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PEOPLE v SIMON GR 93028, 7/29/1994 SUMMARY: Appeal of a drug pusher convicted under RA 6425 before the amendment, appealed

after the amendment. Amendment modifies old penalties that does not make sense in Court and thus Court had to construct and set out correct penalties based from the amendments. RELEVANCE: retroactivity of penal laws, special laws and mitigating/aggravating, special laws and indeterminate sentence law SPECIAL LAW: Dangerous Drugs Act (RA 6425) amended by RA 1972 FACTS: 10/22/1988 - DATE IMPORTANT. Prosecution: o Accused was arrested following a buy-bust operation in Pampanga. Accused sold two teabags of marijuana to NARCOM operative and was thereafter arrested by NARCOM team in the operation. Two more teabags were confiscated in possession of accused. o Accused orally waived his right to counsel. o Medical examination upon arrest shows no signs of physical abuse. Upon checking history, doctor finds accused has a history of peptic ulcer. Defendant: o Accused was visited by three persons he did not know and was asked to come to Camp Olivas. Upon alighting the jeepney, accused was told that he was a pusher. He then tried to escape but was handcuffed instead. o Upon arrival at camp, accused was boxed eight to nine times in the stomach by Sgt. Pejoro when he refused to sign papers. After the abuse, he signed the papers. o Accused then escaped NARCOM, consulted a quack doctor for stomach pains due to the abuse, and then went to the hospital. 12/4/1989: TC convicted appellant to life imprisonment and penalty of 20k. Defendant's plea: 1. frame-up should be upheld 2. Exhibit G (receipt of property confiscated) inadmissible (confession) 3. should not be convicted of Dangerous Drugs Act ISSUE: Whether TC was correct in convicting appellant under the Dangerous Drugs Act and whether the new amendment (effective 12/1993) to the aforementioned applies, and what penalties should be imposed if it does.

HELD (SC hearing is 1994): 1. Frame-up argument, inconclusive. Evidences presented, prior investigation leading to the buy-bust operation, and testimonies of operatives prove beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant is guilty. However, conviction for sale of dangerous drugs is only correct as to the two teabags, not the other two confiscated in appellant's possession. There is also no proof of any abuse outside appellant's own testimonies. 2. Exhibit G is inadmissible because it was not made in front of counsel. While appellant waived his right to counsel, he did so orally. Hence, whatever confession/admission appellant made is inadmissible.

3.1: Conviction according to new amendment to RA 6425, (should SC apply/reduce penalty as per new amendment): ----DANGEROUS DRUGS LAW (RA 6425) amended by RA 7659 12/31/1993. SPECIAL LAW AMENDMENTS RELEVANT TO CASE:
Sec. 13. Sections 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 9 of Art. II of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, are hereby amended to read as follows: xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 4. Sale, Administration, Delivery, Distribution and Transportation of Prohibited Drugs. The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall sell, administer, deliver, give away to another, distribute, dispatch in transit or transport any prohibited drug, or shall act as a broker in any of such transactions. xxx xxx xxx

Sec. 17. Section 20, Article IV of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, is hereby amended to read as follows: Sec. 20. Application of Penalties, Confiscation and Forfeiture of the Proceeds or Instrument of the Crime. The penalties for offenses under Sections 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 of Article II and Sections 14, 14-A, 15 and 16 of Article III of this Act shall be applied if the dangerous drugs involved is in any of the following quantities: xxx 5. xxx xxx xxx

750 grams or more of indian hemp or marijuana xxx xxx

Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the penalty shall range from prision correccional to reclusion perpetua depending upon the quantity.

SC required to render judgment to fulfill requirements of RPC Article 22 on Retroactivity of Penal Laws. 3.2: SC constructs amendment as there is error in sale of 750g and above (Reclusion perpetua min) and below (Reclusion perpetua max).
we hereby hold that the penalty to be imposed where the quantity of the drugs involved is less than the quantities stated in the first paragraph shall range from prision correccional to reclusion temporal, and not reclusion perpetua. This is also concordant with the fundamental rule in criminal law that all doubts should be construed in a manner favorable to the accused.

3.3: As per ammendment, penalty is dependent on quantity of drugs sold which is now only 2 teabags (3.8g). SC interpreted ammendment further as:
if the marijuana involved is below 250 grams, the penalty to be imposed shall be prision correccional; from 250 to 499 grams, prision mayor; and 500 to 749 grams, reclusion temporal.

3.4: What applies to accused is prison correcional as per foregoing SC construction of the new ammendment. It is either 6 months and 1 day to 6 years. Mitigating and aggravating circumstances under RPC not applicable to Special Laws. However, SC states that this is because of Special Laws who impose own penalties and do not depend on RPC for them. In this amendment and case, penalty depends on RPC thus mitigating/aggravating circumstances applies only as to:

While not squarely in issue in this case, but because this aspect is involved in the discussion on the role of modifying circumstances, we have perforce to lay down the caveat that mitigating circumstances should be considered and applied only if they affect the periods and the degrees of the penalties within rational limits (if penalty derived from RPC)...cannot be below prison correcional.

3.5: If Indeterminate Sentence Law applies: Yes, it applies to Special Laws where penalty is derived from RPC as per sec 1 of said law. Thus, minimum should be the one lower than minimum, which in this case would be arresto mayor (6 mo). RULING: Affirmed with modification. Sentenced to 6 months of arresto mayor to 6 years of prision correcional.