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179939, September 29, 2008
FACTS: On the afternoon of June 9, 2003 at about 430 PM a team of policemen, acting on a validated report from a concerned citizen that appellant, Geraldine Magat, was engaged in selling drugs, descended on the house of said appellant. PO1 Phillip Santos of the Drug Enforcement Unit of Meycauayan Police Station approached appellant as she was standing in front of her house and asked “Ate, meron bang dalawang piso?” Appellant then went inside the house and upon returning gave a plastic sachet, PO1 Santos then gave her the 2 marked PHP 100 bills. At which time appellat was informed that she was being arrested for violation of RA 9165. In a decision by Branch 78, RTC of Malolos dated February 21, 2006, appellant was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violating Sections 5 and 11 of RA 9165. On appeal, the CA in a decision dated June 7, 2007 affirmed the lower courts decision. ISSUE: Did the trial court err in convicting appellant despite the prosecutor’s failure to establish the identity of the prohibited drugs? RULING: Yes, the Court ruled that in all criminal prosecutions for violations of RA 9165 the following elements must in all criminal prosecutions for violations of RA 9165 the following elements must be proved: (1) that the transaction took place, (2) corpus delicti presented as evidence. In case at bar, Section 21 of RA 9165 was not complied with as PO1 Santos admitted markings of evidence (2 heat sealed sachets) were done at the police station and not in the place of arrest, no inventory or photographs were taken of confiscated items, no representatives of media, the DOJ, and any elected public official was present to to sign the inventory of seized items. PO1 Santos marked the evidence without the presence of the accused, ergo, corpus delicti in this case is not legally extant. Decision of the lower court is reversed and set-aside. Appellant is acquitted on the grounds of reasonable doubt and released.