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Section 12. Custodial Investigations. When Custodial Investigation may not apply. Booking Sheets.

Citation: GR 109232 December 29, 1995 Case Title: People of the Philippines vs. Ang Chun Kit aka Romy Ang Petitioner: People of the Philippines Respondent: Ang Chun Kit (Romy Ang) Ponente: Bellosillo

FACTS: Ang Chun Kit is a Chinese National and is reputed to be a member of a Hongkong-based drug syndicate. On November 9, 1991, at three oclock in the afternoon, a confidential informer reported, to the Chief Investigator Avelino Razon, that he arranged a transaction with a drug dealer and agreed to consummate the sale at 7:00 in the evening at the lobby of the Cardinal Santos Medical Center to which the Chief Investigator immediately arranged a buy-bust operation. After 15 minutes past seven, SPO2 Jacobo was met by the informer at the lobby and introduced to the accused as the person interested to buy the drugs, they then proceeded to the parking lot and the accused took out the drugs, out of the cars trunk, wrapped in a blue plastic bag. After checking, there was exchange of the object and the money. SPO2 Jacobo lit his cigarette as a signal for the buy-bust team to move in for the arrest. They also searched the vehicle of the accused and found 3 packets more of crystalline substance in a tissue box. The substances were led to the crime laboratory for examination and were confirmed to be shabu, 983.27 grams and 293.70 grams respectively (the one in the plastic bag and the packets in the tissue box). The accused disproved the charges. He said that he was at the hospital that time because someone texted him that his friend was hospitalized and he was going to visit him first before going to a dinner with some other friends. Two persons in plain clothes suddenly appeared from nowhere, with guns drawn, and arrested him without informing the reason for the arrest. The security guard on duty said that there was no untoward incident at the hospital lobby or its vicinity because if there is, it will be reflected in their logbook, the statement was confirmed by his supervisor. Ang Chun Kit also signed in the Booking Sheet and Arrest Report at the police station. The RTC of Pasig, giving credence to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, found appellant Ang Chun Kit also known as Romy Ang guilty of selling shabu, sentenced him to life imprisonment and ordered him to pay a fine of Php30,000.00.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not Ang Chun Kits action of signing in the Booking Sheet at the Police Station is an act of admitting the commission of the offense. 2. Whether or not the Decision of the RTC Pasig will be affirmed in this present appeal.

HELD: 1. No. The act of signing in the Booking Sheet at the police station is merely a statement of the accuseds being booked and a fact of the date when the incident happened. It is only an accompaniment to the arrest. In People v. Mauyao, conformance to these documents are declarations against interest and tacit (unspoken) admissions of the crime charged, since merely unexplained possession of prohibited drugs is punished by law. 2. Yes. The Court affirmed the decision of the trial court. The court finds it difficult to believe the statements of the accused. Ang Chun Kit failed to present the persons he told that would substantiate his version of the story; he also did not reveal the name of the person he was visiting at the hospital.

Custodial Investigation any questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken into custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom of action in any significant way. Booking Sheet a mere statement of the accused, of being booked which accompanies the arrest. The booking sheet is no more than a record of arrest and a statement on how the arrest is made. It is simply a police report, and it has no probative value as an extrajudicial statement of the person being detained. The signing by the accused of the booking sheet and arrest report is not a part of the custodial investigation which would otherwise require the presence of counsel to ensure the protection of the accused's constitutional rights.