This rigorous requirement, known under R.A. No. 9165 as the chain of
custody, performs the function of ensuring that unnecessary doubts concerning the
identity of the evidence are removed. In People v. Catalan, the Court said: To discharge
its duty of establishing the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, therefore, the
Prosecution must prove the corpus delicti. That proof is vital to a judgment of conviction.
On the other hand, the Prosecution does not comply with the indispensable requirement
of proving the violation of Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9165 when the dangerous drugs
are missing but also when there are substantial gaps in the chain of custody of the seized
dangerous drugs that raise doubts about the authenticity of the evidence presented in
court.

Although R.A. No. 9165 does not define the meaning of chain of custody, Section
1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002, which implements
R.A. No. 9165, explains the said term as follows: "Chain of Custody" means the duly
recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or
plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of each stage, from the time of
seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in
court for destruction. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall include
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the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of the seized item,
the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping
and use in court as evidence, and the final disposition.

As a means of ensuring the establishment of the chain of custody, Section 21 (1)


of R.A. No. 9165 specifies that: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and
control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, 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, or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected
public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a
copy thereof.

Specifically, Article II, Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and


Regulations (IRR) of R.A. No. 9165 enumerates the procedures to be observed by the
apprehending officers to confirm the chain of custody, to wit: (a) The apprehending
officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after
seizure and confiscation, 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, or
his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of
Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of
the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided, that the physical inventory and
photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served; or at the
nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team, whichever
is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further that non-compliance with
these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary
value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall
not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items.

The strict procedure of Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 was not complied with.
First, the inventory of the property was not immediately conducted after seizure and
confiscation as it was only done at the police station. Notably, Article II, Section 21(a) of
the IRR allows the inventory to be done at the nearest police station or at the nearest
office of the apprehending team whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures.
In this case, however, the prosecution did not even claim that the PDEA Office Region 3
was the nearest office from TB Pavilion where the drugs were seized. The prosecution
also failed to give sufficient justification for the delayed conduct of the inventory. PO2
Corpuz gave the flimsy excuse that they failed to immediately conduct an inventory
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because they did not bring with them the material or equipment for the preparation of the
documents. Such explanation is unacceptable considering that they conducted a
surveillance on the target for a couple of weeks. They should have been prepared with
their equipment even before the buy-bust operation took place. Second, there is doubt as
to the identity of the person who prepared the Inventory of Property Seized. According to
the CA decision, it was Sergeant dela Cruz who prepared the said document. PO2 Cruz
on the other hand, testified that it was their investigator who prepared the document
while SPO1 Licu’s testimony was that a certain SPO4 Jamisolamin was their
investigator. Third, there were conflicting claims on whether the seized items were
photographed in the presence of the accused or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the media and the DOJ, and any elected public official.

Notwithstanding the failure of the prosecution to establish the rigorous


requirements of Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165, jurisprudence dictates that substantial
compliance is sufficient. Failure to strictly comply with the law does not necessarily
render the arrest of the accused illegal or the items seized or confiscated from him
inadmissible. The issue of non-compliance with the said section is not of admissibility,
but of weight to be given on the evidence. Moreover, Section 21 of the IRR requires
"substantial" and not necessarily "perfect adherence," as long as it can be proven that the
integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved as the same would be
utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.

To ensure that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are
preserved, the proper chain of custody of the seized items must be shown. The Court
explained in People v. Malillin how the chain of custody or movement of the seized
evidence should be maintained and why this must be shown by evidence, viz: As a
method of authenticating evidence, 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. 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, in such a way that every person who touched the exhibit would describe how
and from whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the
witness’ possession, the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it
was delivered to the next link in the chain. 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.
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First link of the chain, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug
recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer. Crucial in proving the chain of
custody is the marking of the seized drugs or other related items immediately after they
have been seized from the accused. "Marking" means the placing by the apprehending
officer or the poseur-buyer of his/her initials and signature on the items seized. Marking
after seizure is the starting point in the custodial link; hence, it is vital that the seized
contraband be immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimens will
use the markings as reference. 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 of at the end of the criminal proceedings,
thus, preventing switching, planting or contamination of evidence.

It must be noted that marking is not found in R.A. No. 9165 and is different from
the inventory-taking and photography under Section 21 of the said law. Long before
Congress passed R.A. No. 9165, however, this Court had consistently held that failure of
the authorities to immediately mark the seized drugs would cast reasonable doubt on the
authenticity of the corpus delicti. In the present case, PO2 Corpuz and SPO1 Licu
claimed that they had placed their initials on the seized items. They, however, gave little
information on how they actually did the marking. It is clear, nonetheless, that the
marking was not immediately done at the place of seizure, and the markings were only
placed at the police station based on the testimony of PO2 Corpuz. From the place of the
seizure to the PDEA Office Region 3, the seized items were not marked. It could not,
therefore, be determined how the unmarked drugs were handled. The Court must conduct
guesswork on how the seized drugs were transported and who took custody of them while
in transit. Evidently, the alteration of the seized items was a possibility absent their
immediate marking thereof.

Still, there are cases when the chain of a custody rule is relaxed such as when the
marking of the seized items is allowed to be undertaken at the police station rather than at
the place of arrest for as long as it is done in the presence of the accused in illegal drugs
cases. Even a less stringent application of the requirement, however, will not suffice to
sustain the conviction of the accused in this case. Aside from the fact that the police
officers did not immediately place their markings on the seized marijuana upon their
arrival at the PDEA Office, there was also no showing that the markings were made in the
presence of the accused.

Similarly, in People v. Garcia, the Court considered the belated marking of the
seized drug by the apprehending officer in acquitting the accused in the case. The officer
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testified that he marked the confiscated items only after he had returned to the police
station. Such admission showed that the marking was not done immediately after the
seizure of the items, but after the lapse of a significant intervening time.

Second link of the chain, the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the
apprehending officer to the investigating officer. Usually, the police officer who seizes
the suspected substance turns it over to a supervising officer, who will then send it by
courier to the police crime laboratory for testing. This is a necessary step in the chain of
custody because it will be the investigating officer who shall conduct the proper
investigation and prepare the necessary documents for the developing criminal case.
Certainly, the investigating officer must have possession of the illegal drugs to properly
prepare the required documents.

The investigator in this case was a certain SPO4 Jamisolamin. Surprisingly, there
was no testimony from the witnesses as to the turnover of the seized items to SPO4
Jamisolamin. It is highly improbable for an investigator in a drug-related case to
effectively perform his work without having custody of the seized items. Again, the case
of the prosecution is forcing this Court to resort to guesswork as to whether PO2 Corpuz
and SPO1 Licu gave the seized drugs to SPO4 Jamisolamin as the investigating officer or
they had custody of the marijuana all night while SPO4 Jamisolamin was conducting his
investigation on the same items.

In People v. Remigio, the Court noted the failure of the police officers to establish
the chain of custody as the apprehending officer did not transfer the seized items to the
investigating officer. The apprehending officer kept the alleged shabu from the time of
confiscation until the time he transferred them to the forensic chemist. The deviation
from the links in the chain of custody led to the acquittal of the accused in the said case.

Third link of the chain, the turnover by the investigating officer of the illegal drug
to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination. Once the seized drugs arrive at the
forensic laboratory, it will be the laboratory technician who will test and verify the nature
of the substance. As can be gleaned from the testimony of PO2 Corpuz, very little detail
was offered on how the seized marijuana was handled and transferred from the PDEA
Office in Angeles City to the crime laboratory in Camp Olivas, San Fernando, Pampanga.
PO2 Corpuz kept possession of the seized drugs overnight without giving details on the
safekeeping of the items. The most palpable deficiency of the testimony would be the
lack of information as to who received the subject drugs in Camp Olivas.
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Engr. Ma. Luisa Gundran, the forensic chemist who conducted the tests on the
subject drugs, did not appear in court despite the numerous subpoenas sent to
her. Instead, the prosecution and the defense agreed to stipulate on the essential points of
her proffered testimony. Regrettably, the stipulated testimony of the forensic chemist
failed to shed light as to who received the subject drugs in Camp Olivas. One of the
stipulations was “that said forensic chemist conducted an examination on the substance of
the letter-request with qualification that said request was not subscribed or under oath and
that forensic chemist has no personal knowledge as from whom and where said substance
was taken.” This bolsters the fact that the forensic chemist had no knowledge as to who
received the seized marijuana at the crime laboratory.

The recent case of People v. Beran involved irregularities in the third link. The
police officer, who both served as apprehending and investigating officer, claimed that he
personally took the drug to the laboratory for testing, but there was no showing who
received the drug from him. The records also showed that he submitted the sachet to the
laboratory only on the next day, without explaining how he preserved his exclusive
custody thereof overnight. All those facts raised serious doubt that the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized item have not been fatally compromised. Hence, the
accused in the said case was also acquitted.

Fourth link of the chain, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug
seized by the forensic chemist to the court. No testimonial or documentary evidence was
given whatsoever as to how the drugs were kept while in the custody of the forensic
chemist until it was transferred to the court. The forensic chemist should have personally
testified on the safekeeping of the drugs but the parties resorted to a general stipulation of
her testimony. Although several subpoenae were sent to the forensic chemist, only a
brown envelope containing the seized drugs arrived in court. Sadly, instead of focusing
on the essential links in the chain of custody, the prosecutor propounded questions
concerning the location of the misplaced marked money, which was not even
indispensable in the criminal case.

The case of People v. Gutierrez also had inadequate stipulations as to the


testimony of the forensic chemist. No explanation was given regarding the custody of the
seized drug in the interim - from the time it was turned over to the investigator up to its
turnover for laboratory examination. The records of the said case did not show what
happened to the allegedly seized shabu between the turnover by the investigator to the
chemist and its presentation in court. Thus, since there was no showing that precautions
were taken to ensure that there was no change in the condition of that object and no
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opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession thereof, the accused therein
was likewise acquitted.

The Court cannot either agree with the CA that the evidentiary rule involving the
presumption of regularity of the performance of official duties could apply in favor of the
police officers. The regularity of the performance of duty could not be properly presumed
in favor of the police officers because the records were replete with indicia of their
serious lapses. The presumption stands when no reason exists in the records by which to
doubt the regularity of the performance of official duty. And even in that instance, the
presumption of regularity will never be stronger than the presumption of innocence in
favor of the accused. Otherwise, a mere rule of evidence will defeat the constitutionally
enshrined right of an accused to be presumed innocent. (People vs. Dahil and
Castro,G.R. No. 212196, January 12, 2015,Mendoza, J.:)

Chain of Custody. It is settled that in prosecutions for illegal sale of dangerous


drug, not only must the essential elements of the offense be proved beyond reasonable
doubt, but likewise the identity of the prohibited drug. The dangerous drug itself
constitutes the corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to a
judgment of conviction.

Necessarily, the prosecution must establish that the substance seized from the
accused is the same substance offered in court as exhibit. In this regard, the prosecution
must sufficiently prove the unbroken chain of custody of the confiscated illegal drug.
In People v. Watamama, the Court held: In all prosecutions for the violation of the
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, the existence of the prohibited drug has to
be proved. The chain of custody rule requires that testimony be presented about
every link in the chain, from the moment the item was seized up to the time it is
offered in evidence. To this end, the prosecution must ensure that the substance
presented in court is the same substance seized from the accused. While this Court
recognizes substantial adherence to the requirements of R.A. No. 9165 and its
implementing rules and regulations, not perfect adherence, is what is demanded of police
officers attending to drugs cases, still, such officers must present justifiable reason for
their imperfect conduct and show that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized
items had been preserved.

In People v. Climaco, citing Malillin v. People, the Court held: To establish guilt
of the accused beyond reasonable doubt in cases involving dangerous drugs, it is
important that the substance illegally possessed in the first place be the same substance
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offered in court as exhibit. This chain of custody requirement ensures that unnecessary
doubts are removed concerning the identity of the evidence. When the identity of the
dangerous drug recovered from the accused is not the same dangerous drug presented to
the forensic chemist for review and examination, nor the same dangerous drug presented
to the court, the identity of the dangerous drug is not preserved due to the broken chain of
custody. With this, an element in the criminal cases for illegal sale and illegal possession
of dangerous drugs, the corpus delicti, is not proven, and the accused must then be
acquitted based on reasonable doubt. For this reason, the accused must be acquitted on
the ground of reasonable doubt due to the broken chain of custody over the dangerous
drug allegedly recovered from him. (People vs. Enumerable,G.R. No. 207993, January
21, 2015,Carpio, J.:)

Chain of Custody. In a successful prosecution for the illegal sale of drugs, there
must be evidence of the following elements: “(1) the identities of the buyer and the seller,
the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor.” The evidence of corpus delicti must also be established beyond doubt. In this
case, the shabu “constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and in sustaining a
conviction under [RA 9165], the identity and integrity of the corpus delictimust definitely
be shown to have been preserved.” “The chain of custody requirement performs this
function in buy-bust operations as it ensures that doubts concerning the identity of the
evidence are removed.”

The initial link in the chain of custody starts with the seizure of the plastic sachets
from appellant and their marking by the apprehending officer. “Marking after seizure is
the starting point in the custodial link, thus it is vital that the seized contraband is
immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimens will use the markings
as reference. 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, obviating switching,
‘planting,’ or contamination of evidence.”

The prosecution’s evidence failed to establish the marking of the two sachets
of shabu subject of this case, which is the first link in the chain of custody and which
would have shown that the shabu presented in evidence was the same specimen bought
from appellant during the buy-bust operation. The lack of certainty therefore on a crucial
element of the crime i.e., the identity of the corpus delicti,warrants the reversal of the
judgment of conviction.
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As a final note, it does not escape the Court’s attention that there was also no
testimony from the police officers that they conducted a physical inventory and took
photographs of the sachets of shabuconfiscated from appellant pursuant to Section
21(1) of Article II of RA 9165. Their sworn statements did not mention any inventory-
taking or photographing of the same. They also did not bother to offer any justification
for this omission. At this point, it is apt to restate the Court’s pronouncement in People v.
Pepino-Consulta: The Court cannot emphasize enough that zealousness on the part of
law enforcement agencies in the pursuit of drug peddlers is indeed laudable. However, it
is of paramount importance that the procedures laid down by law be complied with,
especially those that involve the chain of custody of the illegal drugs. This is necessary in
order to dispel even the most infinitesimal of doubts on the outcome of arrests any buy-
bust operations, so as not to render naught the efforts and the resources put forth in the
apprehension and prosecution of violators of our drug laws. (People vs. Butial,G.R. No.
192785, February 4, 2015,Del Castillo, J.:)

Chain of Custody. In order to convict an accused for violation of RA 9165, or


the crime of sale of dangerous drugs, the prosecution must establish the concurrence of
the following elements: (a) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and the
consideration; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment. Note that what
remains material for conviction is the proof that the transaction actually took place,
coupled with the presentation before the court of the corpus delicti. It is also important
that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items be preserved. Simply put, the
dangerous drug presented in court as evidence against an accused must be the same as
that seized from him. The chain of custody requirement removes any unnecessary doubts
regarding the identity of the evidence. As held in People v. Viterbo: In every prosecution
for illegal sale of dangerous drugs under Section 5, Article II of RA 9165, the following
elements must concur: (a) the identities of the buyer and the seller, object, and
consideration; and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the corresponding payment
for it. As the dangerous drug itself forms an integral and key part of the corpus
delictiof the crime, it is therefore essential that the identity of the prohibited drugbe
established beyond reasonable doubt. Thus, the prosecution must be able to account
for each link in the chain of custody over the dangerous drug, from the moment it
was seized from the accused up to the time it was presented in court as proof of
the corpus delicti.

Elucidating on the custodial chain process, the Court, in the case of People v.
Cervantes (600 Phil. 819, 836 [2009]), held: As a mode of authenticating evidence, the
chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded by evidence
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sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it
to be. In context, this would ideally include testimony about every link in the chain,
from the seizure of the prohibited drug up to the time it is offered into evidence, in
such a way that everyone who touched the exhibit would describe how and from
whom it was received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’
possession, the condition in which it was received, and the condition in which it was
delivered to the next link in the chain.

The chain of custody requirement “ensures that unnecessary doubts respecting the
identity of the evidence are minimized if not altogether removed.” To expand, Section
21 of RA 9165 provides the “chain of custody rule” outlining the procedure that the
apprehending officers should follow in handling the seized drugs, in order to preserve its
integrity and evidentiary value. It requires, inter alia, that: (a) the apprehending team that
has initial custody over the seized drugs immediately conduct an inventory and take
photographs of the same in the presence of the accused or the person from whom such
items were seized, or the accused’s or the person’s representative or counsel, a
representative from the media, the Department of Justice, and any elected public official
who shall then sign the copies of the inventory; and (b) the seized drugs be turned over to
the PNP Crime Laboratory within 24 hours from its confiscation for examination
purposes. While the “chain of custody rule” demands utmost compliance from the
aforesaid officers, Section 21 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA
9165, as well as jurisprudence nevertheless provide that non-compliance with the
requirements of this rule will not automatically render the seizure and custody of the
items void and invalid, so long as: (a) there is a justifiable ground for such non-
compliance; AND (b) the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved.
Hence, any divergence from the prescribed procedure must be justified and should not
affect the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated items. (People vs.
Sumili,G.R. No. 212160, February 4, 2015,Perlas-Bernabe, J.:)

Chain of Custody. The following requisites are necessary in order to


successfully prosecute an offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs: (1) the identity of the
buyer and the seller, the object and consideration of the sale; and (2) the delivery of the
thing sold and the payment therefor.

In the prosecution of illegal sale, what is essential is to prove that the transaction
or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of
the corpus delicti. The consummation of sale is perfected the moment the buyer receives
the drug from the seller. In this case, the prosecution failed to prove that the four sachets
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which tested positive for shabu and eventually presented in court were the same ones
confiscated by the police officers due to its non-marking at the place where the buy-bust
operation was committed at the police station.

In People v. Nacua, the Court emphasized that given the unique characteristic of
dangerous and illegal drugs which are indistinct, not readily identifiable, and easily
susceptible to tampering, alteration, or substitution, either by accident or otherwise, there
must be strict compliance with the prescribed measures during and after the seizure of
dangerous drugs and related paraphernalia, during the custody and transfer thereof for
examination, and at all times up to their presentation in court. These measures are clearly
defined under Section 21(1) of Republic Act No. 9165 and Section 21(a) of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 9165.
In People v. Kamad, the Court enumerated the different links that the prosecution
must establish to preserve the identity and integrity of the seized items: first, the seizure
and marking of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending
officer; second, the turn over of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the
investigating officer; third, the turn over by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to
the forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and fourth, the turn over and submission
of the marked illegal drug seized by the forensic chemist to the court. These requirements
are necessary in order to ensure that the confiscated drug are the same ones presented in
court in order to dispel unnecessary doubts as to the identity of the evidence.

In this case, records show that the first element to establish chain of custody
which is the seizure and marking of the illegal drug recovered from the accused by
the apprehending officer is missing to establish illegal sale. In fact, no one among the
prosecution witnesses testified about the marking of the four sachets subject of illegal
sale. Though the police officers in their testimonies narrated that there was a buy-bust
operation and they apprehended the accused red-handed, all of them failed to testify on
who among them complied with the marking requirement to identify the seized items.

The importance of marking is emphasized in People v. Salonga: x xx Marking


after seizure is the starting point in the custodial link, thus, it is vital that the seized
contrabands are immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimens will
use the markings as reference. 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 of at the end of the criminal proceedings,
obviating switching, planting, or contamination of evidence.
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The requirement of marking is not to be taken lightly as a mere procedural error.


In the recent case of People v. Sabdula, failure to mark the plastic sachets confiscated
during the buy-bust operation became the Court’s basis for acquittal. How the
apprehending team could have omitted such a basic and vital procedure in the initial
handling of the seized drugs truly baffles and alarms us. We point out that succeeding
handlers of the specimen would use the markings as reference. If at the first or the earliest
reasonably available opportunity, the apprehending team did not mark the seized items,
then there was nothing to identify it later on as it passed from hand to hand. Due to the
procedural lapse in the first link of the chain of custody, serious uncertainty hangs over
the identification of the seized shabu that the prosecution introduced into evidence.

In a number of cases, the Court sanctioned substantial compliance with the


procedure to establish a chain of custody, provided that the integrity and evidentiary
value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending team/officers. There
is a liberality on minor deviations as long as there is no gross disregard of the procedural
safeguards prescribed in the substantive law. However, when serious uncertainty is
generated about the identity of the seized items presented in evidence, liberality ceases
and presumption of innocence takes precedence over substantial compliance. (People vs.
Dacuma,G.R. No. 205889, February 4, 2015,Perez, J.:)

Chain of Custody. Indeed, as we held in People v. Torres, the identity of the


prohibited drug must be proved with moral certainty. It must also be established with the
same degree of certitude that the substance bought or seized during the buy-bust
operation is the same item offered in court as exhibit. In this regard, paragraph 1, Section
21, Article II of R. A. No. 9165 (the chain of custody rule) provides for safeguards for the
protection of the identity and integrity of dangerous drugs seized.

However, this Court has, in many cases, held that while the chain of custody
should ideally be perfect, in reality it is not, “as it is almost always impossible to obtain
an unbroken chain.” The most important factor is the preservation of the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items as they will be used to determine the guilt or
innocence of the accused. Hence, the prosecution’s failure to submit in evidence the
physical inventory and photograph of the seized drugs as required under Article 21 of R.
A. No. 9165, will not render the accused’s arrest illegal or the items seized from him
inadmissible.

The chain of custody is not established solely by compliance with the prescribed
physical inventory and photographing of the seized drugs in the presence of the
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enumerated persons. The Implementing Rules and Regulations of R. A. No. 9165 on the
handling and disposition of seized dangerous drugs states: x xx Provided, further, that
non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the
integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the
apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody
over said items.

As to the fact that the seized items were marked only at the police station and not
during the actual apprehension and seizure, in People v. Loks, we held that the marking of
the seized substance immediately upon arrival at the police station qualified as a
compliance with the marking requirement. Such can also be said here, especially in view
of the explanation of PCI Meris that the place of arrest had a notorious reputation based
on his personal knowledge as well as on police statistics, and that the arresting officers
deemed it best that they leave said place right after the arrest of the accused-appellant for
fear that the latter might have some back-up.

Under Section 11, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, the elements of the offense of
illegal possession of dangerous 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 possessed the said drug.

On the other hand, in a successful prosecution for offenses involving the illegal
sale of dangerous drugs under Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, the following
elements must concur: (1) the identities of the buyer and seller, object, and consideration;
and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for it. What is material is proof
that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of
evidence of corpus delicti.

In People v. Hong Yeng E and TsienTsien Chua, where the marked money was
also shown to accused-appellant but it was not actually given to her as she was
immediately arrested when the shabu was handed over to the poseur-buyer, the Court
held that it is material in illegal sale of dangerous drugs that the sale actually took place,
and what consummates the buy-bust transaction is the delivery of the drugs to the poseur-
buyer and, in turn, the seller’s receipt of the marked money. While the parties may have
agreed on the selling price of the shabu and delivery of payment was intended, these do
not prove consummated sale. Receipt of the marked money, whether done before
delivery of the drugs or after, is required.
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In the case at bar, although accused-appellant was shown the consideration before
she handed over the subject shabu to the poseur-buyer, such is not sufficient to
consummate the sale. As previously held by the Court, looking at a thing does not
transfer possession of it to the beholder. Such a tenet would make window shoppers liable
for theft. Accused-appellant’s exoneration from the charge of illegal sale of dangerous or
prohibited drugs, however, does not spell freedom from all criminal liability as she may
still be convicted for illegal possession of dangerous or prohibited drugs. It is settled that
possession is necessarily included in the sale of dangerous or prohibited drugs. (People
vs. Dasigan,G.R. No. 206229, February 4, 2015,Perez, J.:)

Chain of Custody. To sustain a conviction under Section 5, Article II of R.A.


9165, all that is needed for the prosecution to establish are (1) the identity of the buyer,
seller, object and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment
therefor. In illegal possession of dangerous drugs, on the other hand, it is necessary to
prove that: (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 possessed the drug.

Appellant, however, questions the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized
items due to the failure of the police officers to comply with requirements set forth under
Section 21 of R.A. 9165. The Court, however, finds that the chain of custody of the
seized items was shown to be intact and unbroken notwithstanding the failure of the
apprehending officers to mark the evidence upon arrest, to make the inventory, and to
take photographs of the same in the presence of the appellant and the persons mentioned
in Section 21 of R.A. 9165. As held in People v. Domado, mere lapses in procedures
need not invalidate a seizure if the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items can
be shown to have been preserved.

In the recent case of People vs. JakarMapan Le, the Supreme Court clarified that
there are links that must be established in the chain of custody in the buy-bust
situation: first,the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal drug recovered from
the accused by the apprehending officer; second, the turnover of the illegal drug seized by
the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; third, the turnover by the
investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory
examination; and fourth,the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized
from the forensic chemist to the court.
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Thus, the prosecution in this case was able to establish the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the shabu seized from accused-appellant, hence, there was
substantial compliance with the requirements of the law. It must be stressed that non-
compliance with Sec. 21 of [R.A.] 9165 does not render an accused’s arrest illegal or the
items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. The requirements under [R.A.] 9165
and its implementing rules are not inflexible. What is essential is ‘the preservation of the
integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in
the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.’

Anent appellant’s claim of denial of due process allegedly because he was not
assisted by counsel during the investigation and inquest proceedings, the Court cannot
accord credence to the same. As correctly observed by the CA, this issue cannot be
raised for the first time on appeal without offending the basic rules of fair play, justice
and due process. Besides, the fact that he was not assisted by counsel during the
investigation and inquest proceedings does not in any way affect his culpability. It has
already been held that “the infractions of the so-called Miranda rights render inadmissible
only the extrajudicial confession or admission made during custodial investigation.” 16
Here, appellant’s conviction was based not on his alleged uncounseled confession or
admission but on the testimony of the prosecution witness. (People vs. Bio,G.R. No.
195850, February 16, 2015,Del Castillo, J.:)

Chain of Custody. In every prosecution for the illegal sale of dangerous drugs,
the presentation of the drugs as evidence in court is material, because the identity of the
drugs seized should be established beyond any reasonable doubt. What is more, the fact
that the substance bought during the buy-bust operation is the same substance offered in
court should be proven. The preservation of the chain of custody of the drugs seized
performs the function of ensuring that unnecessary doubts attending the identity of the
evidence are removed.

Section 21(1) of Republic Act No. 9165 lays down the procedure to be followed
in the seizure and ensuing custody of the seized dangerous drugs, viz.:

Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered


Dangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and
Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. - The
PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of
dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as
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instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or


surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:

(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,
immediately after seizure and confiscation, 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, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and
the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to
sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof;

Section 21 (a), Article II of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of


Republic Act No. 9165, states:

(a) The apprehending office/team having initial custody and control of the drugs
shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, 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, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the
media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be
required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided,that the
physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search
warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the
apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless
seizures; Provided, further that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable
grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly
preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such
seizures of and custody over said items;

The foregoing procedure underscores the value of preserving the chain of custody
in relation to the dangerous drugs. To give effect to the procedure, the Dangerous Drugs
Board (DDB), which is the policy-making and strategy-formulating body in the planning
and formulation of policies and programs on drug prevention and control tasked to
develop and adopt a comprehensive, integrated, unified and balanced national drug abuse
prevention and control strategy, has defined chain of custody involving the dangerous
drugs and other substances in Section l(b) of DDB Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002
thusly: b. "Chain of Custody" means the duly recorded authorized movements and
custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs
or laboratory equipment of each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to
receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for
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destruction. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall include the
identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of the seized item, the
date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and
use in court as evidence, and the final disposition;

With this concern for the due recording of the authorized movement and custody
of the seized drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or
laboratory equipment, the presentation as evidence in court of the dangerous drugs
subject of the illegal sale is material in every prosecution for the illegal sale of dangerous
drugs. This materiality derives from the dangerous drugs being themselves the corpus
delicti. Indeed, proof of the corpus delicti is essential in every judgment of
conviction. Without proof of the corpus delicti, there is uncertainty about whether the
crime really transpired or not. To eliminate the uncertainty, the Prosecution should
account for every link in the chain of custody; otherwise, the crime is not established
beyond reasonable doubt. In other words, the Prosecution does not comply with the
indispensable requirement of proving the violation of Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9165
either when the dangerous drugs are missing or when there are substantial gaps in the
chain of custody of the seized dangerous drugs that raise doubts about the authenticity of
the evidence presented in court.

The last paragraph of Section 21 (a), Article II of the IRR of Republic Act No.
9165 provides a saving mechanism to ensure that not every case of non-compliance with
the safeguards to preserve the chain of custody will irretrievably prejudice the
Prosecution's case against the accused. However, in order for such saving mechanism to
apply, the Prosecution must first recognize the lapse or lapses in the prescribed
procedures and then explain the lapse or lapses. Here, however, the Prosecution did not
bother to show that a media representative, DOJ representative or elected public official
had been notified of the buy-bust operation or, assuming that the DOJ representative or
public official had been so priorly informed, the lawmen did not explain why none of
such representatives was around to witness the actual marking of the evidence. Indeed,
the Prosecution did not even try to show that the application of the saving mechanism
provided in Section 21 (a), Article II of the IRR of Republic Act No. 9165 would be
justified. Under the circumstances, the identification of the seized evidence in court
during the trial became ambiguous and unreliable, rendering the proof of the links in the
chain of custody of the corpus delicti unworthy of belief. (People vs. Alagarme,G.R. No.
184789, February 23, 2015,Bersamin, J.:)
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Chain of Custody .With respect to the seized illegal substance, the presentation
of the drug itself constitutes the corpus delicti of the offense and its existence is
indispensable to a judgment of conviction. It behooves upon the prosecution to establish
beyond reasonable doubt the identity of the narcotic substance. It must be shown that the
item subject of the offense is the same substance offered in court as exhibit.

The chain of custody requirements provided for in Section 21, Article II of R.A.
9165 performs this function as it ensures the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary
value of the item so that unnecessary doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are
removed. Besides, while there was indeed no physical inventory conducted and no
photograph of the seized item was taken, the Court has already ruled in several cases that
the failure of the arresting officers to strictly comply with the law is not fatal and will not
render an accused's arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible.

What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the


evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would be utilized in the determination
of the guilt or innocence of the accused. Here, after petitioner was arrested and the
suspected shabu was confiscated from him by PO1 Sta. Maria, the latter immediately
brought the item to the police station where he marked the plastic sachet with petitioner's
initials "ATO," and turned it over to the investigator POl Garcia. The latter, together with
POl Sta. Maria, then forwarded the said plastic sachet marked with "ATO" 'and the letter
request for laboratory examination to the WPD Crime Laboratoiy. Forensic Chemist
P/Insp. Macapagal personally received the same from POl Garcia and after conducting
qualitative examination on the contents thereof, found the same to be positive for
methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. When the prosecution presented as evidence
in court the plastic sachet marked with "ATO," POl Sta. Maria in no uncertain terms
positively identified it as the one he confiscated from petitioner. It is therefore beyond
cavil that the chain of custody of the seized item was shown to not have been broken,
and, hence, its integrity and evidentiary value properly preserved. (ALEX TIONCO Y
ORTEGA versus PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,G.R. No. 192284, March 11,
2015)

BOUNCING CHECKS LAW

Immateriality of intent. In cases like violation of BP 22, a special law, the intent
in issuing a check is immaterial; Thus, regardless or her intent, she remains civilly liable
because the act or omission, the making and issuing of the subject check, from which her
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civil liability arises, evidently exists.―In cases like violation of BP 22, a special law, the
intent in issuing a check is immaterial. The law has made the mere act of issuing a bad
check malumprohibitum, an act proscribed by the legislature for being deemed pernicious
and inimical to public welfare. Considering the rule in mala prohibita cases, the only
inquiry is whether the law been breached. The lower courts were unanimous in finding
that, indeed, Purificacion issued the bouncing check. Thus, regardless of her intent, she
remains civilly liable because the act or omission, the making and issuing of the subject
check, from which her civil liability arises, evidently exists. (Nissan Gallery-Ortigas vs.
Purification F. Felipe,G.R. No. 199067, November 11, 2013,Mendoza, J. )

Elements of the crime and what the law actually punishes. The elements of a
violation of B.P. 22 are the following: 1) making, drawing and issuing any check to apply
on account or for value; 2) knowledge of the maker, drawer or issuer that at the time of
issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment
of the check in full upon its presentment; and 3) subsequent dishonor of the check by the
drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or dishonor of the check for the same
reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.

In convicting petitioner of two counts of violation of B.P. 22, the CA applied


Tiong v. Co, in which we said: The purpose of suspending the proceedings under P.D.
No. 902-A is to prevent a creditor from obtaining an advantage or preference over
another and to protect and preserve the rights of party litigants as well as the interest of
the investing public or creditors. It is intended to give enough breathing space for the
management committee or rehabilitation receiver to make the business viable again,
without having to divert attention and resources to litigations in various fora. The
suspension would enable the management committee or rehabilitation receiver to
effectively exercise its/his powers free from any judicial or extrajudicial interference that
might unduly hinder or prevent the "rescue" of the debtor company. To allow such other
action to continue would only add to the burden of the management committee or
rehabilitation receiver, whose time, effort and resources would be wasted in defending
claims against the corporation instead of being directed toward its restructuring and
rehabilitation.

Whereas, the gravamen of the offense punished by B.P. Blg. 22 is the act of
making and issuing a worthless check; that is, a check that is dishonored upon its
presentation for payment. It is designed to prevent damage to trade, commerce, and
banking caused by worthless checks. In Lozano v. Martinez, this Court declared that it is
not the nonpayment of an obligation which the law punishes. The law is not intended or
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designed to coerce a debtor to pay his debt. The thrust of the law is to prohibit, under pain
of penal sanctions, the making and circulation of worthless checks. Because of its
deleterious effects on the public interest, the practice is proscribed by the law. The law
punishes the act not as an offense against property, but an offense against public order.
The prime purpose of the criminal action is to punish the offender in order to deter him
and others from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from society, to
reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order. Hence, the criminal
prosecution is designed to promote the public welfare by punishing offenders and
deterring others.

Consequently, the filing of the case for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 is not a "claim"
that can be enjoined within the purview of P.D. No. 902-A. True, although conviction of
the accused for the alleged crime could result in the restitution, reparation or
indemnification of the private offended party for the damage or injury he sustained by
reason of the felonious act of the accused, nevertheless, prosecution for violation of B.P.
Blg. 22 is a criminal action. The CA furthermore cited Tiong in this wise: Moreover, it is
a basic principle in criminal law that any ambiguity in the interpretation or application of
the law must be made in favor of the accused. Surely, our laws should not be interpreted
in such a way that the interpretation would result in the disobedience of a lawful order of
an authority vested by law with the jurisdiction to issue the order.

Consequently, because there was a suspension of GSMC s obligations, petitioner


may not be held liable for the civil obligations of the corporation covered by the bank
checks at the time this case arose. However, it must be emphasized that her non-liability
should not prejudice the right of El Grande to pursue its claim through remedies available
to it, subject to the SEC . (Gidwani vs. People,G.R. No. 195064, January 15,
2014,Sereno, CJ.:)

Evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds. To be liable for violation of B.P.


22, the following essential elements must be present: (1) the making, drawing, and
issuance of any check to apply for account or for value; (2) the knowledge of the maker,
drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit
with the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and (3)
the subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or
credit or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause,
ordered the bank to stop payment.
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The presence of the first and third elements is undisputed. An issue being
advanced by Campos through the present petition concerns her alleged failure to receive
a written demand letter from FWCC, the entity in whose favor the dishonored checks
were issued. In a line of cases, the Court has emphasized the importance of proof of
receipt of such notice of dishonor, although not as an element of the offense, but as a
means to establish that the issuer of a check was aware of insufficiency of funds when he
issued the check and the bank dishonored it, in relation to the second element of the
offense and Section 2 of B.P. 22. Considering that the second element involves a state of
mind which is difficult to establish, Section 2 of B.P. 22 creates a presumption of
knowledge of insufficiency of funds, as it reads:

Sec. 2. Evidence of knowledge of insufficient funds. – The making, drawing, and


issuance of a check payment of which is refused by the drawee because of insufficient
funds in or credit with such bank, when presented within ninety days from the date of the
check, shall be prima facie evidence of knowledge of such insufficiency of funds or
credit unless such maker or drawer pays the holder thereof the amount due thereon, or
makes arrangements for payment in full by the drawee of such check within five (5)
banking days after receiving notice that such check has not been paid by the drawee.
(Campos vs. People,G.R. No. 187401, September 17, 2014,Reyes, J.:)
Payment even beyond the 5-day period extinguishes criminal liability.
Petitioner issued two (2) cheques amounting to 100,000 pesos each payable to CASH
which he gave to Mr. Willy Castor as his campaign donation in 1998. Castor used the
cheques to pay for printing materials. Claiming that these materials were delivered too
late, he instructed petitioner to issue a “Stop Payment Order” prompting the private
complainant to send two (2) demand letters to petitioner and subsequently filed a
complaint before the office of the prosecutor. After one month and receiving subpoena,
petitioner issued a replacement cheque in the amount of 200,000 pesos which private
complainant was able to encash. Nevertheless, six months after petitioner have paid the
amount of the bounce cheques, two criminal cases were filed against him for violation of
BP Blg. 22

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner is liable for BP Blg. 22

HELD: Considering that the money value of two cheques issued by petitioner has
already been effectively paid two years before the information’s against him were filed,
we find merit in this petition. We hold that petitioner herein could not be validity and
justly convicted or sentenced for violation of B.P. 22. Although payment of the value of
the bounced check, if made beyond the 5-day period provided for in B.P. Blg. 22, would
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normally not extinguish criminal liability, the aforementioned cases show that the Court
acknowledges the existence of extraordinary cases where, even if all the elements of the
crime of offense are present, the conviction of the accused would prove to be abhorrent to
society’s sense of justice. Just like in Griffith and in Tan, petitioner should not be
penalized although all the elements of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 are proven to be present.
The fact that the issuer of the check had already paid the value of the dishonored check
after having received the subpoena from the Office of the Prosecutor should have
forestalled the filing of the Information in court. The spirit of the law which, for B.P.
Blg. 22, is the protection of the credibility and stability of the banking system, would not
be served by penalizing people who have evidently made amends for their mistakes and
made restitution for damages even before charges have been filed against them. In effect,
the payment of the checks before the filing of the information has already attained the
purpose of the law. (Ariel T. Lim vs People,G.R. No. 190834, November 26,
2014,Peralta, J.:)

THE ANTI-CHILD ABUSE LAW

Doctrines: Several oft-repeated doctrines find application in the instant appeal.


First. “Issues of sufficiency of evidence are resolved by reference to findings of
the trial court that are entitled to the highest respect on appeal in the absence of any clear
and overwhelming showing that the trial court neglected, misunderstood or misapplied
some facts or circumstances of weight and substance affecting the result of the case.”

Second. It is the most natural reaction for victims of crimes to strive to remember
the faces of their assailants and the manner in which the craven acts are committed.

Third. Absent any evidence showing any reason or motive for prosecution
witnesses to perjure, the logical conclusion is that no such improper motive exists, and
their testimonies are thus worthy of full faith and credit.

Fourth. Where the acts of the accused collectively and individually demonstrate
the existence of a common design towards the accomplishment of the same unlawful
purpose, conspiracy is evident, and all the perpetrators will be liable as principals.31
Stated otherwise, to hold an accused guilty as a co-principal by reason of conspiracy, he
must be shown to have performed an overt act in pursuance or furtherance of the
complicity. (PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES versus ALFREDO JOSEy LAGUA
,G.R. No. 200053, October 23, 2013,REYES,J.:)
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Sexual abuse and Lascivious conduct explained. Sexual abuse under Section
5(b), Article III of R.A. No. 7610 has three elements: (1) the accused commits an act of
sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct; (2) the said act is performed with a child
exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual abuse; and (3) the child is below
18 years old.

Lascivious conduct means the intentional touching, either directly or through


clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction
of any object into the genitalia, anus, or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or
opposite sex, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the
sexual desire of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals
or pubic area of a person. On the other hand, a child is deemed subjected to “other sexual
abuse” when he or she indulges in lascivious conduct under the coercion or influence of
any adult. (People vs. Arcilla,G.R. No. 208761, June 4, 2014,Reyes, J.:)

Sexual abuse and Lascivious conduct explained. RA 7610, otherwise known as


the “Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination
Act”, defines and penalizes child prostitution and other sexual abuse. “Sexual abuse
includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of a child
to engage in, or assist another person to engage in, sexual intercourse or lascivious
conduct or the molestation, prostitution, or incest with children. Lascivious conduct
means the intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus,
groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object into the genitalia,
anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to
abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person,
bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person.”

Section 5(b) of R.A. No. 7610 punishes sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct
not only with a child exploited in prostitution but also with a child subjected to other
sexual abuse. It covers not only a situation where a child is abused for profit but also one
in which a child, through coercion, intimidation or influence, engages in sexual
intercourse or lascivious conduct. (People vs. Gaduyon,G.R. No. 181473 November 11,
2013,Del Castillo, J.)

Elements of sexual abuse .The elements of sexual abuse under Section 5, Article
III of RA 7610 are the following: 1. The accused commits the act of sexual intercourse or
lascivious conduct; 2. The said act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or
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subjected to other sexual abuse; and 3. The child, whether male or female, is below 18
years of age.

There is no doubt that the accused-appellant is guilty of acts of lasciviousness


under Section 5(b), Article XIII of RA 7610 after having admitted the lascivious conduct
he made with AAA. It is undisputed that AAA was still 12 years old when the crime
happened and as admitted by the accused-appellant himself, he was touching AAA
because AAA was looking for money inside his pocket and he told AAA to remove her
short pants for him to see her private part. x xx. It is important to note however that a
child is deemed subjected to other sexual abuse when the child indulges in lascivious
conduct under the coercion or influence of any adult. x xx

For conviction to be had in the crime of rape, the following elements must be
proven beyond reasonable doubt: (1) that the accused had carnal knowledge of the
victim; and (2) that said act was accomplished (a) through the use of force or
intimidation, or (b) when the victim is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious, or
(c) when the victim is twelve years of age, or is demented

In People v. Espinoza, it was held that healed lacerations do not negate rape. In
fact, lacerations, whether healed or fresh, are the best physical evidence of forcible
defloration.x x x. Moreover, in the present case, Dr.Orais clarified to the court that even if
the alleged sexual assault took place in the year 2005 or a year after AAA was examined,
the old healed lacerations could still be found. (People vs. Sanico,G.R. No. 208469,
August 13, 2014,Reyes, J.:)

Higher penalty when victim is a child. The Anti-Rape Law of 1997 classified
rape as a crime against persons and amended the Revised Penal Code to include Article
266-A on rape through sexual assault: Rape; When and How Committed.—Rape is
Committed— 1.) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of
the following circumstances: a.) Through force, threat, or intimidation; b.) When the
offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; c.) By means of
fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and d.) When the offended party is
under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances
mentioned above bepresent;
2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof,
shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth
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or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another
person.

Rape under the second paragraph of Article 266-A is also known as “instrument
or object rape,” “gender-free rape,” or “homosexual rape.” The gravamen of rape
through sexual assault is “the insertion of the penis into another person’s mouth or anal
orifice, or any instrument or object, into another person’s genital or anal orifice.”

In People v. Soria, this court discussed that a victim need not identify what was
inserted into his or her genital or anal orifice for the court to find that rape through sexual
assault was committed: We find it inconsequential that “AAA” could not specifically
identify the particular instrument or object that was inserted into her genital. What is
important and relevant is that indeed something was inserted into her vagina. To require
“AAA” to identify the instrument or object that was inserted into her vagina would be
contrary to the fundamental tenets of due process.

Second, petitioner’s reliance on the medico-legal’s finding of no recent trauma in


XXX’s anal orifice, or any trace of spermatozoa, lacks merit. The absence of
spermatozoa in XXX’s anal orifice does not negate the possibility of an erection and
penetration. This result does not contradict the positive testimony of XXX that the lower
courts found credible, natural, and consistent with human nature.

Section 4 in relation to Section 5 of Rule 120 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure


provides for the “variance doctrine”: SEC. 4. Judgment in case of variance between
allegation and proof.—When there is variance between the offense charged in the
complaint or information and that proved, and the offense as charged is included in or
necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense
proved which is included in the offense charged, or of the offense charged which is
included in the offense proved. SEC. 5. When an offense includes or is included in
another.—An offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the
essential elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the complaint or
information, constitute the latter. And an offense charged is necessarily included in the
offense proved, when the essential ingredients of the former continue or form part of
those constituting the latter.

In Sumingwa, the accused in Criminal Case Nos. 1649 and 1654 was charged with
qualified rape but was convicted for the lesser offense of acts of lasciviousness
committed against a child under Article III, Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 7610 since
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“there was no penetration, or even an attempt to insert [the accused’s] penis into [the
victim’s] vagina.” In the instant case, no variance exists between what was charged and
what was proven during trial. The prosecution established beyond reasonable doubt all
elements of the crime of rape through sexual assault.

The slightest penetration into one’s sexual organ distinguishes an act of


lasciviousness from the crime of rape. People v. Bonaagua discussed this distinction: It
must be emphasized, however, that like in the crime of rape whereby the slightest
penetration of the male organ or even its slightest contact with the outer lip or the labia
majora of the vagina already consummates the crime, in like manner, if the tongue, in an
act of cunnilingus, touches the outer lip of the vagina, the act should also be considered
as already consummating the crime of rape through sexual assault, not the crime of acts
of lasciviousness. Notwithstanding, in the present case, such logical interpretation could
not be applied. It must be pointed out that the victim testified that Ireno only touched her
private part and licked it, but did not insert his finger in her vagina. This testimony of the
victim, however, is open to various interpretation, since it cannot be identified what
specific part of the vagina was defiled by Ireno. Thus, in conformity with the principle
that the guilt of an accused must be proven beyond reasonable doubt, the statement
cannot be the basis for convicting Ireno with the crime of rape through sexual assault.

People v. Bonaagua considers a woman’s private organ since most if not all
existing jurisprudence on rape involves a woman victim. Nevertheless, this interpretation
can apply by analogy when the victim is a man in that the slightest penetration to the
victim’s anal orifice consummates the crime of rape through sexual assault. The
gravamen of the crime is the violation of the victim’s dignity. The degree of penetration
is not important. Rape is an “assault on human dignity.”

People v. Quintos discussed how rape causes incalculable damage on a victim’s


dignity, regardless of the manner of its commission: The classifications of rape in Article
266-A of the Revised Penal Code are relevant only insofar as these define the manners of
commission of rape. However, it does not mean that one manner is less heinous or wrong
than the other. Whether rape is committed by nonconsensual carnal knowledge of a
woman or by insertion of the penis into the mouth of another person, the damage to the
victim’s dignity is incalculable. Child sexual abuse in general has been associated with
negative psychological impacts such as trauma, sustained fearfulness, anxiety, self-
destructive behavior, emotional pain, impaired sense of self, and interpersonal
difficulties. Hence, one experience of sexual abuse should not be trivialized just because
it was committed in a relatively unusual manner.
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“The prime purpose of [a] criminal action is to punish the offender in order to
deter him and others from committing the same or similar offense, to isolate him from
society, reform and rehabilitate him or, in general, to maintain social order.” Crimes are
punished as retribution so that society would understand that the act punished was wrong.

Imposing different penalties for different manners of committing rape creates a


message that one experience of rape is relatively trivial or less serious than another. It
attaches different levels of wrongfulness to equally degrading acts. Rape, in whatever
manner, is a desecration of a person’s will and body. In terms of penalties, treating one
manner of committing rape as greater or less in heinousness than another may be of
doubtful constitutionality. However, the discriminatory treatment of these two acts with
the same result was not raised in this case. Acknowledging that every presumption must
be accorded in favor of accused in criminal cases, we have no choice but to impose a
lesser penalty for rape committed by inserting the penis into the mouth of the victim.

We affirm petitioner’s conviction but modify the penalty imposed by the lower
court to the penalty under Article III, Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 7610 known as the
“Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination
Act”: SEC. 5. Child Prostitution and Other Sexual Abuse.— Children, whether male
or female, who for money, profit, or any other consideration or due to the coercion or
influence of any adult, syndicate or group, indulge in sexual intercourse or lascivious
conduct, are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual abuse. The
penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period to reclusion perpertua shall be
imposed upon the following: xxx (b) Those who commit the act of sexual intercourse or
lascivious conduct with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to other sexual
abuse: Provided, That when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age, the perpetrators
shall be prosecuted under Article 335, paragraph 3, for rape and Article 336 of Act No.
3815, as amended, the Revised Penal Code, for rape or lascivious conduct, as the case
maybe: Provided, That the penalty for lascivious conduct when the victim is under
twelve (12) years of age shall be reclusion temporal in its medium period;

The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 7610 defines
“lascivious conduct”: The intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the
genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the introduction of any object
into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any person, whether of the same or opposite sex,
with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire
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of any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area
of a person.

In People v. Chingh, the accused was charged with rape “for inserting his fingers
and afterwards his penis into the private part of his minor victim.” The Court of Appeals
found the accused guilty of two counts of rape: statutory rape and rape through sexual
assault. This court modified the penalty imposed for rape through sexual assault to the
penalty provided in Article III, Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 7610, discussing as
follows: It is undisputed that at the time of the commission of the sexual abuse, VVV
was ten (10) years old. This calls for the application of R.A. No. 7610, or “The Special
Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” which
defines sexual abuse of children and prescribes the penalty therefor in Section 5(b),
Article III, to wit: . . . In this case, the offended party was ten years old at the time of the
commission of the offense. Pursuant to the above-quoted provision of law, Armando was
aptly prosecuted under paragraph 2, Article 266-A of the Revised Penal Code, as
amended by R.A. No. 8353, for Rape Through Sexual Assault. However, instead of
applying the penalty prescribed therein, which is prision mayor, considering that VVV
was below 12 years of age, and considering further that Armando’s act of inserting his
finger in VVV’s private part undeniably amounted to lascivious conduct, the appropriate
imposable penalty should be that provided in Section 5 (b), Article III of R.A. No. 7610,
which is reclusion temporal in its medium period.

The Court is not unmindful to the fact that the accused who commits acts of
lasciviousness under Article 366, in relation to Section 5 (b), Article III of R.A. No.
7610, suffers the more severe penalty of reclusion temporal in its medium period than
the one who commits Rape Through Sexual Assault, which is merely punishable by
prision mayor. This is undeniably unfair to the child victim. To be sure, it was not the
intention of the framers of R.A. No. 8353 to have disallowed the applicability of R.A.
No. 7610 to sexual abuses committed to children. Despite the passage of R.A. No. 8353,
R.A. No. 7610 is still good law, which must be applied when the victims are children or
those “persons below eighteen (18) years of age or those over but are unable to fully take
care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or
discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.”

Thus, “for Rape Through Sexual Assault under paragraph 2, Article 266-A, [the
accused Chingh was] sentenced to suffer the indeterminate penalty of twelve (12) years,
ten (10) months and twenty-one (21) days of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to fifteen
(15) years, six (6) months, and twenty (20) days of reclusion temporal, as maximum.”
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The imposable penalty under Republic Act No. 7610, Section 5(b) “for lascivious
conduct when the victim is under twelve (12) years of age shall be reclusion temporal in
its medium period.” This penalty is higher than the imposable penalty
of prisioncorreccional for acts of lasciviousness under Article 336 of the Revised Penal
Code.

In enacting Republic Act No. 7610, the legislature intended to impose a higher
penalty when the victim is a child. The fact that XXX was only 10 years old when the
incident happened was established by his birth certificate, and this was admitted by the
defense. His age of 10 years old was alleged in the Information. The higher penalty
under Republic Act No. 7610, as discussed in People v. Chingh, applies in this case.

Having sex with a 10-year-old is child abuse and is punished by a special law
(Republic Act No. 7610). It is a progression from the Revised Penal Code to provide
greater protection for children. Justice Velasco suggests that this is not so. He anchors
his view on his interpretation that Republic Act No. 7610 requires a showing that apart
from the actual coerced sexual act on the 10-year-old, the child must also be exploited by
prostitution or by other sexual acts. This view is inaccurate on grounds of verbalegis and
ratione legis.

The first paragraph of Article III, Section 5 of Republic Act No. 7610 clearly
provides that “children . . . who . . . due to the coercion . . . of any adult . . . indulge in
sexual intercourse . . . are deemed to be children exploited in prostitution and other sexual
abuse.” The label “children exploited in . . . other sexual abuse” inheres in a child who
has been the subject of coercion and sexual intercourse. Thus, paragraph (b) refers to a
specification only as to who is liable and the penalty to be imposed. The person who
engages in sexual intercourse with a child already coerced is liable.

It does not make sense for the law not to consider rape of a child as child abuse.
The proposal of Justice Velasco implies that there has to be other acts of a sexual nature
other than the rape itself that will characterize rape as child abuse. One count of rape is
not enough. Child abuse, in his view, is not yet present with one count of rape. This is a
dangerous calculus which borders on judicial insensitivity to the purpose of the law. If
we adopt his view, it would amount to our collective official sanction to the idea that a
single act of rape is not debilitating to a child. That a single act of rape is not a
tormenting memory that will sear into a child’s memory, frame his or her view of the
world, rob him or her of the trust that will enable him or her to have full and diverse
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meaningful interactions with other human beings. In my view, a single act of sexual
abuse to a child, by law, is already reprehensible. Our society has expressed that this is
conduct which should be punishable. The purpose and text of the law already punish that
single act as child abuse.

Rape is rape. Rape of a child is clearly, definitely, and universally child abuse.
Justice Velasco further observes that the right to due process of the accused will be
violated should we impose the penalty under Republic Act No. 7610. I disagree. The
Information was clear about the facts constitutive of the offense. The facts constitutive of
the offense will suggest the crime punishable by law. The principle is
that ignorantialegis non excusat. With the facts clearly laid out in the Information, the
law which punishes the offense should already be clear and the accused put on notice of
the charges against him. (Ricalde vs. People,G.R. No. 211002, January 21,
2015,Leonen, J.: )

Penalty imposed. Article 266-A. Rape; When and How Committed. – Rape is
committed – (1) By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the
following circumstances: (a) Through force, threat, or intimidation; (b) When the
offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; (c) By means of
fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and (d) When the offended party is
under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances
mentioned above be present. (2) By any person who, under any of the circumstances
mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting
his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object,
into the genital or anal orifice of another person.

Thus, the two incidents in July and August 1997 would have been categorized as
rape had these incidents happened after RA 8353 took effect on 22 October 1997.
However, since the two incidents happened prior to the affectivity of RA 8353, the
informations for Criminal Case Nos. 7588 and 7589 correctly charged the accused with
acts of lasciviousness (violation of Article 336 of the RPC in relation to Section 5 of RA
7610).

Therefore, we uphold the rulings of the trial court and the appellate court, finding
appellant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape and 15 counts of acts of
lasciviousness. For the crime of rape, appellant is sentenced to reclusion
perpetua without eligibility for parole, in accordance with Section 3 of RA 9346.
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On the 15 counts of acts of lasciviousness under Article 336 of the RPC in


relation to Section 5 of RA 7610, we find that the appellate court erred in the penalty
imposed. If the victim is under 12 years of age, the imposable penalty under Article III,
Section 5(b) of RA 7610, is reclusion temporal in its medium period, the range of which
is from 14 years, 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months. Applying the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, and in the absence of mitigating or aggravating
circumstances, the maximum term of the sentence to be imposed shall be taken from the
medium period of the imposable penalty, that is reclusion temporal medium, which
ranges from 15 years, 6 months and 20 days to 16 years, 5 months and 9 days. The
minimum term under the Indeterminate Sentence Law shall be taken from the penalty
next lower to the prescribed penalty of reclusion temporal medium that is reclusion
temporal minimum, which ranges from 12 years and 1 day to 14 years and 8 months.
Thus, the penalty to be imposed for each of the 15 counts of acts of lasciviousness under
Article 336 of the RPC in relation to Section 5(b) of RA 7610 shall be 12 years and 1 day
of reclusion temporal, as minimum, to 15 years, 6 months and 20 days of reclusion
temporal, as maximum. (People vs. Santos,G.R. No. 205308, February 11, 2015,Carpio,
J.: )

LAND TRANSPORTATION AND TRAFFIC CODE

What constitute reckless driving. In an information filed on July 20, 2006 in the
city of Manila, the said petitioner was charged for violation of Sec.56 (f) of R.A. 4136 for
driving under the influence of liquor. The police officers alleged that he was seen
swerving his pick-up truck at around 3:00AM. He was accosted and brought to the
Ospitalng Maynila, wherein a medical certificate was issued by a certain Dr. Balocatin
confirming his intoxication. Petitioner insists that no liquor test for drunken driving was
performed on him by the said doctor. In fact, he had himself tested by another doctor, Dr.
Devega in the same hospital on the same day wherein he was not found positive for
liquor.

ISSUE: Whether or not the charged of drunken driving is tenable.

HELD: Swerving is not necessarily indicative of imprudent behaviour let alone


constitutive of reckless driving. To constitute the offense of reckless driving, the act must
be something more than a mere negligence in an operation of a motor vehicle, and a
willful and wanton disregard of the consequences is required. When the police officers
stopped the vehicle, they did not issue any ticket for swerving as required under R.A.
4136. Conviction must come only after it survives the test of reason. Given the deviation
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of the police officers from the standard and usual procedure in dealing for traffic
violation by drivers perceived to be under the influence of alcohol, the presumption of
regularity in the conduct of police duty is misplaced. The presumption or regularity is
merely just that, a presumption disputable by contrary proof and which when challenged
by the evidence cannot be regarded as binding truth. And to be sure, this presumption
alone cannot preponderate over the presumption of innocence that prevails if not
overcome by proof that obliterates all doubts to the offender’s culpability. (Edmund
Sydeco y Sionzonvs People,G.R. No. 202692, November 12, 2014,Velasco, Jr., J.:)

MIGRANT WORKERS AND OVERSEAS FILIPINOS ACT OF 1995

What constitute Illegal recruitment. In six (6) information’s all dated June 6,
2003, herein petitioner and one Luz P. Garcia were charged before the RTC of Manila
with two (2) counts of illegal recruitment under Section 6, paragraphs (a), (1) and (m) of
R.A. 8042, otherwise known as the Migrant Workersand Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995,
as well as four (4) counts of estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal
Code. The six cases were consolidated and, after trial, the RTC of Manila, Branch 21,
rendering judgment finding petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts
of illegal recruitment and three (3) counts of estafa.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner is guilty of illegal recruitment

HELD: The prosecution has established that petitioner and her co-accused has
committed the acts enumerated under the provisions of Sec. 6 (a), (l) and (m) of RA 8042
when: (1) they separately charged the private complainants several amounts of money as
placement fees; (2) they failed to actually deploy the private complainants without valid
reasons, and: (3) they failed to reimburse the said complainants after such failure to
deploy.

Sec. 6. DEFINITIONS. - For purposes of this Act, illegal recruitment shall mean any act
of canvassing, enlisting, contracting, transporting, utilizing, hiring, procuring workers
and includes referring, contact services, promising or advertising for employment abroad,
whether for profit or not, when undertaken by a non-license or non-holder of authority
contemplated under Article 13(f) of Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, otherwise
known as the Labor Code of the Philippines. Provided, that such non-license or non-
holder, who, in any manner, offers or promises for a fee employment abroad to two or
more persons shall be deemed so engaged. It shall likewise include the following acts,
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whether committed by any persons, whether a non-licensee, non-holder, licensee or


holder of authority.

(a) To charge or accept directly or indirectly any amount greater than the specified in the
schedule of allowable fees prescribed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, or to
make a worker pay any amount greater than that actually received by him as a loan or
advance;

(l) Failure to actually deploy without valid reasons as determined by the Department of
Labor and Employment; and
(m) Failure to reimburse expenses incurred by the workers in connection with his
documentation and processing for purposes of deployment, in cases where the
deployment does not actually take place without the worker's fault. Illegal recruitment
when committed by a syndicate or in large scale shall be considered as offense involving
economic sabotage. (Vilma M. Sulimanvs People,G.R. No. 190970, November 24,
2014,Peralta, J.:)

ILLEGAL/UNLAWFUL POSSESSION, MANUFACTURE, DEALING IN,


ACQUISITION OR DISPOSITION, OF FIREARMS

Use of Unlicensed Firearms as a Special Aggravating Circumstance


Moreover, as the RTC and CA held, the special aggravating circumstance of use of
unlicensed firearm, which was duly alleged in the Information, should be appreciated in
the imposition of penalty. Presidential Decree No. (PD) 1866, as amended by Republic
Act No. (RA) 8294, treats the unauthorized use of a licensed firearm in the commission
of the crimes of homicide or murder as a special aggravating circumstance:

Section 1. Presidential Decree No. 1866, as amended, is hereby further amended


to read as follows:

“Section 1. Unlawful Manufacture, Sale, Acquisition, Disposition or Possession


of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments Used or Intended to be Used in the
Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunition. – x x x.

x x x x “If homicide or murder is committed with the use of an unlicensed


firearm, such use of an unlicensed firearm shall be considered as an aggravating
circumstance. x x x x (Emphasis supplied)
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Further, under Section 5 of RA 8294, the scope of the term “unlicensed firearm”
has already been expanded as follows:

Sec. 5. Coverage of the Term Unlicensed Firearm. – The term unlicensed firearm
shall include:

1. firearms with expired license; or


2. unauthorized use of licensed firearm in the commission of the crime.
(PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DANIEL MATIBAG Y DE
VILLA ,G.R. No. 206381, March 25, 2015,PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:)

INDETERMINATE SENTENCE LAW

Parole; Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 provides that persons convicted of
offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be reduced to
reclusion perpetua, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103, otherwise
known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended.—With the guilt of accused-
appellant for the eight rapes already established beyond reasonable doubt, the Court of
Appeals was correct in imposing the penalty of reclusion perpetua, without eligibility of
parole, instead of death, for each count of rape, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9346.
Section 2 of Republic Act No. 9346 imposes the penalty of reclusion perpetua in lieu of
death, when the law violated makes use of the nomenclature of the penalties of the
Revised Penal Code. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 9346 further provides that persons
convicted of offenses punished with reclusion perpetua, or whose sentences will be
reduced to reclusion perpetua, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4103,
otherwise known as the Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended. (People of the
Philippines vs. Vicente Candellada,701 SCRA 19, G.R. No. 189293, July 10,
2013,LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.:)

With the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346, the imposition of the death
penalty has been prohibited. This Court accordingly imposes the penalty of reclusion
perpetua without eligibility for parole.―Considering the presence of the special
qualifying circumstance of the appellant’s knowledge of the victim’s mental retardation,
the same being properly alleged in the Information charging the appellant of the crime of
rape and proven during trial, this Court imposes on the appellant the supreme penalty of
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death. But with the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346, the imposition of the death
penalty has been prohibited. This Court accordingly imposes the penalty of reclusion
perpetua without eligibility for parole. (People of the Philippines vs. Ninoy Rosales y
Esto ,702 SCRA 297, G.R. No. 197537, July 24, 2013,PEREZ, J.:)

Illegibility for parole. 17-year old private complainant AAA was a victim of
rape. On her way to the fields to pasture her three carabaos and eight goats she saw the
accused-appellant and Marcelino Bacnis (Bacnis) drinking gin in the house of both AAA
and Bacnis’ uncle, UUU.She was surprised when the accused-appellant and Bacnis
approached her from behind and undressed her and that the two accused took turns in
raping her. While one of them was raping her, the other was holding her hands and vice
versa. According to AAA, the accused-appellant and Bacnis warned her not to tell anyone
about the incident, otherwise they would kill her. Eventually, however, AAA told her
mother about it when the latter noticed that AAA was pregnant.The accused-appellant
and Bacnis both interposed alibis as a defense. Bacnis alleged that he was with his friends
in the town plaza in the evening of the incident.Bacnis also testified that AAA was his
girlfriendand they became intimate and had sexual intercourse. He allegedly offered to
marry AAA when she told him that she was pregnant, but AAA’s parents did not want
him to marry her.

Issue:
1. Whether or not the two persons accused are guilty of rape?
2. Whether or not the accused is eligible for parole?

HELD:

2. No. On matters of parole. The CA correctly affirmed the imposition of


reclusion perpetua as penalty against the accused-appellant. “It must be emphasized,
however, that the [appellant] shall not be eligible for parole pursuant to Section 3 of
Republic Act No. 9346 which states that ‘persons convicted of offenses punished with
reclusion perpetua, or whose sentence will be reduced by reclusion perpetua by reason of
this Act, shall not be eligible for parole under Act No. 4180, otherwise known as the
Indeterminate Sentence Law, as amended. (PEOPLE vs BATTAD, BACNIS ,G.R. No.
206368, August 6, 2014,REYES, J.:)

Penalties; Prohibition on imposition of death penalty; Under Article 266-B of


the Revised Penal Code, as amended, the imposable penalty for qualified rape is death.
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With the effectivity, however, of Republic Act No. 9346, entitled, “An Act Prohibiting the
Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines,” the imposition of the supreme penalty of
death has been prohibited. Pursuant to Section 241 thereof, the penalty to be meted out
to appellant shall be reclusion perpetua. (People vs. Tabayan,G.R. No. 190620, June
18, 2014.Perez, J.:)
Indeterminate Sentence Law. ―Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence Law
requires the court, in imposing a prison sentence for an offense punished by the Revised
Penal Code, or its amendments, to sentence the accused “to an indeterminate sentence the
maximum term of which shall be that which, in view of the attending circumstances,
could be properly imposed under the rules of the said Code, and the minimum which
shall be within the range of the penalty next lower to that prescribed by the Code for the
offense.” Accordingly, the maximum of the indeterminate penalty in this case should be
within the range of the medium period of the penalty, i.e., from 16 years and 1 day to 20
years, because neither aggravating nor mitigating circumstance attended the commission
of the crime; and the minimum of the indeterminate sentence should be within the range
of the penalty next lower in degree to that prescribed for the crime, without regard to its
periods. (Gilfredo Bacolod a.k.a. Gilardo Bacolod vs. People of the Philippines,701
SCRA 229, G.R. No. 206236, July 15, 2013,BERSAMIN, J.:)

When an offense is punished by special law. Under the Indeterminate Sentence


Law, if the offense is punished by a special law such as R.A. 3019, the trial court shall
sentence the accused to an indeterminate penalty, the maximum term of which shall not
exceed the maximum fixed by this law, and the minimum term shall not be less than the
minimum prescribed by the same law. The penalty for violation of Section 3(e) of R.A.
3019 is “imprisonment for not less than six years and one month nor more than fifteen
years, perpetual disqualification from public office, and confiscation or forfeiture in favor
of the Government of any prohibited interest and unexplained wealth manifestly out of
proportion to his salary and other lawful income.” Hence, the indeterminate penalty of 12
years and 1 month as minimum to 15 years as maximum imposed by the Sandiganbayan
in the present case is within the range fixed by law. (Benilda N. Bacasmas vs.
Sandiganbayan and People of the Philippines/Alan C. Gaviola vs. People of the
Philippines/Eustaquio B. Cesa vs. People of the Philippines ,701 SCRA 35, G.R. Nos.
189343/189369/189553, July 10, 2013 ,SERENO, CJ.:)

Indeterminate Sentence Law.—Under Section 1 of the Indeterminate Sentence


Law, an indeterminate sentence is imposed on the offender consisting of a maximum term
and a minimum term. The maximum term is the penalty under the Revised Penal Code
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properly imposed after considering any attending circumstance; while the minimum term
is within the range of the penalty next lower than that prescribed by the Revised Penal
Code for the offense committed. (ZAFRA vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,G.R.
No. 176317. July 23, 2014,BERSAMIN, J.:)

Indeterminate Sentence Law; Penalty for homicide; The Court also sees fit to
correct the indeterminate sentence of 10 years and one day of prision mayor, as the
minimum, to 17 years and eight months of reclusion temporal, as the maximum, fixed by
the RTC and affirmed by the CA. The maximum of 17 years and eight months comes
from the maximum period of reclusion temporal, but the maximum of the indeterminate
sentence should instead come from the medium period of reclusion temporal, whose
duration is from 14 years, eight months and one day to 17 years and four months, because
neither the RTC nor the CA had found the attendance of any aggravating circumstance.
The minimum of the indeterminate sentence is fixed at 10 years of prision mayor, and the
maximum of 17 years and eight months of reclusion temporal is modified to 17 years and
four months of the medium period of reclusion temporal. (Emeritu C. Barut v. People of
the Philippine, G.R. No. 167454, September 24, 2014
Bersamin, J.)