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soliven vs marcos

soliven vs marcos

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Published by Michael Harding
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Published by: Michael Harding on Dec 12, 2012
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04/14/2014

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[205 SCRA 791; G.R. No. 95902; 4 Feb 1992]

Facts:

NARCOM agents staged a buy-bust operation, after gaining information that there was an
ongoing illegal traffic of prohibited drugs in Tagas, Albay. The participating agents were given
money treated with ultraviolet powder. One of the agents went to said location, asked for a
certain Don. Thereafter, the Don, herein accused, met with him and “a certain object wrapped in
a plastic” later identified as marijuana was given in exchange for P200. The agent went back to
headquarters and made a report, based on which, a team was subsequently organized and a raid
was conducted in the house of the father of the accused. During the raid, the NARCOM agents
were able to confiscate dried marijuana leaves and a plastic syringe among others. There was
no authorization by any search warrant. The accused was found positive of ultraviolet powder.
The lower court, considering the evidences obtained and testimonies from the prosecution, found
him guilty of violating the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 and sentenced him to reclusion perpetua.

Issue:

Whether or Not the lower court was correct in its judgment.

Held:

The NARCOM agents’ procedure in the entrapment of the accused failed to meet the qualification
that the suspected drug dealer must be caught red-handed in the act of selling marijuana to a

Page 80

Section 1-C, SY ’06-‘07

San Beda College of Law – Alabang

Constitutional Law 2 Case Digests

person posing as a buyer, since the operation was conducted after the actual exchange. Said
raid also violated accused’ right against unreasonable search and seizure, as the situation did not
fall in the circumstances wherein a search may be validly made even without a search warrant,
i.e. when the search is incidental to a lawful arrest; when it involves prohibited articles in plain
view. The NARCOM agents could not have justified their act by invoking the urgency and
necessity of the situation because the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses reveal that the
place had already been put under surveillance for quite some time. Had it been their intention to
conduct the raid, then they should, because they easily could, have first secured a search warrant
during that time. The Court further notes the confusion and ambiguity in the identification of the
confiscated marijuana leaves and other prohibited drug paraphernalia presented as evidence
against appellant:

CIC Taduran, who acted as the poseur buyer, testified that appellant sold him 100 grams of dried
marijuana leaves wrapped in a plastic bag. Surprisingly, and no plausible explanation has been
advanced therefor, what were submitted to and examined by the PCCL and thereafter utilized as
evidence against the appellant were the following items:

One (1) red and white colored plastic bag containing the following:

Exh. "A"—Thirty (30) grams of suspected dried marijuana fruiting tops contained
inside a transparent plastic bag.
Exh. "B"— Fifty (50) grams of suspected dried marijuana leaves and seeds
contained inside a white colored plastic labelled "Robertson".
Exh. "C"— Four (4) aluminum foils each containing suspected dried marijuana
fruiting tops having a total weight of seven grams then further wrapped
with a piece of aluminum foil.
Exh. "D"— Five (5) small transparent plastic bags each containing suspected
dried marijuana fruiting tops having a total weight of seventeen grams.
Exh. "E"— One plastic syringe.

Evidently, these prohibited articles were among those confiscated during the so-called follow-up
raid in the house of Rodrigueza’s father. The unanswered question then arises as to the identity
of the marijuana leaves that became the basis of appellant's conviction. In People vs. Rubio, this
Court had the occasion to rule that the plastic bag and the dried marijuana leaves contained
therein constitute the corpus delicti of the crime. As such, the existence thereof must be proved
with certainty and conclusiveness. Failure to do so would be fatal to the cause of the prosecution.
Conviction is reversed and set aside and accused is acquitted.

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