Michael Padua vs People of the PhilippinesGR 168546 (July 23, 2008)Facts: Petitioner, who was then 17 years old

, wasinvolved in selling illegal drugs. Initially in his arraignment he pleaded not guilty but re-enteredhis plea of guilty to avail the benefits of firs timeoffenders. Subsequently, he applied for probationbut was denied. In his petition for certiorari, thecourt said that probation and suspension of sentence are different and provisions in PD 603 orRA 9344 cannot be invoked to avail probation. It isspecifically stated that in drug trafficking,application for probation should be denied. As aside issue, the court discussed the availment of suspension of sentence under RA 9344. ISSUE Whether suspension of sentence under RA9344 can still be invoked given the fact that theaccused is now 21 years old. HELD NO. The suspension of sentence underSection 38 of Rep. Act No. 9344 could no longer Section 38 of Rep. Act No. 9344 provides that oncea child under 18 years of age is found guilty of theoffense charged, instead of pronouncing thejudgment of conviction, the court shall place thechild in conflict with the law under suspendedsentence. Section 40 of Rep. Act No. 9344, however,provides that once the child reaches 18 years of age, the court shall determine whether to dischargethe child, order execution of sentence, or extendthe suspended sentence for a certain specifiedperiod or until the child reaches the maximumage of 21 years . Petitioner has already reached 21years of age or over and thus, could no longer beconsidered a child for purposes of applying Rep.Act 9344. Thus, the application of Sections 38 and40 appears moot and academic as far as his case isconcerned.

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