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Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody rule.

There are links that must be established in the chain


of custody in a buybust situation, namely: first, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the
illegal drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; second, the turnover of the
illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to the investigating officer; third, the turnover by
the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination;
and, fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug seized from the forensic
chemist to the court. In this case, the prosecution established clearly the integrity and
evidentiary value of the confiscated shabu. People of the Philippines v. Glenn Salvador y
Balverde, et al, G.R. No. 190621, February 10, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody rule; marking. Appellants contention that the marking
of the seized sachets of shabu should have been made in his presence while at the scene of the
crime instead of in the police station fails to impress. It is clear from the earlier cited Sec. 21(a)
of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9165 that in a buy-bust situation, the
marking of the dangerous drug may be done in the presence of the violator in the nearest police
station or the nearest office of the apprehending team. Appellant should not confuse buy-bust
situation from search and seizure conducted by virtue of a court-issued warrant. It is in the latter
case that physical inventory (which includes the marking) is made at the place where the search
warrant is served. Nonetheless, non-compliance with the 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. People of the Philippines v. Glenn Salvador y Balverde, et al, G.R. No. 190621,
February 10, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; chain of custody rule; when substantial compliance is allowed. The failure
of the prosecution to show that the police officers conducted the required physical inventory and
photographed the objects confiscated does not ipso facto result in the unlawful arrest of the
accused or render inadmissible in evidence the items seized. This is due to the proviso added in
the implementing rules stating that it must still be shown that there exists justifiable grounds and
proof that the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence have not been preserved. What is
crucial is that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved for they will
be used in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. People of the Philippines v.
Glenn Salvador y Balverde, et al, G.R. No. 190621, February 10, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; drug den. A drug den is a lair or hideaway where prohibited or regulated
drugs are used in any form or are found. Its existence may be proved not only by direct evidence
but may also be established by proof of facts and circumstances, including evidence of the
general reputation of the house, or its general reputation among police officers. In this case, this
fact was proven by none other than the testimony of PO2 Martinez, the poseur-buyer, who after
buying the shabu had told the appellant that he wanted to sniff the same to which the latter
responded by requiring the former to pay a rental fee of P10.00. The appellant, thereafter,
allowed PO2 Martinez to enter his house and directed him to proceed to one of the rooms located
at the right side of the sala. Upon entering the said room, PO2 Martinez saw three other persons
already sniffing shabu. People of the Philippines v. Vicente Rom, G.R. No. 198452, February 19,
2014.

Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal possession of drugs; elements. With regard to the offense of illegal
possession of dangerous drugs, like shabu, the following elements must be proven: (1) the
accused is in possession of an item or object that is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such
possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously possesses the
said drug. People of the Philippines v. Vicente Rom, G.R. No. 198452, February 19, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of drugs; elements. In a successful prosecution for illegal sale
of dangerous drugs, like shabu, the following elements must be established: (1) the identity of
the buyer and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold
and the payment therefor. What is material in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is
the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of
the corpus delicti or the illicit drug in evidence. The commission of the offense of illegal sale of
dangerous drugs merely requires the consummation of the selling transaction, which happens the
moment the exchange of money and drugs between the buyer and the seller takes place. People
of the Philippines v. Glenn Salvador y Balverde, et al, G.R. No. 190621. February 10, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of drugs; chain of custody. To secure conviction for illegal
sale of dangerous drugs, the identity of the prohibited drug seized from the accused must be
proved with moral certainty. The prosecution must establish with such measure of certitude that
the substance bought or seized during the buy-bust operation is the same substance offered as
evidence in court. Proof of the chain of custody from the time of seizure to the time such
evidence is presented in court ensures the absence of doubt concerning the integrity of such vital
evidence. This requires as a minimum that the police mark the seized item (1) in the presence of
the apprehended violator and (2) immediately upon confiscation. People of the Philippines v.
Merlita Palomares y Costuna, G.R. No. 200915, February 12, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of drugs; chain of custody. The Supreme Court has ruled that
immediate marking could be made at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending
team. Here, however, the evidence is unclear as to where the responsible police officer marked
the seized substance and whether it was done in Merlitas presence. In fact, it is also not clear
from the evidence which police officer did the marking since P02 Mallari and P02 Flores gave
conflicting testimonies on this point.This uncertainty concerning a vital element of the crime
warrants overturning the judgment of conviction. Besides, neither P02 Mallari nor P02 Flores
testified that they conducted a physical inventory and took photos of the article that was seized
from Merlita. In fact, their joint affidavit of arrest made no mention of any inventory taking or
photographing of the same. And they did not bother at all to offer some justification for the
omission. People of the Philippines v. Merlita Palomares y Costuna, G.R. No. 200915, February
12, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal sale of drugs; drug pushers sell to any prospective customer, in any
place and at any time. The Supreme Court (SC) had occasion to show the unacceptability of the
contention of the appellant that the testimony of the poseur-buyer was absurd, illogical, contrary
to reason and highly incredible for no person who is engaged in an illegal transaction would
leave the door of the house open after such transaction. In case after case, SC observed that drug
pushers sell their prohibited articles to any prospective customer, be he a stranger or not, in
private as well as in public places, even in the daytime. Indeed, the drug pushers have become

increasingly daring, dangerous and, worse, openlydefiant of the law. Hence, what matters is not
the existing familiarity between the buyer and the seller or the time and venue of the sale, but the
fact of agreement and the acts constituting the sale and the delivery of the prohibited drugs.
People of the Philippines v. Vicente Rom, G.R. No. 198452, February 19, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; illegal transportation of methamphetamine hydrochloride; penalty.
Originally, under Section 15 of R.A. 6425, the penalty for illegal transportation of
methamphetamine hydrochloride was imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to
twelve years and a fine ranging from six thousand to twelve thousand pesos. Pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. 1683, the penalty was amended to life imprisonment to death and a fine
ranging from twenty to thirty thousand pesos. The penalty was further amended in Republic Act
No. 7659, where the penalty was changed to reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging from
five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos. People of the Philippines v. Javier Morilla y
Avellano, G.R. No. 189833, February 5, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; possession of drugs is prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus
possidendi. Definitely, the records do not show that the appellant had the legal authority to
possess the four heat-sealed plastic packets of shabu. Settled is the rule that possession of
dangerous drugs constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient
to convict an accused in the absence of a satisfactory explanation of such possession. As such,
the burden of evidence is shifted to the accused to explain the absence of knowledge or animus
possidendi, which the appellant in this case miserably failed to do. People of the Philippines v.
Vicente Rom, G.R. No. 198452, February 19, 2014.
Dangerous Drugs Act; transport defined. Morilla and Mayor Mitra were caught in flagrante
delicto in the act of transporting the dangerous drugs on board their vehicles. Transport as used
under the Dangerous Drugs Act means to carry or convey from one place to another. It was
well established during trial that Morilla was driving the ambulance following the lead of Mayor
Mitra, who was driving a Starex van going to Manila. The very act of transporting
methamphetamine hydrochloride is malum prohibitum since it is punished as an offense under a
special law. The fact of transportation of the sacks containing dangerous drugs need not be
accompanied by proof of criminal intent, motive or knowledge. People of the Philippines v.
Javier Morilla y Avellano, G.R. No. 189833, February 5, 2014.
3. CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Alibi. Alibi is an inherently weak defense because it is easy to fabricate and highly unreliable.
For the defense of alibi to prosper, the appellant must prove that he was somewhere else when
the offense was committed and that he was so far away that it was not possible for him to have
been physically present at the place of the crime or at its immediate vicinity at the time of its
commission. In the case at bar, the testimony of defense witness Filomeno Suson made known to
the trial court that the distance between the scene of the crime and the copra kiln dryer where
appellant claimed to have been working the entire time during which the incidents of rape
occurred can be traversed in less than an hour. Thus, it was not physically impossible for
appellant to be at the locus criminis on the occasion of the rapes owing to the relatively short
distance. People of the Philippines v. Mervin Gahi, G.R. No. 202976, February 19, 2014.

Alibi; physical impossibility. Physical impossibility involves the distance and the facility of
access between the crime scene and the location of the accused when the crime was committed;
the accused must demonstrate that he was so far away and could not have been physically
present at the crime scene and its immediate vicinity when the crime was committed. People of
the Philippines v. Aurelio Jastiva, G.R. No. 199268, February 12, 2014.
Alibi; when applicable as a defense. It has been held that for the defense of alibi to prosper, the
accused must prove the following: (i) that he was present at another place at the time of the
perpetration of the crime; and (ii) that it was physically impossible for him to be at the scene of
the crime during its commission. Here, appellant Jastiva utterly failed to satisfy the above-quoted
requirements. From the testimonies of the witnesses, it was shown that the distance between
AAAs farmhouse and appellant Jastivas house was only 150 meters, more or less. Certainly,
150 meters is not too far as to preclude the presence of appellant Jastiva at the farmhouse of
AAA. People of the Philippines v. Aurelio Jastiva, G.R. No. 199268, February 12, 2014.
Circumstantial evidence; affidavit is hearsay unless affiant presented in court. Castros
purported possession and eventual return of Volume 266 was only premised upon the statement
of one Nelson de Castro (Nelson), i.e., the Sinumpaang Salaysay dated August 9, 1995, who
averred that on May 18, 1995, at around 11:50 in the morning, Castro told him to pass by his
office and there handed him a bag which, as it turned out, contained the missing Volume 266.
Nelson was not, however, presented before the Regional Trial Court during trial, hence, was not
subjected to any in-court examination. It is settled that while affidavits may be considered as
public documents if they are acknowledged before a notary public (here, a public officer
authorized to administer oaths), they are still classified as hearsay evidence unless the affiants
themselves are placed on the witness stand to testify thereon and the adverse party is accorded
the opportunity to cross-examine them. With the prosecutions failure to present Nelson to affirm
his statement that Castro caused the return of Volume 266, the prosecutions evidence on the
matter should be treated as hearsay and, thus, inadmissible to establish the truth or falsity of the
relevant claims. Consequently, there exists no sufficient circumstantial evidence to prove
Castros guilt. Ricardo L. Atienza and Alfredo A. Castro v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No.
188694, February 12, 2014.