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Chain of custody

SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous
Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals,
Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment
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The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs,
controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory
equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:

(a) The apprehending officer/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: Provided, that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place
where the search warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the
apprehending officer/team, whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided,
further, that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the
integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the
apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over
said items;

Note:
1. Seizures covered by search warrants, the physical inventory and photograph must be conducted in
the place where the search warrant was served
2. In case of warrantless seizures such as a buy bust operation, the physical inventory and
photograph shall be conducted at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending
officer/team, whichever is practicable

Exemption:
The non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the
evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not
render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items;


Note:
Consistency with the chain of custody rule requires that the marking of the seized items, to truly ensure
that they are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in evidence, should be
done:
1. In the presence of the accused
2. Immediately upon confiscation

Marking
Means the placing by the apprehending officer or the poseur-buyer of his her initials and signature on the
items seized.

Note:
Each officer or person to whom the custody or possession of the DD must mark the same so that he can
testify the manner of his possession and the integrity of the item upon his receipt and the procedure he
took afterwards to preserve its integrity

Note:
The failure to comply with the requirements above not only casts doubt on the identity of the corpus
delicti but also tends to negate, of not totally discredit, the claim of regularity in the conduct of police
operations, thereby will probably result to the acquittal of the accused unless sufficient evidence is given
to prove the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the
apprehending officer/team

(b) Within twenty-four (24) hours upon confiscation/seizure of dangerous drugs, plant sources of
dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/ paraphernalia
and/or laboratory equipment, the same shall be submitted to the PDEA Forensic Laboratory for a
qualitative and quantitative examination;
(c) A certification of the forensic laboratory examination results, which shall be done under oath by the
forensic laboratory examiner, shall be issued within twenty-four (24) hours after the receipt of the
subject item/s: Provided, that when the volume of the dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous
drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals does not allow the completion of testing
within the time frame, a partial laboratory examination report shall be provisionally issued stating
therein the quantities of dangerous drugs still to be examined by the forensic laboratory: Provided,
however, that a final certification shall be issued on the completed forensic laboratory examination on
the same within the next twenty-four (24) hours;
(d) After the filing of the criminal case, the court shall, within seventy-two (72) hours, conduct an ocular
inspection of the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous
drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals, including the instruments/paraphernalia
and/or laboratory equipment, and through the PDEA shall, within twenty- four (24) hours thereafter,
proceed with the destruction or burning of 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 DOJ, civil society groups and any elected public official. The
Board shall draw up the guidelines on the manner of proper disposition and destruction of such item/s
which shall be borne by the offender: Provided, that those item/s of lawful commerce, as determined
by the Board, shall be donated, used or recycled for legitimate purposes; Provided, further, that a
representative sample, duly weighed and recorded is retained;
(e) The Board shall then issue a sworn certification as to the fact of destruction or burning of the subject
item/s which, together with the representative sample/s in the custody of the PDEA, shall be
submitted to the court having jurisdiction over the case. In cases of seizures where no person is
apprehended and no criminal case is filed, the PDEA may order the immediate destruction or burning
of seized dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals under guidelines set by
the Board. In all instances, the representative sample/s shall be kept to a minimum quantity as
determined by the Board;
(f) The alleged offender or his/her representative or counsel shall be allowed to personally observe all of
the above proceedings and his/her presence shall not constitute an admission of guilt. In case the said
offender or accused refuses or fails to appoint a representative after due notice in writing to the
accused or his/her counsel within seventy-two (72) hours before the actual burning or destruction of
the evidence in question, the Secretary of Justice shall appoint a member of the public attorneys
office to represent the former;
(g) After the promulgation and judgment in the criminal case wherein the representative sample/s was
presented as evidence in court, the trial prosecutor shall inform the Board of the final termination of
the case and, in turn, shall request the court for leave to turn over the said representative sample/s to
the PDEA for proper disposition and destruction within twenty four (24) hours from receipt of the
same; and
(h) Transitory Provision:
h.1) Within twenty-four (24) hours from the effectivity of the Act, dangerous drugs defined herein
which are presently in possession of law enforcement agencies shall, with leave of court, be burned or
destroyed, in the presence of representatives of the court, DOJ, Department of Health (DOH) and the
accused and/or his/her counsel; and
h.2) Pending the organization of the PDEA, the custody, disposition, and burning or destruction of
seized/surrendered dangerous drugs provided under this Section shall be implemented by the DOH.

People vs Sanchez
In the meantime that the PDEA has no forensic laboratories and/or evidence rooms, as well as the
necessary personnel of its own in any area of its jurisdiction, the existing National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) and Philippine National Police (PNP) forensic laboratories shall continue to
examine or conduct screening and confirmatory tests on the seized/surrendered evidence whether
these be dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential
chemicals, instruments, paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment; and the NBI and the PNP
shall continue to have custody of such evidence for use in court and until disposed of, burned or
destroyed in accordance with the foregoing rules: Provided, that pending appointment/designation
of the full complement of the representatives from the media, DOJ, or elected public official, the
inventory of the said evidence shall continue to be conducted by the arresting NBI and PNP
operatives under their existing procedures unless otherwise directed in writing by the DOH or
PDEA, as the case may be.

A successful prosecution for the sale of illegal drugs requires more than the perfunctory
presentation of evidence establishing each element of the crime: the identities of the buyer and
seller, the transaction or sale of the illegal drug and the existence of the corpus delicti.[25] In
securing or sustaining a conviction under RA No. 9165, the intrinsic worth of these pieces of
evidence, especially the identity and integrity of the corpus delicti, must definitely be shown to
have been preserved. This requirement necessarily arises from the illegal drugs unique
characteristic that renders it indistinct, not readily identifiable, and easily open to tampering,
alteration or substitution either by accident or otherwise.[26] Thus, to remove any doubt or
uncertainty on the identity and integrity of the seized drug, evidence must definitely show that the
illegal drug presented in court is the same illegal drug actually recovered from the accused-
appellant; otherwise, the prosecution for possession or for drug pushing under RA No. 9165 fails.

Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of RA No. 9165 and Section 21(a), Article II of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA No. 9165 give us the procedures that the
apprehending team should observe in the handling of seized illegal drugs in order to preserve
their identity and integrity as evidence. As indicated by their mandatory terms, strict compliance
with the prescribed procedure is essential and the prosecution must show compliance in every
case.[27] Parenthetically, in People v. De la Cruz,[28] we justified the need for strict compliance
with the prescribed procedures to be consistent with the principle that penal laws shall be
construed strictly against the government and liberally in favor of the accused.

Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of RA No. 9165, 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. [Emphasis supplied]


This provision is further elaborated in Section 21(a), Article II of the IRR of RA No. 9165, which
reads:

(a) The apprehending office/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: Provided, further that non-compliance with these requirements
under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized
items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall not render void and
invalid such seizures of and custody over said items.[Emphasis supplied]


In the present case, the records show that the buy-bust team did not observe even the most basic
requirements of the prescribed procedures. While the markings, AOC-BB/17-02-03, were
made in the small plastic sachet allegedly seized from the accused-appellant, the evidence does
not show the identity of the person who made these markings and the time and place where these
markings were made.[29] Notably, PO1 Carlos testimony failed to disclose whether a physical
inventory and photograph of the illegal drug had been done. Further, nothing in the records also
indicates whether the physical inventory and photograph, if done at all, were made in the
presence of the accused-appellant or his representatives or within the presence of any
representative from the media, DOJ or any elected official. Then again, PO1 Carlos testimony
also failed to show that any of these people has been required to sign the copies of the physical
inventory, or that any of them was subsequently given a copy of the physical inventory.

We had occasions to discuss and expound in several cases on the implications of the failure to
comply with Section 21, paragraph 1, Article II of RA No. 9165.

In People v. Sanchez,[30] we declared that in a warrantless seizure (such as in a buy-bust
operation) under RA No. 9165, the physical inventory and photograph of the items can be made
by the buy-bust team, if practicable, at the place of seizure considering that such interpretation is
more in keeping with the laws intent of preserving the integrity and evidentiary value of the
seized drugs.[31]

People v. Garcia[32] resulted in an acquittal because the buy-bust team failed to immediately
mark the seized items at the place of seizure and failed to explain the discrepancies in the
markings in the seized items. The underlying reason for the acquittal, of course, was the doubts
raised on whether the seized items are the exact same items that were taken from the accused-
appellant when he was arrested; the prosecution failed to satisfactorily establish the corpus delicti
a material element of the crime.

Another acquittal was People v. Robles,[33] where the Court considered the uncertainty of the
origins of physical inventory, the photographing of the seized articles, and the observance of the
chain of custody rule.

While the chain of custody has been a critical issue leading to acquittals in drug cases, we have
nevertheless held that non-compliance with the prescribed procedures does not necessarily result
in the conclusion that the identity of the seized drugs has been compromised so that an acquittal
should follow. The last paragraph of Section 21(a), Article II of the IRR of RA No. 9165
provides a saving mechanism to ensure that not every case of non-compliance will irretrievably
prejudice the prosecutions case. To warrant application of this saving mechanism, however, the
prosecution must recognize and explain the lapse or lapses in the prescribed procedures.[34] The
prosecution must likewise demonstrate that the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence
seized have been preserved.[35]

In the present case, the prosecution miserably failed to adduce evidence establishing the chain of
custody of the seized illegal drugs, and failed as well to establish compliance with the saving
mechanism discussed above.

In Lopez v. People,[36] we laid down the requirements that must be followed in handling an
illegal drug seized:

As a method of authenticating evidence, the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of
an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is
what the proponent claims it to be. It would include testimony about every link in the chain, from
the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that
every person who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received, where
it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession, the condition in which it was
received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. These witnesses
would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the
condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the
same. [Emphasis supplied]


Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002,[37] which implements
RA No. 9165, defines chain of custody in this wise:
b. Chain of Custody means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized
drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory equipment of
each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to
safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. Such record of movements and custody of
seized item shall include the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of
the seized item, the date and time when such transfer of custody were made in the course of
safekeeping and use in court as evidence, and the final disposition;[Emphasis supplied]


While the identities of the seller and the buyer and the transaction involving the sale of the illegal
drug were duly proven in this case by PO1 Carlos testimony, we find the testimony deficient for
its failure to establish the various links in the chain of custody. PO1 Carlos did not state the
details material to the handling of the items seized from the accused-appellant. This glaring
deficiency is readily obvious from PO1 Carlos short testimony which glossed over the required
details.

Sections 3[42] and 6[43] (paragraph 8) of Dangerous Drugs Board each time a specimen is
handled or transferred until its disposal; the board regulation also requires identification of the
individuals in this part of the chain. The records of the case are bereft of details showing that this
board regulation was ever complied with; the records also do not indicate how the specimen was
handled after the laboratory examination and the identity of the person who had the custody of the
shabu before its presentation in court.

The above enumeration and discussion show the glaring gaps in the chain of custody from the
seizure of the plastic sachet until the shabu was presented in court and the prosecutions failure
to establish the identities of the persons who handled the seized items.

We are not unmindful of the evidence on record showing that PO1 Carlos identified the shabu
offered in evidence as the very same shabu recovered from the accused-appellant. We cannot
accord weight to PO1 Carlos identification, however, in light of our above discussions and
findings.[45] To repeat, the lapses in the required procedures do not provide us any reasonable
certainty that the shabu that was offered in court as evidence is the same shabu that was allegedly
seized from the accused-appellant. In the absence of concrete evidence on the illegal drug bought
and sold, the body of the crime the corpus delicti has not been adequately proven.

Section 55. Exemption from the Criminal Liability Under the Voluntary Submission Program. A drug
dependent under the voluntary submission program, who is finally discharged from confinement, shall be
exempt from the criminal liability under Section 15 of this act subject to the following conditions:

(1) He/she has complied with the rules and regulations of the center, the applicable rules and
regulations of the Board, including the after-care and follow-up program for at least
eighteen (18) months following temporary discharge from confinement in the Center or,
in the case of a dependent placed under the care of the DOH-accredited physician, the
after-care program and follow-up schedule formulated by the DSWD and approved by
the Board: Provided, That capability-building of local government social workers shall be
undertaken by the DSWD;

(2) He/she has never been charged or convicted of any offense punishable under this Act, the
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 or Republic Act No. 6425, as amended; the Revised Penal
Code, as amended; or any special penal laws;

(3) He/she has no record of escape from a Center: Provided, That had he/she escaped, he/she
surrendered by himself/herself or through his/her parent, spouse, guardian or relative
within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, within one (1) week from the date
of the said escape; and

(4) He/she poses no serious danger to himself/herself, his/her family or the community by
his/her exemption from criminal liability.

Section 63. Prescription of the Offense Charged Against a Drug Dependent Under the Compulsory
Submission Program. The period of prescription of the offense charged against a drug dependent under
the compulsory submission program shall not run during the time that the drug dependent is under
confinement in a Center or otherwise under the treatment and rehabilitation program approved by the
Board.

People Vs Mantalaba
It must be noted that RA 9344 took effect on May 20, 2006, while the RTC promulgated its
decision on this case on September 14, 2005, when said appellant was no longer a minor. The
RTC did not suspend the sentence in accordance with Article 192 of P.D. 603, The Child and
Youth Welfare Code[31] and Section 32 of A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC, the Rule on Juveniles in
Conflict with the Law,[32] the laws that were applicable at the time of the promulgation of
judgment, because the imposable penalty for violation of Section 5 of RA 9165 is life
imprisonment to death.

It may be argued that the appellant should have been entitled to a suspension of his sentence
under Sections 38 and 68 of RA 9344 which provide for its retroactive application, thus:

SEC. 38. Automatic Suspension of Sentence. - Once the child who is under
eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the commission of the offense is found guilty of the
offense charged, the court shall determine and ascertain any civil liability which may have
resulted from the offense committed. However, instead of pronouncing the judgment of
conviction, the court shall place the child in conflict with the law under suspended sentence,
without need of application: Provided, however, That suspension of sentence shall still be applied
even if the juvenile is already eighteen years (18) of age or more at the time of the
pronouncement of his/her guilt.

Upon suspension of sentence and after considering the various circumstances of
the child, the court shall impose the appropriate disposition measures as provided in the Supreme
Court [Rule] on Juveniles in Conflict with the Law.

x x x x


Sec. 68. Children Who Have Been Convicted and are Serving Sentence. - Persons who
have been convicted and are serving sentence at the time of the effectivity of this Act, and who
were below the age of eighteen (18) years at the time of the commission of the offense for which
they were convicted and are serving sentence, shall likewise benefit from the retroactive
application of this Act. x x x


However, this Court has already ruled in People v. Sarcia[33] that while Section 38 of RA 9344
provides that suspension of sentence can still be applied even if the child in conflict with the law is
already eighteen (18) years of age or more at the time of the pronouncement of his/her guilt,
Section 40 of the same law limits the said suspension of sentence until the child reaches the
maximum age of 21. The provision states:

SEC. 40. Return of the Child in Conflict with the Law to Court. - If the court finds that the
objective of the disposition measures imposed upon the child in conflict with the law have not
been fulfilled, or if the child in conflict with the law has willfully failed to comply with the
condition of his/her disposition or rehabilitation program, the child in conflict with the law shall
be brought before the court for execution of judgment.

If said child in conflict with the law has reached eighteen (18) years of age while under
suspended sentence, the court shall determine whether to discharge the child in accordance with
this Act, to order execution of sentence, or to extend the suspended sentence for a certain specified
period or until the child reaches the maximum age of twenty-one (21) years.

Hence, the appellant, who is now beyond the age of twenty-one (21) years can no longer avail of
the provisions of Sections 38 and 40 of RA 9344 as to his suspension of sentence, because such is
already moot and academic. It is highly noted that this would not have happened if the CA, when
this case was under its jurisdiction, suspended the sentence of the appellant. The records show
that the appellant filed his notice of appeal at the age of 19 (2005), hence, when RA 9344 became
effective in 2006, appellant was 20 years old, and the case having been elevated to the CA, the
latter should have suspended the sentence of the appellant because he was already entitled to the
provisions of Section 38 of the same law, which now allows the suspension of sentence of minors
regardless of the penalty imposed as opposed to the provisions of Article 192 of P.D. 603.[34]

Nevertheless, the appellant shall be entitled to appropriate disposition under Section 51 of RA
No. 9344, which provides for the confinement of convicted children as follows:[35]

SEC. 51. Confinement of Convicted Children in Agricultural Camps and other
Training Facilities. - A child in conflict with the law may, after conviction and upon order of the
court, be made to serve his/her sentence, in lieu of confinement in a regular penal institution, in
an agricultural camp and other training facilities that may be established, maintained, supervised
and controlled by the BUCOR, in coordination with the DSWD.


In finding the guilt beyond reasonable doubt of the appellant for violation of Section 5 of
RA 9165, the RTC imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua as mandated in Section 98[36] of
the same law. A violation of Section 5 of RA 9165 merits the penalty of life imprisonment to
death; however, in Section 98, it is provided that, where the offender is a minor, the penalty for
acts punishable by life imprisonment to death provided in the same law shall be reclusion
perpetua to death. Basically, this means that the penalty can now be graduated as it has adopted
the technical nomenclature of penalties provided for in the Revised Penal Code. The said
principle was enunciated by this Court in People v. Simon,[37] thus:

We are not unaware of cases in the past wherein it was held that, in imposing the
penalty for offenses under special laws, the rules on mitigating or aggravating circumstances
under the Revised Penal Code cannot and should not be applied. A review of such doctrines as
applied in said cases, however, reveals that the reason therefor was because the special laws
involved provided their own specific penalties for the offenses punished thereunder, and which
penalties were not taken from or with reference to those in the Revised Penal Code. Since the
penalties then provided by the special laws concerned did not provide for the minimum, medium
or maximum periods, it would consequently be impossible to consider the aforestated modifying
circumstances whose main function is to determine the period of the penalty in accordance with
the rules in Article 64 of the Code.

This is also the rationale for the holding in previous cases that the provisions of the
Code on the graduation of penalties by degrees could not be given supplementary application to
special laws, since the penalties in the latter were not components of or contemplated in the scale
of penalties provided by Article 71 of the former. The suppletory effect of the Revised Penal
Code to special laws, as provided in Article 10 of the former, cannot be invoked where there is a
legal or physical impossibility of, or a prohibition in the special law against, such supplementary
application.

The situation, however, is different where although the offense is defined in and
ostensibly punished under a special law, the penalty therefor is actually taken from the Revised
Penal Code in its technical nomenclature and, necessarily, with its duration, correlation and legal
effects under the system of penalties native to said Code. When, as in this case, the law involved
speaks of prision correccional, in its technical sense under the Code, it would consequently be
both illogical and absurd to posit otherwise.

x x x x

Prefatorily, what ordinarily are involved in the graduation and consequently
determine the degree of the penalty, in accordance with the rules in Article 61 of the Code as
applied to the scale of penalties in Article 71, are the stage of execution of the crime and the
nature of the participation of the accused. However, under paragraph 5 of Article 64, when there
are two or more ordinary mitigating circumstances and no aggravating circumstance, the penalty
shall be reduced by one degree. Also, the presence of privileged mitigating circumstances, as
provided in Articles 67 and 68, can reduce the penalty by one or two degrees, or even more.
These provisions of Articles 64(5), 67 and 68 should not apply in toto in the determination of the
proper penalty under the aforestated second paragraph of section 20 of Republic Act No. 6425, to
avoid anomalous results which could not have been contemplated by the legislature.

Thus, paragraph 5 of Article 61 provides that when the law prescribes a penalty in
some manner not specially provided for in the four preceding paragraphs thereof, the courts shall
proceed by analogy therewith. Hence, when the penalty prescribed for the crime consists of one
or two penalties to be imposed in their full extent, the penalty next lower in degree shall likewise
consist of as many penalties which follow the former in the scale in Article 71. If this rule were to
be applied, and since the complex penalty in this case consists of three discrete penalties in their
full extent, that is, prision correccional, prision mayor and reclusion temporal, then one degree
lower would be arresto menor, destierro and arresto mayor. There could, however, be no further
reduction by still one or two degrees, which must each likewise consist of three penalties, since
only the penalties of fine and public censure remain in the scale.

The Court rules, therefore, that while modifying circumstances may be appreciated
to determine the periods of the corresponding penalties, or even reduce the penalty by degrees, in
no case should such graduation of penalties reduce the imposable penalty beyond or lower than
prision correccional. It is for this reason that the three component penalties in the second
paragraph of Section 20 shall each be considered as an independent principal penalty, and that the
lowest penalty should in any event be prision correccional in order not to depreciate the
seriousness of drug offenses. Interpretatio fienda est ut res magis valeat quam pereat. Such
interpretation is to be adopted so that the law may continue to have efficacy rather than fail. A
perfect judicial solution cannot be forged from an imperfect law, which impasse should now be
the concern of and is accordingly addressed to Congress.[38]

Consequently, the privileged mitigating circumstance of minority[39] can now be
appreciated in fixing the penalty that should be imposed. The RTC, as affirmed by the CA,
imposed the penalty of reclusion perpetua without considering the minority of the appellant.
Thus, applying the rules stated above, the proper penalty should be one degree lower than
reclusion perpetua, which is reclusion temporal, the privileged mitigating circumstance of
minority having been appreciated. Necessarily, also applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law
(ISLAW), the minimum penalty should be taken from the penalty next lower in degree which is
prision mayor and the maximum penalty shall be taken from the medium period of reclusion
temporal, there being no other mitigating circumstance nor aggravating circumstance.[40] The
ISLAW is applicable in the present case because the penalty which has been originally an
indivisible penalty (reclusion perpetua to death), where ISLAW is inapplicable, became a
divisible penalty (reclusion temporal) by virtue of the presence of the privileged mitigating
circumstance of minority. Therefore, a penalty of six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor,
as minimum, and fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as
maximum, would be the proper imposable penalty.

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated July 31, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R.
CR-H.C. No. 00240-MIN, affirming the Omnibus Judgment dated September 14, 2005 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 1, Butuan City in Criminal Case No. 10250 and Criminal Case No.
10251, finding appellant Allen Udtojan Mantalaba, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of
Sections 5 and 11, Article II of RA 9165 is hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
the penalty that should be imposed on appellant's conviction of violation of Section 5 of RA
9165, is six (6) years and one (1) day of prision mayor, as minimum, and fourteen (14) years,
eight (8) months and one (1) day of reclusion temporal, as maximum.