G.R. No.

143944 July 11, 2002
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
BASHER BONGCARAWAN y MACARAMBON, accused-appellant.
FACTS: The accused was convicted of violation of Section 16, Article III of Repulic Act !o. 6"#$ %&an'erous &ru's Act(. The
antecedent facts of his conviction are as follows:
)vidence for the prosecution shows that on *arch 11, 1+++, an interisland passen'er ship, *,- Super Ferr. $, sailed fro/ *anila to
Ili'an Cit.. At aout 0:11 a./. on *arch 10, 1+++, the vessel was aout to doc2 at the port of Ili'an Cit. when its !"u#$%y o&&$"!#, *ar2
&ies/o, received a co/plaint fro/ passen'er 3orena Cano. aout her /issin' 4ewelr.. Cano. suspected one of her co-passen'ers at
cain no. 116 as the culprit. &ies/o '() &ou# *4+ o%,!# -!-.!# o& %,! /!!l !"u#$%y &o#"! acco/panied Cano. to search for the
suspect who/ the. later found at the econo/. section. The suspect was identified as the accused, 5asher 5on'carawan. The accused
was infor/ed of the co/plaint and was invited to 'o ac2 to cain no. 116. W$%, ,$ "o(!(%, ,! 0' .o)$ly !'#",!), .u% (o
1!0!l#y 0' &ou(). 6e was then escorted . two %#( securit. a'ents ac2 to the econo/. section to 'et his a''a'e. T,! '""u!)
%oo2 ' S'-o($%! u$%"'! '() .#ou3,% %,$ .'"2 %o %,! "'.$(. W,!( #!4u!%!) .y %,! !"u#$%y, %,! '""u!) o5!(!) %,!
u$%"'!, #!/!'l$(3 ' .#o0( .'3 '() -'ll 5l'%$" 5'"2 "o(%'$($(3 0,$%! "#y%'ll$(! u.%'("!. Suspectin' the sustance to e
7shau,7 the securit. personnel i//ediatel. reported the /atter to the ship captain and too2 pictures of the accused eside the
suitcase and its contents. The. also called the 8hilippine Coast 9uard for assistance.
5ut the accused countered this . sa.in' that the Sa/sonite suitcase containin' the /etha/pheta/ine h.drochloride or 7shau7 was
forcil. opened and searched without his consent, and hence, in violation of his constitutional ri'ht a'ainst unreasonale search and
sei:ure. An. evidence ac;uired pursuant to such unlawful search and sei:ure, he clai/s, is inad/issile in evidence a'ainst hi/.
ISS<): =>! the conviction was valid
6)3&: ?)S
The ri'ht a'ainst unreasonale search and sei:ure is a funda/ental ri'ht protected . the Constitution. )vidence ac;uired in violation
of this ri'ht shall e inad/issile for an. purpose in an. proceedin'. =henever this ri'ht is challen'ed, an individual /a. choose
etween invo2in' the constitutional protection or waivin' his ri'ht . 'ivin' consent to the search and sei:ure. It should e stressed,
however, that protection is a'ainst trans'ression co//itted . the 'overn/ent or its a'ent. T,! "o(%$%u%$o('l 5#o"#$5%$o( '3'$(%
u(l'0&ul !'#",! '() !$6u#! '55l$! ' ' #!%#'$(% )$#!"%!) o(ly '3'$(% %,! 3o/!#(-!(% '() $% '3!("$! %'2!) 0$%, %,!
!(&o#"!-!(% o& %,! l'0. T,u, $% "oul) o(ly .! $(/o2!) '3'$(% %,! S%'%! %o 0,o- %,! #!%#'$(% '3'$(% '#.$%#'#y '()
u(#!'o('.l! !7!#"$! o& 5o0!# $ $-5o!).
In the case efore us, %,! .'33'3! o& %,! '""u!)8'55!ll'(% 0' !'#",!) .y %,! /!!l !"u#$%y 5!#o((!l. It was onl. after
the. found 7shau7 inside the suitcase that the. called the 8hilippine Coast 9uard for assistance. The search and sei:ure of the
suitcase and the contraand ite/s was therefore carried out without 'overn/ent intervention, and ,!("!, %,! "o(%$%u%$o('l
5#o%!"%$o( '3'$(% u(#!'o('.l! !'#", '() !$6u#! )o! (o% '55ly.
There is no /erit in the contention of the accused-appellant that the search and sei:ure perfor/ed . the vessel securit. personnel
should e considered as one conducted . the police authorities for li2e the latter, the for/er are ar/ed and tas2ed to /aintain peace
and order. The vessel securit. officer in the case at ar is a private e/plo.ee and does not dischar'e an. 'overn/ental function.
NOTE: In a prosecution for ille'al possession of dan'erous dru's, the followin' facts /ust e proven e.ond reasonale dout, viz: %1(
that the accused is in possession of the o4ect identified as a prohiited or a re'ulated dru'@ %#( that such possession is not authori:ed
. law@ and %0( that the accused freel. and consciousl. possessed the said dru'.
The thin's in possession of a person are presu/ed . law to e owned . hi/. To overco/e this presu/ption, it is necessar. to
present clear and convincin' evidence to the contrar.. In this case, the accused points to a certain Alican 7AleA7 *acapudi as the owner
of the contraand, ut presented no evidence to support his clai/. !o witnesses were presented to prove that there is such a livin',
reathin', flesh and lood person na/ed AleA *acapBuCdi who entrusted the Sa/sonite to the accused. Surel., if he does eAist, he has
friends, fellow usiness/en and ac;uaintances who could testif. and support the clai/ of the accused. *ere denial of ownership will
not suffice especiall. if, as in the case at ar, it is the 2e.stone of the defense of the accused-appellant. Stories can easil. e
faricated. It will ta2e /ore than are-one alle'ations to convince this Court that a courier of dan'erous dru's is not its owner and has
no 2nowled'e or intent to possess the sa/e.

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