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POP VS RAMON FRONDOZO yDALIDA GR 177164 FACTS: 1.

That accused was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Sec. 5., Article II of RA 9165 by RTC & CA; 2. That there was a buy-bust operation conducted; 3. That the poseur-buyer received a sachet of shabu and he handed to the accused the buy-bust money; 4. That poseur-buyer found two arrows with sling, one fan knife (balisong) and the P100 buy-bust money from the accused. 5. That poseur buyer testified that his teammates never went inside the house. 6. That the team brought accused police station. The specimen and the items seized from body of the accused were turned over to another P/Insp. Richard Ang who marked the specimen “RFD-01” and prepared the request for laboratory examination. 7. That P/Insp. Albert Arturo made a laboratory examination of the contents of the plastic sachet. Based on the physical, chemical and chromatographic examinations he conducted, it was found that the specimen yielded positive results for the presence of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. ISSUES: 1. Whether or not the post-seizure procedure in taking custody of seized drugs were followed. 2. Whether or not presumption of regularity can overcome presumption of innocence. RULING: The Supreme Court acquitted the accused on the ground of reasonable doubt. RATIO: The corpus delicti in this case does not exist. ELEMENTS FOR ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS DRUGS: Jurisprudence clearly sets the essential elements to be established in the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, viz.: (1) the transaction or sale took place, (2) the corpus delicti or the illicit drug was presented as evidence, and (3) the buyer and seller were identified. What is material in the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. Prosecutions for illegal sale of prohibited drugs necessitate that the elemental act of possession of prohibited substance be established with moral certainty, together with the fact that the same is not authorized by law. The dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its existence is vital to a judgment of conviction. Therefore, it is essential that the identity of the prohibited drug be established beyond doubt. To establish the identity of the shabu seized from Frondozo, the procedures laid down in Rep. Act No. 9165 should be complied with. Section 21 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Rep. Act No. 9165 clearly outlines the post-seizure procedure in taking custody of seized drugs. It states: (1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. MARKING OF SHABU – NO PROOF OF THE PRESENCE OF THE ACCUSED In this case, the arresting officers failed to strictly comply with the procedures for the custody and disposition of confiscated dangerous drugs as prescribed by Rep. Act No. 9165. The arresting officers did not mark the shabu immediately after they arrested Frondozo. Further, while there was testimony regarding the marking of the shabu after it was turned over to the police investigator, no evidence was presented to prove that the marking thereof was done in the presence of Frondozo. FAILURE OF THE ARRESTING OFFICER TO TAKE PHOTOGRAPH & INVENTORY OF THE CONFISCATED MATERIAL. Also, fatal in the prosecution’s case is the failure of the arresting officers to take a photograph and make an inventory of the confiscated materials in the presence of Frondozo. Likewise, there was no mention that any representative from the media, DOJ or any elected public official had been present during the inventory or that any of these persons had been required to sign the copies of the inventory. Clearly, none of the statutory safeguards mandated by Rep. Act No. 9165 was observed. Hence, the failure of the buy-bust team to comply with the procedure in the custody of the seized drugs raises doubt as to its origins. Nevertheless, while the seized drugs may be admitted in evidence, it does not necessarily follow that the same should be given evidentiary weight if the procedures provided by Rep. Act No. 9165 were not complied with. The admissibility of the seized dangerous drugs in evidence should not be equated with its probative value in proving the corpus delicti. The admissibility of evidence depends on its relevance and competence while the weight of evidence pertains to evidence already admitted and its tendency to convince and persuade.

However. Finally. As a rule. such presumption is effectively destroyed. when the performance of their duties is tainted with irregularities.PRESUMPTION OF REGULARITY IS DESTROYED WHEN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES IS TAINTED WITH IRREGULARITIES. All told. the corpus delicti in this case does not exist. the testimony of police officers who apprehended Frondozo is accorded full faith and credit because of the presumption that they have performed their duties regularly. the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty relied upon by the lower courts cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. .