You are on page 1of 18

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC
JUDICIAL AFFIDAVIT RULE
Whereas, case congestion and delays plague most courts in cities, given the huge
volume of cases filed each year and the slow and cumbersome adversarial syste1n that
the judiciary has in place;
Whereas, about 40% of criminal cases are dismissed annually owing to the fact that
complainants simply give up con1ing to court after repeated postponements;
Whereas, few foreign businessmen make long-term investments in the Philippines
because its courts are unable to provide ample and speedy protection to their
investments, keeping its people poor;
Whereas, in order to reduce the time needed for completing the testimonies of
witnesses in cases under litigation, on February 21, 2012 the Supreme Court approved
for piloting by trial courts in Quezon City the compulsory use of judicial affidavits in
place of the direct testimonies of witnesses;
Whereas, it is reported that such piloting has quickly resulted in reducing by about two-
thirds the time used for presenting the testimonies of witnesses, thus speeding up the
hearing and adjudication of cases;
Whereas, the Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court, headed
by Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and the Sub-Committee on the Revision
of the Rules on Civil Procedure, headed by Associate Justice Roberto A. Abad, have
recommended for adoption a Judicial Affidavit Rule that will replicate nationwide the
success of the Quezon City experience in the use of judicial affidavits; and
Whereas, the Supreme Court En Banc finds merit in the recommendation;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Supreme Court En Banc hereby issues and promulgates the
following:
Section 1. Scope. - (a) This Rule shall apply to all actions, proceedings, and incidents
requiring the reception of evidence before:
(1) The Metropolitan Trial Courts, the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, the
Municipal Trial Courts, the Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, and the Shari' a
Circuit Courts but shall not apply to small claims cases under A.M. 08-8-7-
SC;
(2) The Regional Trial Courts and the Shari'a District Courts;
(3) The Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Court of Appeals,
and the Shari'a Appellate Courts;
(4) The investigating officers and bodies authorized by the Supreme Court
to receive evidence, including the Integrated Bar of the Philippine (IBP);
and
(5) The special courts and quasi-judicial bodies, whose rules of procedure
are subject to disapproval of the Supreme Court, insofar as their existing
rules of procedure contravene the provisions of this Rule.
1

(b) For the purpose of brevity, the above courts, quasi-judicial bodies, or
investigating officers shall be uniformly referred to here as the "court."
Section 2. Submission of Judicial Affidavits and Exhibits in lieu of direct testimonies. -
(a) The parties shall file with the court and serve on the adverse party, personally or by
licensed courier service, not later than five days before pre-trial or preliminary
conference or the scheduled hearing with respect to motions and incidents, the
following:
(1) The judicial affidavits of their witnesses, which shall take the place of
such witnesses' direct testimonies; and
(2) The parties' docun1entary or object evidence, if any, which shall be
attached to the judicial affidavits and marked as Exhibits A, B, C, and so
on in the case of the complainant or the plaintiff, and as Exhibits 1, 2, 3,
and so on in the case of the respondent or the defendant.
(b) Should a party or a witness desire to keep the original document or object
evidence in his possession, he may, after the same has been identified, marked
as exhibit, and authenticated, warrant in his judicial affidavit that the copy or
reproduction attached to such affidavit is a faithful copy or reproduction of that
original. In addition, the party or witness shall bring the original document or
object evidence for comparison during the preliminary conference with the
attached copy, reproduction, or pictures, failing which the latter shall not be
admitted.
This is without prejudice to the introduction of secondary evidence in place of the
original when allowed by existing rules.
Section 3. Contents of judicial Affidavit. - A judicial affidavit shall be prepared in the
language known to the witness and, if not in English or Filipino, accompanied by a
translation in English or Filipino, and shall contain the following:
(a) The name, age, residence or business address, and occupation of the
witness;
(b) The name and address of the lawyer who conducts or supervises the
examination of the witness and the place where the examination is being held;
(c) A statement that the witness is answering the questions asked of him, fully
conscious that he does so under oath, and that he may face criminal liability for
false testimony or perjury;
(d) Questions asked of the witness and his corresponding answers,
consecutively numbered, that:
(1) Show the circumstances under which the witness acquired the facts
upon which he testifies;
(2) Elicit from him those facts which are relevant to the issues that the
case presents; and
(3) Identify the attached documentary and object evidence and establish
their authenticity in accordance with the Rules of Court;
(e) The signature of the witness over his printed name; and
(f) A jurat with the signature of the notary public who administers the oath or an
officer who is authorized by law to administer the same.
Section 4. Sworn attestation of the lawyer. - (a) The judicial affidavit shall contain a
sworn attestation at the end, executed by the lawyer who conducted or supervised the
examination of the witness, to the effect that:
(1) He faithfully recorded or caused to be recorded the questions he asked
and the corresponding answers that the witness gave; and
(2) Neither he nor any other person then present or assisting him coached
the witness regarding the latter's answers.
(b) A false attestation shall subject the lawyer mentioned to disciplinary action,
including disbarment.
Section 5. Subpoena. - If the government employee or official, or the requested
witness, who is neither the witness of the adverse party nor a hostile witness,
unjustifiably declines to execute a judicial affidavit or refuses without just cause to make
the relevant books, documents, or other things under his control available for copying,
authentication, and eventual production in court, the requesting party may avail himself
of the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum or duces tecum under Rule 21 of the
Rules of Court. The rules governing the issuance of a subpoena to the witness in this
case shall be the same as when taking his deposition except that the taking of a judicial
affidavit shal1 be understood to be ex parte.
Section 6. Offer of and objections to testimony in judicial affidavit. - The party
presenting the judicial affidavit of his witness in place of direct testimony shall state the
purpose of such testimony at the start of the presentation of the witness. The adverse
party may move to disqualify the witness or to strike out his affidavit or any of the
answers found in it on ground of inadmissibility. The court shall promptly rule on the
motion and, if granted, shall cause the marking of any excluded answer by placing it in
brackets under the initials of an authorized court personnel, without prejudice to a
tender of excluded evidence under Section 40 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.
Section 7. Examination of the witness on his judicial affidavit. - The adverse party shall
have the right to cross-examine the witness on his judicial affidavit and on the exhibits
attached to the same. The party who presents the witness may also examine him as on
re-direct. In every case, the court shall take active part in examining the witness to
determine his credibility as well as the truth of his testimony and to elicit the answers
that it needs for resolving the issues.
Section 8. Oral offer of and objections to exhibits. - (a) Upon the termination of the
testimony of his last witness, a party shall immediately make an oral offer of evidence of
his documentary or object exhibits, piece by piece, in their chronological order, stating
the purpose or purposes for which he offers the particular exhibit.
(b) After each piece of exhibit is offered, the adverse party shall state the legal
ground for his objection, if any, to its admission, and the court shall immediately
make its ruling respecting that exhibit.
(c) Since the documentary or object exhibits form part of the judicial affidavits
that describe and authenticate them, it is sufficient that such exhibits are simply
cited by their markings during the offers, the objections, and the rulings,
dispensing with the description of each exhibit.
Section 9. Application of rule to criminal actions. - (a) This rule shall apply to all criminal
actions:
(1) Where the maximum of the imposable penalty does not exceed six
years;
(2) Where the accused agrees to the use of judicial affidavits, irrespective
of the penalty involved; or
(3) With respect to the civil aspect of the actions, whatever the penalties
involved are.
(b) The prosecution shall submit the judicial affidavits of its witnesses not later
than five days before the pre-trial, serving copies if the same upon the accused.
The complainant or public prosecutor shall attach to the affidavits such
documentary or object evidence as he may have, marking them as Exhibits A, B,
C, and so on. No further judicial affidavit, documentary, or object evidence shall
be admitted at the trial.
(c) If the accused desires to be heard on his defense after receipt of the judicial
affidavits of the prosecution, he shall have the option to submit his judicial
affidavit as well as those of his witnesses to the court within ten days from receipt
of such affidavits and serve a copy of each on the public and private prosecutor,
including his documentary and object evidence previously marked as Exhibits 1,
2, 3, and so on. These affidavits shall serve as direct testimonies of the accused
and his witnesses when they appear before the court to testify.
Section 10. Effect of non-compliance with the judicial Affidavit Rule. - (a) A party who
fails to submit the required judicial affidavits and exhibits on time shall be deemed to
have waived their submission. The court may, however, allow only once the late
submission of the same provided, the delay is for a valid reason, would not unduly
prejudice the opposing party, and the defaulting party pays a fine of not less
than P 1,000.00 nor more than P5,000.00 at the discretion of the court.
(b) The court shall not consider the affidavit of any witness who fails to appear at
the scheduled hearing of the case as required. Counsel who fails to appear
without valid cause despite notice shall be deemed to have waived his client's
right to confront by cross-examination the witnesses there present.
(c) The court shall not admit as evidence judicial affidavits that do not conform to
the content requirements of Section 3 and the attestation requirement of Section
4 above. The court may, however, allow only once the subsequent submission of
the compliant replacement affidavits before the hearing or trial provided the delay
is for a valid reason and would not unduly prejudice the opposing party and
provided further, that public or private counsel responsible for their preparation
and submission pays a fine of not less than P1,000.00 nor more than P 5,000.00,
at the discretion of the court.
Section 11. Repeal or modification of inconsistent rules. - The provisions of the Rules
of Court and the rules of procedure governing investigating officers and bodies
authorized by the Supreme Court to receive evidence are repealed or modified insofar
as these are inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule.1wphi1
The rules of procedure governing quasi-judicial bodies inconsistent herewith are hereby
disapproved.
Section 12. Effectivity. - This rule shall take effect on January 1, 2013 following its
publication in two newspapers of general circulation not later than September 15, 2012.
It shall also apply to existing cases.
Manila, September 4, 2012.
MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO
Chief Justice
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Associate Justice
TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE
CASTRO
Associate Justice
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice
DISODADO M. PERLATA
Associate Justice
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
Associate Justice
MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.
Associate Justice
JOSE P. PEREZ
Associate Justice
JOSE C. MENDOZA
Associate Justice
BIENVENIDO L. REYES
Associate Justice
ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Associate Justice


Footnotes
1
By virtue of the Supreme Court's authority under Section 5 (5), Article VIII, of
the 1987 Constitution to disapprove rules of procedure of special courts and
quasi-judicial bodies.














FIRST DIVISION
[G.R. No. L-9609. March 9, 1956.]
OTILLO R. GOROSPE and VITALIANO GOROSPE, Petitioners, vs. MAGNO S.
GATMAITAN, as Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, CEFERINA SAMU,
FRANCISCO DE LA FUENTE, ET AL., Respondents.

D E C I S I O N
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J .:
This is a petition for certiorari which seeks to set aside an order of Respondent judge
rendered on August 2, 1955 in criminal case No. 29736 entitled People of the
Philippines vs. Ceferina Samu, et al., pending in the Court of First Instance of Manila,
granting the motion ofDefendants to disqualify the counsel for the private prosecution to
intervene in behalf of the offended party.
On October 6, 1954, Petitioners filed an action in the Court of First Instance of
Pangasinan against Respondents Ceferina Samu, Ester Campus alias Rosa Lopez,
Carmelita de la Cruz alias Josefina Dizon, and the General Indemnity Co., Inc., to annul
certain contracts entered into by the latter and to recover the damages they suffered as
a consequence thereof. Upon the initiative of Petitioners, an action for estafa through
falsification of a private document was filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila
against the same Respondents, with the exception of the insurance company, who,
upon arraignment, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Ester Campus filed a petition in the criminal case praying that the counsel for the
offended parties be prevented from intervening on the ground that the latter have
already filed a civil action for the annulment of the same documents involved in the
criminal case and for the recovery of damages resulting therefrom, and as such they
have no right nor authority to assist the fiscal in the prosecution of the case. The trial
court found the petition meritorious and disauthorized the private prosecutor to
intervene in behalf of the offended parties. A motion to reconsider the order was filed
which was denied in an order entered on August 2, 1955. To set aside this order, the
present petition for certiorari has been interposed.
It appears that, upon the instance of Petitioners, an action for estafa through falsification
of a private document was filed by the city fiscal of Manila
against Respondents Ceferina Samu, Ester Campus, Carmelita de la Cruz and
Francisco de la Fuente who, upon arraignment, pleaded not guilty to the charge. It
likewise appears that before the institution of the criminal case Petitioners filed an action
against the same Respondents for annulment of the same documents involved in the
criminal case for damages resulting from their execution. The attorneys for the offended
parties entered their appearance in the criminal case but, upon petition
of Respondent Ester Campus, they were prevented from doing so on the ground that,
the offended parties having already instituted a civil action, they have no right nor
authority to be represented in the criminal case. Has Respondent judge abused his
discretion in issuing the order of disqualification?
Section 15, Rule 106 provides that Unless the offended party has waived the civil
action or expressly reserved the right to institute it after the termination of the criminal
case cralaw he may intervene, personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the
offense. The wording of the law is clear. It states that an offended party may intervene,
personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the offense if he has not waived the civil
action or expressly reserved his right to institute it. The reason of the law in not
permitting the offended party to intervene in the prosecution of the offense if he has
waived or reserved his right to institute the civil action is that by such action his interest
in the criminal case has disappeared. Its prosecution becomes the sole function of the
public prosecutor. This is our ruling in the decisions hitherto rendered in this jurisdiction
interpreting the above provision of our rules of court.
In People vs. Maceda, 73 Phil, 676, this court said that the offended party may, as of
right, intervene in the prosecution of a criminal action, but then only when, from the
nature of the offense, he is entitled to indemnity and his action thereof has not by him
been waived or expressly reserved. (Italics supplied.) The same ruling was reiterated in
People vs. Velez, 77 Phil., 1026 and People vs. Capistrano, 90 Phil., 823. In the former
case, we said, The reason of the law in not permitting the offended party to intervene in
the prosecution of a criminal case if he has waived his right to institute a civil action
arising from the criminal act, or has reserved or, a fortiori, already instituted the said civil
action, is that he has no special interest in the prosecution of the criminal action. (Italics
supplied.) And in another case we likewise said that since the offended party has
already filed a civil action arising from the criminal act, he has no right to intervene in
the prosecution of the case (People vs. Olavides, 80 Phil., 280; chan
roblesvirtualawlibrary45 Off. Gaz., 3834).
It therefore appears from the foregoing that an offended party losses his right to
intervene in the prosecution of a criminal case, not only when he has waived the civil
action or expressly reserved his right to institute it, but also when he has actually
instituted the civil action even if he has not made the waiver or reservation above
adverted to. This ruling is further strengthened by Article 33 of the new Civil Code which
provides that In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil action for
damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the
injured party, and that such action may proceed independently of the criminal and for
its determination preponderance of evidence would suffice. The present case comes
within the purview of this provision.
Petition is denied, with costs against Petitioners.
Paras, C.J ., Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Labrador, Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L.
and Endencia, J J ., concur.












[G.R. No. 138881. December 18, 2000]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.LEILA JOHNSON Y
REYES, accused-appellant.
D E C I S I O N
MENDOZA, J .:
This is an appeal from the decision,
[1]
dated May 14, 1999, of the Regional Trial
Court, Branch 110, Pasay City, finding accused-appellant Leila Johnson y Reyes

guilty
of violation of 16 of R.A. No. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act), as amended by R.A. No.
7659, and sentencing her to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine
of P500,000.00 and the costs of the suit.
The information against accused-appellant alleged:
That on June 26, 1998 inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named Accused did then and there
willfully, unlawfully and feloniously possess three plastic bags of methamphetamine
hydrochloride, a regulated drug, each bag weighing:
#1 ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY SEVEN POINT FIVE (187.5) grams;
#2

ONE HUNDRED NINETY EIGHT POINT ZERO (198.0) grams; and
#3 ONE HUNDRED NINETY FOUR POINT SEVEN (194.7) grams, respectively,
or a total of FIVE HUNDRED EIGHTY POINT TWO (580.2) grams of
methamphetamine hydrochloride.
That the above-named accused does not have the corresponding
license or prescription to possess or use said regulated drug.
CONTRARY TO LAW.
[2]

Upon being arraigned, accused-appellant pleaded not guilty,
[3]
whereupon trial was
held.
The prosecution presented four witnesses, namely, NBI Forensic Chemist George
de Lara, SPO4 Reynaldo Embile, duty frisker Olivia Ramirez, and SPO1 Rizalina
Bernal. The defense presented accused-appellant who testified in her own behalf.
The facts are as follows:
Accused-appellant Leila Reyes Johnson was, at the time of the incident, 58 years
old, a widow, and a resident of Ocean Side, California, U.S.A. She is a former Filipino
citizen who was naturalized as an American on June 16, 1968 and had since been
working as a registered nurse, taking care of geriatric patients and those with
Alzheimers disease, in convalescent homes in the United States.
[4]

On June 16, 1998, she arrived in the Philippines to visit her sons family in
Calamba, Laguna. She was due to fly back to the United States on July 26. On July
25, she checked in at the Philippine Village Hotel to avoid the traffic on the way to the
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and checked out at 5:30 p.m. the next day,
June 26, 1998.
[5]

At around 7:30 p.m. of that day, Olivia Ramirez was on duty as a lady frisker at
Gate 16 of the NAIA departure area. Her duty was to frisk departing passengers,
employees, and crew and check for weapons, bombs, prohibited drugs, contraband
goods, and explosives.
[6]

When she frisked accused-appellant Leila Johnson, a departing passenger bound
for the United States via Continental Airlines CS-912, she felt something hard on the
latters abdominal area. Upon inquiry, Mrs. Johnson explained she needed to wear two
panty girdles as she had just undergone an operation as a result of an ectopic
pregnancy.
[7]

Not satisfied with the explanation, Ramirez reported the matter to her superior,
SPO4 Reynaldo Embile, saying Sir, hindi po ako naniniwalang panty lang po iyon.
(Sir, I do not believe that it is just a panty.) She was directed to take accused-appellant
to the nearest womens room for inspection. Ramirez took accused-appellant to the rest
room, accompanied by SPO1 Rizalina Bernal. Embile stayed outside.
[8]

Inside the womens room, accused-appellant was asked again by Ramirez what the
hard object on her stomach was and accused-appellant gave the same answer she had
previously given. Ramirez then asked her to bring out the thing under her girdle.
Accused-appellant brought out three plastic packs, which Ramirez then turned over to
Embile, outside the womens room.
[9]

The confiscated packs, marked as Exhibits C-1, C-2 and C-3, contained a total of
580.2 grams of a substance which was found by NBI Chemist George de Lara to be
methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
[10]

Embile took accused-appellant and the plastic packs to the 1st Regional Aviation
and Security Office (1st RASO) at the arrival area of the NAIA, where accused-
appellants passport and ticket were taken and her luggage opened. Pictures were
taken and her personal belongings were itemized.
[11]

In her defense, accused-appellant alleged that she was standing in line at the last
boarding gate when she was approached by Embile and two female officers. She
claimed she was handcuffed and taken to the womens room. There, she was asked to
undress and was then subjected to a body search. She insisted that nothing was found
on her person. She was later taken to a room filled with boxes, garbage, and a
chair. Her passport and her purse containing $850.00 and some change were taken
from her, for which no receipt was issued to her. After two hours, she said, she was
transferred to the office of a certain Col. Castillo.
[12]

After another two hours, Col. Castillo and about eight security guards came in and
threw two white packages on the table. They told her to admit that the packages were
hers. But she denied knowledge and ownership of the packages. She was detained at
the 1st RASO office until noon of June 28, 1999 when she was taken before a fiscal for
inquest.
[13]
She claimed that throughout the period of her detention, from the night of
June 26 until June 28, she was never allowed to talk to counsel nor was she allowed to
call the U.S. Embassy or any of her relatives in the Philippines.
[14]

On May 14, 1999, the trial court rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of
which reads:
[15]

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding the accused LEILA JOHNSON Y
REYES, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the offense of Violation of Section 16 of
Republic Act 6425 as amended and hereby imposes on her the penalty of RECLUSION
PERPETUA and condemns said accused to pay a fine of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND
PESOS (P500,000.00) without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to
pay the costs of suit.
The Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu) having a total net weight of 580.2 grams
(Exhibits G, C-2 and C-3) are hereby confiscated in favor of the government and
the Branch Clerk of Court is hereby ordered to cause the transportation thereof to the
Dangerous Drugs Board for disposition in accordance with law.
The accused shall be credited in full for the period of her detention at the City Jail of
Pasay City during the pendency of this case provided that she agreed in writing to abide
by and comply strictly with the rules and regulations of the City Jail.
SO ORDERED.
Accused-appellant contends that the trial court convicted her: (1) despite failure of
the prosecution in proving the negative allegation in the information; (2) despite failure
of the prosecution in proving the quantity of methamphetamine hydrochloride; (3)
despite violation of her constitutional rights; and (4) when guilt was not proven beyond
reasonable doubt.
[16]

First. Accused-appellant claims that she was arrested and detained in gross
violation of her constitutional rights. She argues that the shabu confiscated from her is
inadmissible against her because she was forced to affix her signature on the plastic
bags while she was detained at the 1
st
RASO office, without the assistance of counsel
and without having been informed of her constitutional rights. Hence, she argues, the
methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, should have been excluded from the
evidence.
[17]

The contention has no merit. No statement, if any, was taken from accused-
appellant during her detention and used in evidence against her. There is, therefore, no
basis for accused-appellants invocation of Art. III, 12(1) and (3). On the other hand,
what is involved in this case is an arrest in flagrante delicto pursuant to a valid search
made on her person.
The trial court held:
The constitutional right of the accused was not violated as she was never placed under
custodial investigation but was validly arrested without warrant pursuant to the
provisions of Section 5, Rule 113 of the 1985 Rules of Criminal Procedure which
provides:
Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. A peace officer or a private person
may, without a warrant, arrest a person:
(a) when in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) when an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has
personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has
committed it; and
(Underscoring supplied)
x x x x
A custodial investigation has been defined in People. v. Ayson 175 SCRA 230 as the
questioning initiated by law enforcement officers after a person has been taken [in]
custody or otherwise deprived of his freedom in any significant way. This presupposes
that he is suspected of having committed an offense and that the investigator is trying to
elicit information or [a] confession from him."
The circumstances surrounding the arrest of the accused above falls in either paragraph
(a) or (b) of the Rule above cited, hence the allegation that she has been subjected to
custodial investigation is far from being accurate.
[18]

The methamphetamine hydrochloride seized from her during the routine frisk at the
airport was acquired legitimately pursuant to airport security procedures.
Persons may lose the protection of the search and seizure clause by exposure of
their persons or property to the public in a manner reflecting a lack of subjective
expectation of privacy, which expectation society is prepared to recognize as
reasonable.
[19]
Such recognition is implicit in airport security procedures. With
increased concern over airplane hijacking and terrorism has come increased security at
the nations airports. Passengers attempting to board an aircraft routinely pass through
metal detectors; their carry-on baggage as well as checked luggage are routinely
subjected to x-ray scans. Should these procedures suggest the presence of suspicious
objects, physical searches are conducted to determine what the objects are. There is
little question that such searches are reasonable, given their minimal intrusiveness, the
gravity of the safety interests involved, and the reduced privacy expectations associated
with airline travel.
[20]
Indeed, travelers are often notified through airport public address
systems, signs, and notices in their airline tickets that they are subject to search and, if
any prohibited materials or substances are found, such would be subject to
seizure. These announcements place passengers on notice that ordinary constitutional
protections against warrantless searches and seizures do not apply to routine airport
procedures.
The packs of methamphetamine hydrochloride having thus been obtained through a
valid warrantless search, they are admissible in evidence against the accused-appellant
herein. Corollarily, her subsequent arrest, although likewise without warrant, was
justified since it was effected upon the discovery and recovery of shabu in her
person in flagrante delicto.
Anent her allegation that her signature on the said packs (Exhibits C-1, C-2 and C-3
herein) had been obtained while she was in the custody of the airport authorities without
the assistance of counsel, the Solicitor General correctly points out that nowhere in the
records is it indicated that accused-appellant was required to affix her signature to the
packs. In fact, only the signatures of Embile and Ramirez thereon, along with their
testimony to that effect, were presented by the prosecution in proving its case.
There is, however, no justification for the confiscation of accused-appellants
passport, airline ticket, luggage, and other personal effects. The pictures taken during
that time are also inadmissible, as are the girdle taken from her, and her signature
thereon. Rule 126, 2 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure authorizes the
search and seizure only of the following:
Personal property to be seized. A search warrant may be issued for the search and
seizure of personal property:
(a) Subject of the offense;
(b) Stolen or embezzled and other proceeds or fruits of the offense; and
(c) Used or intended to be used as the means of committing an offense.
Accordingly, the above items seized from accused-appellant should be returned to
her.
Second. Accused-appellant argues that the prosecution failed to fully ascertain the
quantity of methamphetamine hydrochloride to justify the imposition of the penalty
of reclusion perpetua.
Section 20 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, states:
Section 20 - Application Of Penalties, Confiscation And Forfeiture Of The Proceeds or
Instrument Of The Crime The penalties for offenses under Section 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:
1. 40 grams or more of opium;
2. 40 grams or more of morphine;
3. 200 grams or more of shabu, or methylamphetamine hydrochloride;
4. 40 grams or more of heroin;
5. 750 grams or more of indian hemp of marijuana;
6. 50 grams of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil;
7. 40 grams or more of cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride; or
8. In case of other dangerous drugs, the quantity of which is far beyond therapeutic
requirements as determined and promulgated by the Dangerous Drugs Board, after
public consultation/hearings conducted for the purpose.
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.
Under this provision, accused-appellant therefore stands to suffer the penalty
of reclusion perpetua to death for her possession of 580.2 grams of shabu.
Accused-appellant attempts to distinguish between a quantitative and a qualitative
examination of the substance contained in Exhibits C-1, C-2 and C-3. She argues that
the examination conducted by the NBI forensic chemist was a qualitative one which
merely yielded positive findings for shabu, but failed to establish its purity; hence, its
exact quantity remains indeterminate and unproved.
This contention is likewise without merit.
The expert witness, George De Lara, stated that the tests conducted would have
indicated the presence of impurities if there were any. He testified:
PROS. VELASCO By mixing it twice, Mr. Witness, if there are any adulterants or
impurities, it will be discovered by just mixing it?
WITNESS If some drugs or additives were present, it will appear in a thin layer
chromatographic examination.
PROS. VELASCO Did other drugs or other additives appear Mr. Witness?
WITNESS In my thin layer chromatographic plate, it only appears one spot which
resembles or the same as the Methamphetamine Hydrochloride sample
. . . .
PROS. VELASCO So, Mr. Witness, if there are any adulterants present in the
chemicals you have examined, in chemical examination, what color it will
register, if any?
WITNESS In sample, it contained a potassium aluminum sulfate, it will not react
with the reagent, therefore it will not dissolve. In my examination, all the
specimens reacted on the re-agents, sir.
PROS. VELASCO And what is potassium aluminum sulfate in laymans term?
WITNESS It is only a tawas.
. . . .
COURT In this particular case, did you find any aluminum sulfate or tawas in the
specimen?
WITNESS None, your Honor.
. . . .
ATTY. AGOOT I will cite an example, supposing ten grams of Methamphetamine
Hydrochloride is mixed with 200 grams of tawas, you will submit that to
qualitative examination, what will be your findings, negative or positive, Mr.
Witness?
WITNESS It will give a positive result for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride.
ATTY. AGOOT That is qualitative examination.
WITNESS And also positive for aluminum sulfate.
[21]

A qualitative determination relates to the identity of the material, whereas a
quantitative analysis requires the determination of the percentage combination of the
components of a mixture. Hence, a qualitative identification of a powder may reveal the
presence of heroin and quinine, for instance, whereas a quantitative analysis may
conclude the presence of 10 percent heroin and 90 percent quinine.
[22]

De Lara testified that he used a chromatography test to determine the contents of
Exhibits C-1, C-2 and C-3. Chromatography is a means of separating and tentatively
identifying the components of a mixture. It is particularly useful for analyzing the
multicomponent specimens that are frequently received in a crime lab.

For example,
illicit drugs sold on the street may be diluted with practically any material that is at the
disposal of the drug dealer to increase the quantity of the product that is made available
to prospective customers. Hence, the task of identifying an illicit drug preparation would
be an arduous one without the aid of chromatographic methods to first separate the
mixture into its components.
[23]

The testimony of De Lara established not only that the tests were thorough, but also
that the scientifically correct method of obtaining an accurate representative sample had
been obtained.
[24]
At any rate, as the Solicitor-General has pointed out, if accused-
appellant was not satisfied with the results, it would have been a simple matter for her to
ask for an independent examination of the substance by another chemist. This she did
not do.
Third. Accused-appellant argues that the prosecution failed to prove the negative
allegation in the information that she did not have a license to possess or use
methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
Art. III of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659 provides:
SEC. 16. Possession or Use of Regulated 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 shall possess or use any regulated drug
without the corresponding license or prescription, subject to the provisions of Section 20
hereof.
Accused-appellant claims that possession or use of methamphetamine
hydrochloride or shabu,a regulated drug, is not unlawful unless the possessor or user
does not have the required license or prescription. She points out that since the
prosecution failed to present any certification that she is not authorized to possess or
use regulated drugs, it therefore falls short of the quantum of proof needed to sustain a
conviction.
The contention has no merit.
The question raised in this case is similar to that raised in United States v. Chan
Toco.
[25]
The accused in that case was charged with smoking opium without being duly
registered. He demurred to the information on the ground that it failed to allege that the
use of opium had not been prescribed as a medicine by a duly licensed and practicing
physician.
This Court denied the motion and said:
The evident interest and purpose of the statute is to prohibit and to penalize generally
the smoking of opium in these Islands. But the legislator desired to withdraw from the
operation of the statute a limited class of smokers who smoked under the advice and by
prescription of a licensed and practicing physician . . . . Hence where one is charged
with a violation of the general provisions of the Opium Law, it is more logical as well as
more practical and convenient, if he did in fact smoke opium under the advice of a
physician, that he should set up this fact by way of defense, than that the prosecution
should be called upon to prove that every smoker, charged with a violation of the law,
does so without such advice or prescription. Indeed, when it is considered that under
the law any person may, in case of need and at any time, procure the advice of a
physician to use opium or some of its derivatives, and that in the nature of things no
public record of prescriptions of this kind is or can be required to be kept, it is manifest
that it would be wholly impracticable and absurd to impose on the prosecution the
burden of alleging and proving the fact that one using opium does so without the advice
of a physician. To prove beyond a reasonable doubt, in a particular case, that one
using opium does so without the advice or prescription of a physician would be in most
cases a practical impossibility without the aid of the defendant himself, while a
defendant charged with the illegal use of opium should find little difficulty in establishing
the fact that he used it under the advice and on the prescription of a physician, if in fact
he did so.
[26]

An accused person sometimes owes a duty to himself if not to the State. If he does
not perform that duty he may not always expect the State to perform it for him. If he
fails to meet the obligation which he owes to himself, when to meet it is an easy thing
for him to do, he has no one but himself to blame.
Moreover, as correctly pointed out by the Solicitor General, there is nothing in R.A.
No. 6425 or the Dangerous Drugs Act, as amended, which requires the prosecution to
present a certification that accused-appellant has no license or permit to possess
shabu. Mere possession of the prohibited substance is a crime per se and the burden
of proof is upon accused-appellant to show that she has a license or permit under the
law to possess the prohibited drug.
Fourth. Lastly, accused-appellant contends that the evidence presented by the
prosecution is not sufficient to support a finding that she is guilty of the crime charged.
This contention must likewise be rejected.
Credence was properly accorded to the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses,
who are law enforcers. When police officers have no motive to testify falsely against the
accused, courts are inclined to uphold this presumption. In this case, no evidence has
been presented to suggest any improper motive on the part of the police enforcers in
arresting accused-appellant. This Court accords great respect to the findings of the trial
court on the matter of credibility of the witnesses in the absence of any palpable error or
arbitrariness in its findings.
[27]

It is noteworthy that, aside from the denial of accused-appellant, no other witness
was presented in her behalf. Her denial cannot prevail over the positive testimonies of
the prosecution witnesses.
[28]
As has been held, denial as a rule is a weak form of
defense, particularly when it is not substantiated by clear and
convincing evidence. The defense of denial or frame-up, like alibi, has been invariably
viewed by the courts with disfavor for it can just as easily be concocted and is a
common and standard defense ploy in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous
Drugs Act.
[29]

The Court is convinced that the requirements of the law in order that a person may
be validly charged with and convicted of illegal possession of a dangerous drug in
violation of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, have been complied with by the prosecution in
this case. The decision of the trial court must accordingly be upheld.
As regards the fine imposed by the trial court, it has been held that courts may fix
any amount within the limits established by law.
[30]
Considering that five hundred eighty
point two (580.2) grams of shabu were confiscated from accused-appellant, the fine
imposed by the trial court may properly be reduced to P50,000.00.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 110,
finding accused-appellant guilty of violation of 16 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, and
imposing upon her the penalty of reclusion perpetua is hereby AFFIRMED with the
MODIFICATION that the fine imposed on accused-appellant is reduced
to P50,000.00. Costs against appellant.
The passport, airline ticket, luggage, girdle and other personal effects not yet
returned to the accused-appellant are hereby ordered returned to her.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.