G.R. No.

175602

February 13, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
P02 EDUARDO VALDEZ and EDWIN VALDEZ, Accused-Appellants.
RESOLUTION
BERSAMIN, J.:
The two accused were tried for three counts of murder by the Regional Trial
Court (RTC), Branch 86, in Quezon City. On January 20, 2005, after trial, the
RTC convicted them as charged, prescribed on each of them the penalty
of reclusion perpetua for each count, and ordered them to pay to the heirs of
each victim P93,000.00 _as actual damages, P50,000.00 as civil indemnity,
and P50,000.00 as moral damages.
The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld the RTC on July 18, 2006, subject to the
modification that each of the accused pay to the heirs of each
victim P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral
damages, P25,000.00 as temperate damages, and P25,000.00 as exemplary
damages, plus costs of suit.
The two accused then came to the Court on final appeal, but on May 9, 2007,
Edwin Valdez filed a motion to withdraw appeal, which the Court granted on
October 10, 2007, thereby deeming Edwin’s appeal closed and terminated.1
On January 18, 2012, the Court promulgated its judgment on the appeal of
PO2 Eduardo Valdez, finding him guilty of three counts of homicide, instead
of three counts of murder, and meting on him for each count of homicide the
indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years
of reclusion temporalas maximum,2 to wit:
WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on July 18,
2006 is MODIFIED by finding PO2 Eduardo Valdez guilty beyond reasonable
doubt of three counts of HOMICIDE, and sentencing him to suffer for each
count the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum
to 17 years of reclusion temporal as maximum; and to pay to the respective
heirs of the late Ferdinand Sayson, Moises Sayson, Jr., and Joselito Sayson the
amounts of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity, P50,000.00 as moral damages,
and P25,000.00 as temperate damages.

The accused shall pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.
Subsequently, Edwin sent to the Court Administrator a selfexplanatory
letter3 dated March 12, 2012, where he pleaded for the application to him of
the judgment promulgated on January 18, 2012 on the ground that the
judgment would be beneficial to him as an accused. The letter reads as
follows:
HON. MIDAS MARQUEZ
Court Administrator
Office of the Court Administrator
Supreme Court of the Philippines
Manila
SUBJECT: Re. Section 11 (a), Rule 122 of Rules of Court, Request for.
Your honor,
The undersigned most respectfully requesting through your Honorable office,
assistance on the subject mentioned above.
I, Edwin and Eduardo, both surnamed Valdez were both charged before the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 86, Quezon City for the entitled Crime of Murder
in Criminal Case Nos. Q-00-90718 to Q-0090720, which convicted us to suffer
the penalty of Reclusion Perpetua for each of the three (3) offense.
Then after the decision of the RTC Branch 86, the same was appealed to the
Court of Appeals with CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 00876 and again on July 18, 2006
the Honorable Court of appeals Ninth Division issued a Decision AFFIRMED
the questioned Decision with MODIFICATION.
Only my Co-principal Accused EDUARDO V. VALDEZ enterposed appealed
(sic) the Affirmatory Decision of the Honorable Court of Appeals to the
Highest Tribunal with G.R. Nos. 175602. On my part, I decided to withdraw
my appeal, because I believe that there is no more hope for me, but I was
wrong when I read the Decision of the First Division of the Supreme Court,
dated January 18, 2012 signed by the Chief Justice Honorable Renato C.
Corona and finally I found hope.

And now I come to your Honorable Office through this letter to seek help and
assistance that the Decision of the Supreme Court to my Brother Eduardo V.
Valdez may also benefitted (sic) the undersigned through Section 11 (a) ,
Rule 122 of the Rules of Court.
"(a) An Appeal taken by the one or more of several accused shall not affect
those who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the Appellate
Court is favorable and applicable to the latter: x x x"
Favorable Humanitarian consideration on this matter.
Thank you very much and more power, God Bless.
Respectfully yours
EDWIN V. VALDEZ
Through a comment filed on September 25, 2012,4 the Solicitor General
interposed no opposition to the plea for the reduction of Edwin’s sentences
for being in full accord with the Rules of Court and pertinent jurisprudence.
We grant the plea for reduction of Edwin’s sentences.
The final judgment promulgated on January 18, 2012 downgraded the crimes
committed by Eduardo from three counts of murder to three counts of
homicide, and consequently prescribed lighter penalties in the form of
indeterminate sentences. As a result, Eduardo would serve only an
indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years
of reclusion temporal as maximum, under which he can qualify for parole in
due course by virtue of the Indeterminate Sentence Law, instead of suffering
the indivisible penalty of reclusion perpetua for each count.
The Court rationalized the result as follows:
x x x The records show that the version of PO2 Valdez was contrary
to the established facts and circumstances showing that he and
Edwin, then armed with short firearms, had gone to the jai
alaibetting station of Moises to confront Jonathan Rubio, the teller
of the betting booth then busily attending to bettors inside the
booth; that because the accused were calling to Rubio to come out
of the booth, Moises approached to pacify them, but one of them

that Ferdinand (another victim) rushed to aid Moises. his brother. Gusto mo unahin na kita?. conspiracy exists when two or more persons come to an agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit the felony. The shots fired at the three victims were apparently fired from short distances. We are satisfied that their deduction was warranted. Herein. Wilfredo Tierra of the NBI Medico-Legal Office opined that the presence of marginal abrasions at the points of entry indicated that the gunshot wounds were inflicted at close range. and that Moises suffered a gunshot wound in the head and four gunshot wounds in the chest. PO2 Valdez fired several shots at Moises. but Edwin shot Ferdinand in the head. PO2 Valdez cannot now avoid criminal responsibility for the fatal shooting by Edwin of Ferdinand and Joselito. that PO2 Valdez continued firing at the fallen Moises. that immediately after Moises replied: Huwag!. the congruence between the testimonial recollections and the physical evidence rendered the findings adverse to PO2 Valdez and Edwin conclusive. Also. the medico-legal evidence showed that Ferdinand had a gunshot wound in the head. The testimonial accounts of the State’s witnesses entirely jibed with the physical evidence. but also from their joint attack that PO2 Valdez commenced by firing successive shots at Moises and immediately followed by Edwin’s shooting of Ferdinand and Joselito one after the . Their acting in concert was manifest not only from their going together to the betting station on board a single motorcycle. both lower courts deduced the conspiracy between the accused from the mode and manner in which they perpetrated the killings.threatened Moises. Proof of the actual agreement to commit the crime need not be direct because conspiracy may be implied or inferred from their acts. Thirdly. causing him to fall to the ground. that Edwin also shot Joselito twice in the back. that somebody shouted to Joselito (the third victim) to run. Based on the foregoing. Dr. spilling his brains. Specifically. Given that physical evidence was of the highest order and spoke the truth more eloquently than all witnesses put together. that two gunshot wounds entered Joselito’s back and the right side of his neck. and that Joselito fell on a burger machine. Both accused were convincingly shown to have acted in concert to achieve a common purpose of assaulting their unarmed victims with their guns.

Accordingly. Dimaano. neither did he have to know the exact part performed by his co-conspirator in the execution of the criminal acts. It encompasses a wide variety of actions and attendant circumstances. the designation of the offense given by the statute. Treachery is the employment of means. the Court elaborated: For complaint or information to be sufficient.other. for. In People v. the approximate time of the commission of the offense. without risk to the offending party arising from the defense which the offended party might make. or from the specification of the provision of law alleged to have been violated. the appreciation of which is particular to a crime committed. instead of three murders. the name of the offended party. the acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense. the defense against the appreciation of a circumstance as aggravating or qualifying is also varied and dependent on each particular instance. What is controlling is not the . but by the actual recital of facts in the complaint or information. Corollarily. one did not have to participate in every detail of the execution. on account of the informations not sufficiently alleging the attendance of treachery. And. it is unavoidable for the Court to pronounce PO2 Valdez guilty of three homicides. indeed. which are mere conclusions of law. It was also significant that they fled together on board the same motorcycle as soon as they had achieved their common purpose. Such variety generates the actual need for the state to specifically aver the factual circumstances or particular acts that constitute the criminal conduct or that qualify or aggravate the liability for the crime in the interest of affording the accused sufficient notice to defend himself. It cannot be otherwise. the existence of the conspiracy between PO2 Valdez and Edwin was properly inferred and proved through their acts that were indicative of their common purpose and community of interest. it must state the name of the accused. methods or forms in the execution of any of the crimes against persons which tend to directly and specially insure its execution. To be a conspirator. and the place wherein the offense was committed. fourthly. the real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or preamble of the information.

without more. Indeed. the particular acts and circumstances constituting treachery as an attendant circumstance in murder were missing from the informations. Every element of the offense must be stated in the information. did not show how the execution of the crime was directly and specially ensured without risk to the accused from the defense that the victim might make. No information for a crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the crime charged. attack and employ personal violence upon" the victims "by then and there shooting them with a gun. What facts and circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to the definitions and essentials of the specified crimes. but the description of the crime charged and the particular facts therein recited. The requirement of alleging the elements of a crime in the information is to inform the accused of the nature of the accusation against him so as to enable him to suitably prepare his defense. The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be charged. .title of the complaint. for there are other instruments that could serve the same lethal purpose. Nor did the use of the term treachery constitute a sufficient averment. was nothing but a conclusion of law. these being mere conclusions of law made by the prosecutor. and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. [emphasis supplied] The averments of the informations to the effect that the two accused "with intent to kill. In short. for that term. nor the designation of the offense charged or the particular law or part thereof allegedly violated. It should not be difficult to see that merely averring the killing of a person by shooting him with a gun. hitting [them]" on various parts of their bodies "which were the direct and immediate cause of their deaths" did not sufficiently set forth the facts and circumstances describing how treachery attended each of the killings. standing alone. evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength did x x x assault. qualified with treachery. not an averment of a fact. the use of the gun as an instrument to kill was not per se treachery. The presumption is that the accused has no independent knowledge of the facts that constitute the offense.

00 as civil indemnity. and sentencing him to suffer for each count the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years ofreclusion temporal as maximum. and to pay to the respective heirs of the late Ferdinand Sayson. and P25.. There being no circumstances modifying criminal liability. and the maximum from the medium period of reclusion temporal. WHEREFORE. x x x. xxxx x x x. pursuant to which he is always presumed to have no independent knowledge of the details of the crime he is being charged with. Edwin cannot be barred from seeking the application to him of the downgrading of the crimes committed (and the resultant lighter penalties) despite the finality of his convictions for three counts of murder due to his withdrawal of his appeal. P50. This requirement accords with the presumption of innocence in his favor. Hence.000. the penalty is applied in its medium period (ie. and Joselito Sayson the amounts of P50. the decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on July 18.00 as temperate damages. The accused shall pay the costs of suit.. 2006 is MODIFIED by finding PO2 Eduardo Valdez guilty beyond reasonable doubt of three counts of HOMICIDE.000. The downgrading of the crimes committed would definitely be favorable to him. SO ORDERED.x x x. To have the facts stated in the body of the information determine the crime of which he stands charged and for which he must be tried thoroughly accords with common sense and with the requirements of plain justice. the minimum of the indeterminate sentence is taken from prision mayor. the Court imposes the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years of reclusion temporal as maximum for each count of homicide. Worth pointing out is that to .5 (Emphasis supplied) On his part.00 as moral damages. Moises Sayson. The requirement of sufficient factual averments is meant to inform the accused of the nature and cause of the charge against him in order to enable him to prepare his defense. Under the Indeterminate Sentence Law.000. 14 years. Jr. 8 months and 1 day to 17 years and 4 months).

Effect of appeal by any of several accused. Court of Appeals6 that the benefits of this provision extended to all the accused. 11. contends that said provision is not applicable to petitioner inasmuch as he appealed from his conviction. and the provision states that a favorable judgment shall be applicable only to those who did not appeal.deny to him the benefit of the lessened criminal responsibilities would be highly unfair. i. A literal interpretation of the phrase "did not appeal. – (a) An appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal. which relevantly provides: Section 11. petitioner should likewise be acquitted. We grant Edwin’s plea based on Section 11(a).(a) An appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal. Effect of appeal by any of several accused. regardless of whether they appealed or not." as espoused by private respondent. considering that this Court had found the two accused to have acted in concert in their deadly assault against the victims. except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter. . to wit: As earlier stated. warranting their equal liabiliy under the principle of conspiracy. except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable and applicable to the latter. It should be read in its entirety and should not be myopically construed so as to defeat its reason. both petitioner and the OSG laterally argue that in the event of Guingguing’s acquittal. Rule 122 of the Rules of Court. based on Rule 122. as amended. xxxx In this connection. Section 11(a) of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. to benefit an accused who did not join in the appeal of his co-accused in case where the appellate judgment is favorable. In fact. will not give justice to the purpose of the provision. the Court has pronounced in Lim v. which states: SEC.e.. Private respondent however.

as amended. acquitting his co-accused Virgilio T. who was previously found guilty by the trial court of robbery with homicide. In People v. Article II of Republic Act No. 2000. Eduardo Villas. 95936 for violation of Section 4. The Court also modified Precioso’s civil liability although the additional monetary award imposed on Arondain was not extended to Precioso since it was not favorable to him and he did not pursue the appeal before the Court. and considering that the evidence against both are inextricably linked. In People v. In People v. In People v. were found by the trial court guilty of forcible abduction. except insofar as the judgment of the appellant court is favorable and applicable to the latter. Jose Precioso. 6425. Artellero. applying the Rule 122. Thereafter. the Court found accused Arondain guilty only of homicide. Applying Rule 122. Hence. Escaño. Usana and Jerry C. the Court extended the acquittal of Rodriguez’s coaccused to him despite the withdrawal of his appeal. including those not raised by the parties. which is favorable and applicable to Rodriguez. despite the fact that Precioso appealed but failed to file an appellant’s brief. Section 11 (a) of Rule 122 of the Rules of Court provides that "an appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those who did not appeal. . so long as the judgment was favorable to him. Section 11(a). should benefit the latter.1âwphi1 Such verdict was applied to his co-accused. the Court granted a motion filed by accused Julian Deen Escaño. hence his conviction became final and executory." As we have elucidated. appellant’s acquittal. De Lara. the evidence against and the conviction of both appellant and Rodriguez are inextricably linked. The records show that Rodriguez had withdrawn his appeal due to financial reasons. the wellestablished rule is that an appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole case open for review of all its aspects. Lopez in Criminal Case No. During pendency of the review before the Court. together with several coaccused. However.several cases rendered by the Court applied the foregoing provision without regard as to the filing or non-filing of an appeal by a coaccused. Section 11(a). Villas withdrew his appeal. to wit: Although it is only appellant who persisted with the present appeal. praying that the Court’s Decision dated January 28. the Court also found Villas guilty of the lesser offense of grave coercion since it is beneficial to him. the Court found Villas’ co-accused guilty only of grave coercion. Arondain.

and to pay to the respective heirs of the late Ferdinand Sayson.000.000. SO ORDERED. Escaño originally filed a Notice of Appeal with the trial court but later withdrew the same."7 ACCORDINGLY. 2005 in G. Nevertheless.000. all the accused appealed from their judgments of conviction but for one reason or another.. the conviction became final and executory.R. "'the verdict of guilt with respect to Lim [herein petitioner] had already become final and executory. the late Moises Sayson. 2012 finding P02 EDUARDO VALDEZ guilty of three counts of homicide. No. Jr. the Court cannot see why a different treatment should be given to petitioner. given that the judgment is favorable to him and considering further that the Court's finding in its Decision dated September 30. 128959 stated. the Court GRANTS the plea of EDWIN VALDEZ for the application to him of the judgment promulgated on January 18. . and sentencing him to suffer for each count the indeterminate sentence of 10 years of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years of reclusion temporal as maximum.be applied to him. 2005 specifically stated that "the publication of the subject advertisement by petitioner and Lim cannot be deemed by this Court to have been done with actual malice.00 as temperate damages for each count. the Court still applied to them the favorable judgment in favor of their co-accused.00 as civil indemnity. P50." In any event. The Court notes that the Decision dated September 30. and the late Joselito Sayson the amounts ofP50.00 as moral damages. and P25. In the foregoing cases.

Plaintiff-Appellee.: ......... No.. 200030 Present: CARPIO. 2012 x. JJ..... J. Accused-Appellant........ and REYES...-x RESOLUTION PEREZ. G.....R..PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES... J......... PEREZ. BRION. Promulgated: April 18. . Chairperson..versus - NELSON BAYOT y SATINA.......... SERENO....

6th Judicial Region. willfully. the RTC convicted appellant of the crime of rape and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay AAA the amount ofP40. which was explained by Dr. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. committed against AAA. In convicting appellant. by means of force. Further. the RTC ratiocinated that AAAs testimony as regards her ordeal was simple and straightforward.000. There appeared to be no inconsistency in her testimony.C. Branch 61. No. did then and there. [3] thus. unlawfully and feloniously have carnal knowledge of and/or sexual intercourse with the [AAA].00 to P50. sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. The appellate court increased the award of indemnity from P40. which reads as follows: in an That on or about the 17th day of September. against her will. AAAs declaration that she was raped by appellant was corroborated by a medical certificate showing contusion on her vagina at 6:00 oclock quadrant of the crevice. the above-named [appellant].00 as indemnity with costs. It stated that appellants claim of being AAAs lover was a mere devise to extricate himself from the . Rodrigo Cubid to have been caused by forceful vaginal intrusion.000. 44 years old. CEB-CR-H.00. It also ordered appellant to pay AAA moral damages in the amount ofP50.00. violence and intimidation.R. In its 31 July 2000 Decision. [5] On arraignment. Negros Occidental. finding herein appellant Nelson Bayot y Satina (appellant) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape. Philippines.This is an appeal from the Decision [1] dated 9 May 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. unshaken by a rigid crossexamination. 98-2025. in Criminal Case No. The RTC negates the sweet heart defense offered by appellant. in the Municipality of XXX. Appellant Nelson Bayot y Satina was charged with Rape Information[4] dated 29 December 1997. Province of XXX. Trial on the merits ensued thereafter.000.000. appellant pleaded NOT GUILTY to the crime charged. 00269 affirming with modification the Decision[2] dated 31 July 2000 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kabankalan City. 1997.

her testimony regarding such matter is a mere conclusion of fact.000. Even the testimony of appellants daughter. Moreover. She could not. if. It likewise awarded moral damages in favor of AAA in the amount of P50.00.[6] Aggrieved. therefore.[8] the case was transferred to the Court of Appeals for intermediate review per Resolution [9] dated 4 October 2004. The Court of Appeals aptly observed that the prosecution was able to prove beyond reasonable doubt that appellant committed the crime of rape against AAA. It bears stressing that despite appellants repeated plea for the dismissal of the case. however. her testimony could not be stripped of bias and partiality considering that she is the daughter of appellant. could not be given any considerable weight. indeed. her testimony that she saw her father and AAA in the act of sexual intercourse deserves scant consideration as she was not present at the time of the commencement of the said act. In the same way.00. AAAs immediate response of reporting the rape incident carries the stamp of truth. Aside from the fact that appellants daughter could not point to any other circumstance supporting her claim. no other evidence was ever presented to substantiate such claim. Mateo. be in a position to state with certainty that there was no struggle on the part of AAA. It further held that other than the self-serving declaration of appellant that he and AAA were sweethearts. who claimed that her father and AAA are maintaining an illicit relationship.[10] . the Court of Appeals affirmed appellants conviction with the modification increasing the award of indemnity from P40.000.000. the latter would not have pursued this case. In a Decision dated 9 May 2006.00 to P50. except for one incident when she allegedly saw her father and AAA holding hands during a dance at their barangay fiesta. AAA remained steadfast in seeking justice for the violation of her womanhood. appellant appealed the aforesaid RTC Decision to this Court by filing a Notice of Appeal dated 6 September 2000. there was such relationship between appellant and AAA.[7] In light. Hence.consequence of his dastardly lust. of this Courts pronouncement in People v.

and as to pecuniary penalties. The Court of Appeals also directed the Chief of the Judicial Records Division to forward the entire records of the case to this Court. extinguished not only his criminal liability for the crime of rape committed against AAA. as amended. which was given due course by the Court of Appeals per Resolution[14] dated 19 January 2007. [17] had laid down the following guidelines: [16] . Bayotas. 89. but also his civil liability solely arising from or based on said crime. liability therefor is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment. the aforesaid Court of Appeals Decision to this Court via a Notice of Appeal[13] dated 31 May 2006. in People v. Taking into consideration appellants death. as well as civil. specifically provides the effect of death of the accused on his criminal. liability. during the pendency of his appeal before the Court of Appeals. the Public Attorneys Office still appealed. Leopando. in a letter dated 29 May 2006. Criminal liability is totally extinguished: 1. Applying the foregoing provision. which was cited in a catena of cases. informed the Court of Appeals that appellant died at the New Bilibid Prison Hospital on 4 December 2004. Attached in his letter is the original copy of appellants Certificate of Death. Appellants death on 4 December 2004.[15] Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code. By death of the convict.[11] Dr. [Emphasis supplied]. this Court. Penal Superintendent IV of the New Bilibid Prison.[12] Nonetheless. Juanito S. It reads thus: Art. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. as to the personal penalties.However. on behalf of appellant. this Court will now determine its effect to this present appeal.

Corollarily. conformably with [the] provisions of Article 1155 of the Civil Code. depending on the source of obligation upon which the same is based as explained above. if the same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than delict. Death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal liability as well as the civil liability based solely thereon. Article 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation from which the civil liability may arise as a result of the same act or omission: a) Law b) Contracts c) Quasi-contracts d) x x x x x x x x x e) Quasi-delicts 3. the claim for civil liability survives notwithstanding the death of [the] accused. in this regard. i. Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended. as explained in Number 2 above. As opined by Justice Regalado. 4.1. Finally. In such case. the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to file this separate civil action by prescription.. civil liability ex delicto in senso strictiore. the statute of limitations on the civil liability is deemed interrupted during the pendency of the criminal case. in cases where during the prosecution of the criminal action and prior to its extinction. an action for recovery therefor may be pursued but only by way of filing a separate civil action and subject to Section 1.e. the private-offended party instituted together therewith the civil action. Where the civil liability survives. This separate civil action may be enforced either against the executor/administrator or the estate of the accused. 2.[18] . that should thereby avoid any apprehension on a possible privation of right by prescription. the death of the accused prior to final judgment terminates his criminal liability and only the civil liability directly arising from and based solely on the offense committed.

From the foregoing. WHEREFORE. therefore. 00269 isSET ASIDE and Criminal Case No.[19] Evidently.R. sentencing him to reclusion perpetua. 98-2025 before the RTC of Kabankalan City. the civil action instituted therein for recovery of civil liability ex delicto is ipso facto extinguished. In the same breath.00 as indemnity and P50. No.C. grounded as it is on the criminal case. is that the criminal action is extinguished inasmuch as there is no longer a defendant to stand as the accused. and ordering him to pay AAA P50. Appellants appeal was still pending and no final judgment had been rendered against him at the time of his death. The rationale.000. the Decision dated 9 May 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Bayotas. the appealed Decision dated 9 May 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. is DISMISSED. following the provisions of Article 89(1) of the Revised Penal Code and this Courts ruling in People v.00 as moral damages had become ineffectual. No. SO ORDERED. it is clear that the death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal liability. whether or not appellant was guilty of the crime charged had become irrelevant because even assuming that appellant did incur criminal liability and civil liability ex delicto. Paniterce. these were totally extinguished by his death. Negros Occidental. Olaco and People v.[20] it is already unnecessary to rule on appellants appeal. 00269 finding appellant guilty of the crime of rape. as well as the civil liability ex delicto. CEB-CRH. Thus. . in view of the death of appellant Nelson Bayot y Satina. CEB-CR-H. as this Court has pronounced in People v.000.C. Costs de oficio.R.

Chairperson.versus - NACHURA. Present: CARPIO.. G. J.PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. and .R. . 186529 Appellee. PERALTA. No. ABAD.

2004 finding appellant Jack Racho y Raquero guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Violation of Section 5. 2008 in CAG. 9165. August 3.A. No.MENDOZA. Promulgated: JACK RACHO y RAQUERO.: On appeal is the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision [1] dated May 22. J. 2010 Appellant. 00425 affirming the Regional Trial Court [2] (RTC) Joint Decision[3] datedJuly 8. JJ.) No. x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION NACHURA.R.C. Article II of Republic Act (R. The case stemmed from the following facts: . CR-H.

appellant called up the agent and informed him that he was on board a Genesis bus and would arrive in Baler. appellant stood near the highway and waited for a tricycle that would bring him to his final destination.[5] The team then brought appellant to the police station for investigation. one for violation of Section 5 of R. Having alighted from the bus.A. anytime of the day wearing a red and white striped T-shirt. At around 3:00 p. Aurora. The field test and laboratory examinations on the contents of the confiscated sachet yielded positive results for methamphetamine hydrochloride. a Genesis bus arrived in Baler.m. Aurora. when opened. Appellant immediately denied the accusation.m. and the second. The confiscated specimen was turned over to Police Inspector Rogelio Sarenas De Vera who marked it with his initials and with appellants name. He also assured them that appellant would arrive in Baler. but as he pulled out his hands from his pants pocket.[4] The agent gave the police appellants name. together with his physical description. of .. [6] Appellant was charged in two separate Informations. at 11:00 a. When appellant alighted from the bus. the confidential agent pointed to him as the person he transacted with earlier. a confidential agent of the police transacted through cellular phone with appellant for the purchase of shabu. the team approached him and invited him to the police station on suspicion of carrying shabu. As appellant was about to board a tricycle. 9165.On May 19. On May 20. 2003. the Intelligence group of the Philippine Army and the local police force to apprehend the appellant. 2003. The team members then posted themselves along the national highway in Baler. a white envelope slipped therefrom which. for transporting or delivering. yielded a small sachet containing the suspected drug. Aurora the following day. The agent later reported the transaction to the police authorities who immediately formed a team composed of member of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). of the same day.

54] grams of shabu without any permit or license from the proper authorities to transport the same. appellant denied liability and claimed that he went to Baler. 2003 in Baler. CONTRARY TO LAW. Aurora and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.01) [or 4. feloniously and willfully have in his possession five point zero one (5. CONTRARY TO LAW.01 [or 4.[8] During the arraignment.54] grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride commonly known as Shabu. Aurora. the said accused.[7] That at about 3:00 oclock (sic) in the afternoon on May 20. appellant pleaded Not Guilty to both charges. Aurora to visit his brother to inform him about their ailing father. the said accused did then and there. did then and there. He maintained that the charges against him were false and that no shabu was . a regulated drug without any permit or license from the proper authorities to possess the same.Section 11 of the same law for possessing. unlawfully. dangerous drugs. At the trial. feloniously and willfully transporting or delivering dangerous drug of 5. 2003 in Baler. the accusatory portions of which read: That at about 3:00 oclock (sic) in the afternoon on May 20. unlawfully.

appellant assails. 9165 and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500.taken from him. Article II. through their van. stripped his clothes and underwear. He likewise avers that the prosecution failed to establish the identity of the confiscated drug because of the teams failure to mark the specimen immediately after seizure. We have reviewed such factual findings when there is a showing that the trial judge overlooked.000. forced him to alight. the RTC rendered a Joint Judgment [10] convicting appellant of Violation of Section 5. He questions the admissibility of the confiscated sachet on the ground that it was the fruit of the poisonous tree.[9] On July 8. In his supplemental brief. or misapplied some fact or circumstance of weight and substance that would have affected the case. the legality of his arrest and the validity of the subsequent warrantless search. the CA affirmed the RTC decision.[13] . The appeal is meritorious. In his brief. for the first time. Article II. 2004. As to the circumstances of his arrest. We have repeatedly held that the trial courts evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is entitled to great respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. he explained that the police officers. the present appeal.[11] Hence.[12] appellant attacks the credibility of the witnesses for the prosecution. On appeal. R. However.A. but acquitted him of the charge of Violation of Section 11. blocked the tricycle he was riding in. R.00. this is not a hard and fast rule. brought him to Sea Breeze Lodge. 9165. misunderstood. then brought him to the police station for investigation.A.

be the basis of his acquittal. It is well-settled that an appeal in a criminal case opens the whole case for review. Appellants warrantless arrest therefore cannot. the validity of the arrest and search and the admissibility of the evidence against appellant were not squarely raised by the latter and thus. in itself. we must abide with jurisprudence which dictates that appellant. Every circumstance in favor of the accused shall be considered. even those not raised on appeal. consequently. coupled with his active participation in the trial of the case.[14] After a thorough review of the records of the case and for reasons that will be discussed below. [15] . This Court is clothed with ample authority to review matters. if we find them necessary in arriving at a just disposition of the case. The legality of the arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over his person. but the sachet of shabu seized from him during the warrantless search is inadmissible in evidence against him. In fact. The records show that appellant never objected to the irregularity of his arrest before his arraignment. is deemed to have waived his right to question the validity of his arrest. having voluntarily submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court. we find that appellant can no longer question the validity of his arrest. This is in keeping with the constitutional mandate that every accused shall be presumed innocent unless his guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt.Appellant focuses his appeal on the validity of his arrest and the search and seizure of the sachet of shabu and. It is noteworthy that although the circumstances of his arrest were briefly discussed by the RTC. were not ruled upon by the trial and appellate courts. the admissibility of the sachet. thus curing whatever defect may have attended his arrest. Considering this lapse. this is the first time that he raises the issue.

and the character of the articles procured. including the purpose of the search or seizure.As to the admissibility of the seized drug in evidence. the presence or absence of probable cause. 6. 2. 4. Customs search.[16] The 1987 Constitution states that must be carried out with a judicial unreasonable and any evidence obtained any purpose in any proceeding.[19] The RTC concluded that appellant was caught in flagrante delicto. 5. however. determinable from the uniqueness of the circumstances involved. the place or thing searched. admits of 1. Search of evidence in plain view. otherwise. declaring that he was caught in the act of actually committing a crime or attempting to . 3. it becomes therefrom shall be inadmissible for proscription. Exigent and emergency circumstances.[18] What constitutes a reasonable or unreasonable warrantless search or seizure is purely a judicial question. namely: a search and consequent seizure warrant. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest. it is necessary for us to ascertain whether or not the search which yielded the alleged contraband was lawful. and 7. the manner in which the search and seizure was made. Consented warrantless search. Stop and Frisk.[17] Said exceptions. Search of a moving vehicle.

a search substantially contemporaneous with an arrest can precede the arrest if the police have probable cause to make the arrest at the outset of the search. it ordinarily signifies a reasonable ground of suspicion supported by circumstances sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant a cautious man to believe that the person accused is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. The agent reported the transaction to the police authorities who immediately formed a team to apprehend the appellant. a white envelope slipped therefrom which. Nevertheless. given the factual milieu of the case. and at around 3:00 p. when opened. When appellant alighted from the bus. 2003. Aurora. [21] Thus. the team approached him and invited him to the police station as he was suspected of carrying shabu. Although probable cause eludes exact and concrete definition.m.[20] Consequently. Aurora bringing with him a sachet of shabu.[22] The determination of the existence or absence of probable cause necessitates a reexamination of the established facts. the arrest must precede the search. the warrantless search was considered valid as it was deemed an incident to the lawful arrest. When he pulled out his hands from his pants pocket. On May 19. at 11:00 a. The team members posted themselves along the national highway in Baler.. we have to determine whether the police officers had probable cause to arrest appellant. appellant called up the agent with the information that he was on board a Genesis bus and would arrive in Baler. a Genesis bus arrived in Baler.m. of the same day.commit a crime in the presence of the apprehending officers as he arrived in Baler. Aurora anytime of the day wearing a red and white striped T-shirt. the process cannot be reversed. generally. On May 20. the confidential agent pointed to him as the person he transacted with. [23] The team . yielded a small sachet containing the suspected drug. a confidential agent of the police transacted through cellular phone with appellant for the purchase of shabu. and when the latter was about to board a tricycle. 2003. Recent jurisprudence holds that in searches incident to a lawful arrest.

who was then carrying a traveling bag. was the tip given by the informant that appellant would arrive in Baler. Tudtud. Thereafter. The field test and laboratory examinations on the contents of the confiscated sachet yielded positive results for methamphetamine hydrochloride. is sufficient probable cause to effect a valid warrantless arrest. the police assembled a team and deployed themselves near the Philippine National Bank (PNB) in Olongapo City. Acting on said tip. or is attempting to commit an offense. The informant then pointed to the team members the woman. by itself. even without a warrant. a Victory Liner Bus stopped in front of the PNB building where two females and a man got off.[25] People v. [26] The instant case is similar to People v. what prompted the police to apprehend appellant.[27] In People v. The long standing rule in this jurisdiction is that reliable information alone is not sufficient to justify a warrantless arrest. Aruta. is actually committing. and People v. Aurora carrying shabu. that the accused perform some overt act that would indicate that he has committed.This circumstance gives rise to another question: whether that information.[24] We find no cogent reason to depart from this well-established doctrine. Nuevas. The rule requires.then brought appellant to the police station for investigation and the confiscated specimen was marked in the presence of appellant. in addition. a police officer was tipped off by his informant that a certain Aling Rosa would be arriving from Baguio City the following day with a large volume of marijuana. While thus positioned. When asked about the contents of her bag. the team approached her and introduced themselves. she handed it to the . Aruta. Aling Rosa. Clearly.

that same day. the bag was found to contain dried marijuana leaves.apprehending officers. For five days. carrying a plastic bag.[28] The facts in People v. Upon inspection. received a report from a civilian asset that the neighbors of a certain Noel Tudtud (Tudtud) were complaining that the latter was responsible for the proliferation of marijuana in the area. Upon inspection. In his bid to escape charges. Nuevas. with a tattoo mark on the upper right hand. 25 to 30 years old. Upon inspection of the plastic bag carried by the accused. and usually wearing a sando and maong pants. the accused disclosed where two other male persons would make a delivery of marijuana leaves. they saw the accused who fit the description. the contents of the bag turned out to be marijuana leaves. While conducting stationary surveillance and monitoring of illegal drug trafficking. 1999. The police accosted the accused and informed him that they were police officers.[30] .m. The police officers approached the suspects and asked if they could see the contents of the box which yielded marijuana leaves. then inspected the bag they were carrying. 1999. the bag contained marijuana dried leaves and bricks wrapped in a blue cloth. the police approached them.[29] In People v. a team of police officers posted themselves to await Tudtuds arrival. they gathered information and learned that Tudtud was involved in illegal drugs. the Intelligence Section conducted surveillance.. the Toril Police Station. Reacting to the report. introduced themselves as police officers. would make a delivery of marijuana leaves. At around 4:00 p. Tudtud show that in July and August. later identified as Reynaldo Din and Fernando Inocencio. At 8:00 p. Davao City. the police officers received information that a certain male person.m. the civilian asset informed the police that Tudtud had headed to Cotabato and would be back later that day with a new stock of marijuana. On August 1. more or less 54 in height. two men disembarked from a bus and helped each other carry a carton. Upon seeing the two male persons.

Valdez. we refused to validate the warrantless search precisely because there was no adequate probable cause. We required the showing of some overt act indicative of the criminal design. was actually committing. Gonzales. they were covered by the other exceptions to the rule against warrantless searches. Bagista.[33] People v. the Court sustained the validity of the warrantless searches notwithstanding the absence of overt acts or suspicious circumstances that would indicate that the accused had committed. 2003. except in Valdez and Gonzales. Lising. Neither did the arresting officers have personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested had committed.[31] People v. and consequently. Tudtud. As testified to by Police Officer 1 Aurelio Iniwan. But as aptly observed by the Court. appellant herein was not committing a crime in the presence of the police officers.[38] Neither were the arresting officers impelled by any urgency that would allow them to do away with the requisite warrant. Appellant was not acting in any suspicious manner that would engender a reasonable ground for the police officers to suspect and conclude that he was committing or intending to commit a crime. [34] People v. these include People v.[36] and People v. a member of the arresting team. At the time of the arrest.. As in the above cases. Were it not for the information given by the informant. Maspil. As cited in People v.[32] People v. Jr. was committing. the sachet of shabu would not have been confiscated.[37] In these cases. appellant would not have been apprehended and no search would have been made. Balingan. . or about to commit an offense. appellant had just alighted from the Gemini bus and was waiting for a tricycle. or attempting to commit a crime. They likewise learned from the informant not only the appellants physical description but also his name. their office received the tipped information on May 19. We are not unaware of another set of jurisprudence that deems reliable information sufficient to justify a search incident to a lawful warrantless arrest.In all of these cases.[35] People v. Montilla.

Although it was not certain that appellant would arrive on the same day (May 19). Section 3(2) of the 1987 Constitution. A waiver of an illegal. As earlier mentioned. Nuevas. warrantless arrest does not carry with it a waiver of the inadmissibility of evidence seized during an illegal warrantless arrest. Clearly. Some lawmen. there was an assurance that he would be there the following day (May 20). we in the administration of justice would have no right to expect ordinary people to be law-abiding if we do not insist on the full protection of their rights. an acquittal is warranted. Ironically. Thus. the confiscated item is inadmissible in evidence consonant with Article III. the police had ample opportunity to apply for a warrant.[41] x x x In the final analysis. despite the waiver of appellant of his right to question the illegality of his arrest by entering a plea and his active participation in the trial of the case. appellants conviction cannot be sustained based on the remaining evidence. prosecutors and judges may still tend to gloss over an illegal search and seizure as long as the law enforcers show the alleged evidence of the crime regardless of the methods by which they were obtained. Without the confiscated shabu. As clearly stated in People v.[39] Obviously. the legality of an arrest affects only the jurisdiction of the court over the person of the accused.[40] One final note. and the eventual denigration of society. While this Court appreciates and encourages the efforts of law enforcers to uphold the law . this is an instance of seizure of the fruit of the poisonous tree. it only fosters the more rapid breakdown of our system of justice. This kind of attitude condones lawbreaking in the name of law enforcement. any evidence obtained in violation of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. hence.

and to preserve the peace and security of society. premises considered. SO ORDERED. we nevertheless admonish them to act with deliberate care and within the parameters set by the Constitution and the law. the end never justifies the means. and to inform the Court of the date of his release.[42] WHEREFORE. CR-H. the Court of Appeals Decision dated May 22. within ten (10) days from notice. . 00425 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. No costs. or the reasons for his confinement. 2008 in CA-G. unless the latter is being lawfully held for another cause. No. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is directed to cause the immediate release of appellant.R. Truly.C. Appellant Jack Raquero Racho is ACQUITTED for insufficiency of evidence.

No. BRION. G. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. . DEL CASTILLO.R. J. 30061 that affirmed the February 8. 183656 Present: - versus - QUISUMBING.: We review in this petition for review on certiorari the decision[1] and resolution[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. 2006 decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). CR No. J.A. 2009 x ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION BRION.. Branch 64. CARPIO-MORALES.GILBERT ZALAMEDA.R.[3] This RTC decision found petitioner Gilbert Zalameda (petitioner) guilty of violating Section 11[4]of Republic Act (R. Petitioner. and ABAD. September 4. Makati City.Chairperson.) No. JJ. Promulgated: Respondent.

No. the above-named accused.A. Philippines. to two (2) years and seven (7) months. as maximum. 2003. unlawfully and feloniously have in their possession two (2) aluminum foil strips and three (3) unsealed transparent sachets with traces of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride. No.A. The prosecution charged the petitioner before the RTC with violation of Section 11. in the City of Makati. to fourteen (14) years. The trial court likewise found the petitioner and his co-accused Albert Villaflor (Villaflor) guilty of violating Section 12[5] of R. unlawfully and feloniously possess one (1) heat sealed transparent plastic sachet containing zero point zero three (0. not being lawfully authorized to carry dangerous paraphernalia. did then and there willfully. three (3) other pieces of aluminum foils strips. Article II of R. the above-named accused.9165 (The Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002). The Information for this charge reads: Criminal Case No. 9165. as minimum. 03-3560 That on or about the 14th day of September 2003. as minimum. in the City of Makati. 03-3559 That on or about the 14th day of September. 9165 under the following Information: Criminal Case No. conspiring. 9165. and sentenced them to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for four (4) months and one (1) day. not being lawfully authorized to possess any dangerous drug and without the corresponding license or prescription. No.[6] The petitioner and Villaflor were likewise charged before the same court with violation of Section 12.A. Philippines and a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. and sentenced him to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for twelve (12) years and one (1) day.03) gram of Methylampethamine Hydrochloride (shabu). and a place within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. confederating and mutually helping and aiding one another. Article II of R. as maximum. one (1) stainless scissor and one (1) disposable lighter which are . which is a dangerous drug. did then and there willfully. CONTRARY TO LAW.

the prosecution and the defense stipulated on the following: PRE-TRIAL ORDER xxx 1. That the PNP Crime Laboratory through Police Inspector Karen Palacios conducted an examination on the specimen submitted. and 6. That after the investigation of PO1 Alex Inopia. That these cases were investigated by PO1 Alex Inopia. The qualification of the Forensic Chemist. 3. That the Drug Enforcement Unit through SPO4 Arsenio Mangulabnan made a Request for Laboratory Examination. CONTRARY TO LAW.[7] The petitioner and Villaflor pleaded not guilty to the charges. apparatuses or paraphernalia fit or intended for ingesting or introducing any dangerous drug into the body. 4. The prosecution marked the following exhibits: A Final Investigation Report A-1 Signature of PO1 Alex Inopia A-2 Signature of SPO4 Arsenio Mangulabnan B Request for Laboratory Examination B-1 Signature of SPO4 Arsenio Mangulabnan C Duplicate Copy of Physical Science Report C-1 Signature of Karen Palacios .instruments. he prepared the Final Investigation Report. 5. That Physical Science Report was issued by PNP Crime Laboratory Office detailing the findings of the Forensic Chemist. [8] During pretrial. 2.

. Makati City.[16] PO2 De Guzman gave a thumbs-up sign to his companions who joined him in immediately rushing inside the house. based on the records. Gomez St. [12] They reached their intended destination at 5:25 a. received a phone call from a concerned citizen regarding an on-going pot session at 2725 D. Gomez St. With the stipulation entered into by the prosecution and the defense. Richard Allan B. Mangalip D-3 Signature of Juanita A. SPO4 Orbeta dispatched PO2 Faustino De Guia (PO2 De Guia). which he threw away. Gomez St. [13] PO2 De Guzman peeped inside and saw the petitioner and Villaflor sniffing smoke [14] may sinisinghot sila na usok[15] while sitting on a bed. PO2 Renato De Guzman. The defense did not mark any exhibit but reserved the right to present and mark them in the course of the trial. Ramos The prosecution reserved its right to present and mark additional exhibits in the course of the trial. the desk officer of Precinct 1. the testimony of Forensic Chemist Karen S. Pre-trial is terminated. Barangay Tejeros to verify the report. Makati City. Acting on this information. Palacios is dispensed with. They were in uniform. are summarized below. At around 5:15 a. PO2 Gonzalo Acnam.[10] The house number was [11] specified. and one Major Ancheta to D.D Original Copy of Physical Science Report D-1 Signature of Karen Palacios D-2 Signature of Engr. 2003..[9] Joint trial on the merits followed.[17] The petitioner initially showed resistance when the police introduced themselves . They found the door of the house slightly open. SPO4 Mignelito Orbeta (SPO4 Orbeta). (PO2 De Guzman). Barangay Tejeros. Villaflor was holding a tooter at that point.m. The essential facts. PO1 Donie Tidang (PO1 Tidang). which they found to be a house three by six (3 x 6) meters located along D. of September 14.m.

[18] They frisked the petitioner and Villafor in accordance with police procedure.m. At the police station. a disposable lighter. conducted an examination on the specimens submitted. and turned them and the suspects to SPO4 Arsenio Mangulabnan (SPO4 Mangulabnan). but the petitioner and Villaflor answered that they did not have this amount.[34] He did not anymore accompany Villaflor to his mothers house because her mother was already asleep.00 in his pocket. of September 13. and then handcuffed them. pang-areglo). The police initially demandedP20.[35] He declared that he did not . he testified that Villaflor was a friend of his sister.00. Palacios (Police Inspector Palacios). Gomez Street. the seized items were brought to the PNP Crime Laboratory for analysis and examination. informed them of their rights and their violation of R. and brought them to the police station. and that the latter requested Villaflor to borrow money from their (his sisters and his) mother. the police brought them to Precinct 1 where they were detained.[32] On cross examination. Julie. three (3) plastic sachets containing traces of white crystalline substance. PO1 Tidang then conducted a search on the room.as law enforcers.[28] The door at that time was closed but not locked. whose house was located in a nearby street.[30] Afterwards. 2003 when four men in civilian clothes barged into his house on D. 9165.e. No. the police asked them whether they had money to give in exchange for their liberty (i.[27] [23] The petitioner presented a different version of the events and narrated that he and Villaflor were talking at around 11:47 p. and an improvised tooter. Forensic Chemical Officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory.[22] At the police station. [25]and found them to be positive for the presence of shabu. a pair of scissors. [20] The police likewise found on top of the bed aluminum foils (later confirmed to have traces of shabu).[31] The petitioner likewise denied that he and Villaflor were using drugs when the police entered his house. [29]PO2 De Guzman frisked him and found P100. PO2 De Guzman marked the confiscated items. The latter prepared a request for laboratory examination. [24] immediately after. These men ordered them to stand. a bag with a plastic zipper.[19] and recovered from the petitioners right pocket a rectangular plastic sachet containing white crystalline substances.[26] Urine tests conducted on the petitioner and Villaflor also yielded a positive result.000. Police Inspector Karen S. [33] The money was for the baptism of Julies daughter scheduled for the next day.A.[21] The police handcuffed the petitioner and Villaflor.

00 from him in exchange for his liberty. 2008.000. Article II. convicted the petitioner and Villaflor of the crimes charged. In Criminal Case No. 03-3560. [36] He also added that PO2 De Guzman demanded P20. 03-3559. in its decision of February 8. and to pay a fine of P10. 2. and sentenced them. The dangerous drug subject matter of Criminal Case No. the accused GILBERT ZALAMEDA y SUMILE is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of Section 11.A. R.R. ONE (1) DAY as minimum to FOURTEEN (14) YEARS as maximum pursuant to the Indeterminate Sentence Law. but the CA denied his motion in its resolution of July 15. The RTC. 2006. the accused GILBERT ZALAMEDA y SUMILE and accused ALBERT VILLAFLOR y HUERTE are found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of violation of Section 12. 30061.[39] .00. SEVEN (7) MONTHS. 03-3559 consisting of 0. R. No. the period during which the accused were held under detention shall be considered in their favor pursuant to existing rules.personally know the persons who arrested them prior to their arrest.A. SO ORDERED. to TWO (2) YEARS. 2008. R. The CA affirmed the RTC decision in its decision of March 18. 9165 and is sentenced to suffer the indeterminate imprisonment of TWELVE (12) YEARS. as amended. 03-3560 are hereby transmitted to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for its appropriate disposition.[38] The petitioner moved to reconsider this decision.A. Article II.03 gram of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu and the pieces of drug paraphernalia recovered from the accused and subject of Criminal Case No.00. as follows: [37] 1.000. 9165 and are sentenced to suffer the indeterminate sentence of FOUR (4) MONTHS and ONE (1) DAY as minimum. as maximum. No. The petitioner appealed to the CA and this appeal was docketed as CAG. CR No. and to pay a fine of P300. 4103. No.00. In Criminal Case No. In both cases.

No.A. [42] The OSG further argues that the prosecution was able to show all the elements of the crimes charged. the search made incidental to the arrest of the two accused was also lawful. and (3) the free and conscious possession of the drug by the accused. The records of the case records support the conclusion that a lawful arrest. 9165 carries the following elements: (1) possession by the accused of an item or object identified to be a prohibited drug.[46] The prosecution duly established the elements of the crimes charged Illegal possession of dangerous drugs under Section 11 of R. 9165 and its Implementing Rules. the OSG contends that the petitioners bare denial constitutes self-serving negative evidence which cannot prevail over the categorical and positive testimony of the prosecution witnesses. (2) the possession is not authorized by law. [41] In addition.[47] On the other hand. No. instrument. Since the arrest was lawful. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters with the argument that the testimonies of PO2 De Guzman and PO2 De Guia were straightforward and consistent on material points. and that the prosecution failed to prove the existence of the illegal drug. .In the present petition. the warrantless arrest conducted by the police was valid as the petitioner and Villaflor were caught sniffing shabu.[45] We DENY the petition for lack of merit. search and seizure took place.[44] Finally. apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs under Section 12 are: (1) possession or control by the accused of any equipment. For the State. and that the prosecution fully discharged its burden of establishing all the elements necessary for conviction for the crimes charged beyond reasonable doubt.[40] petitioner alleges that the items confiscated from him were inadmissible. apparatus or other paraphernalia fit or intended for smoking. the elements of illegal possession of equipment.[43] The police also complied with the procedure in the custody and disposition of seized drugs under Section 21 of R.A.

D-1142-03S of Police Inspector Palacios. the petitioner failed to produce convincing proof that the prosecution witnesses had any malicious or ulterior motive when they testified. Thus. No. The defense did not contest the admissibility of the seized items as evidence during trial. or introducing any dangerous drug into the body. 9165. the petitioner knowingly possessed shabu a prohibited drug and had under his control various drug paraphernalia without legal authority to do so. in his testimony of January 28.[51] PO2 De Guzman testified in a spontaneous.A. Significantly. until they returned to the police station and marked the confiscated items. Gomez Street.consuming. [48] how he saw the petitioner and Villaflor in the act of sniffing smoke. ingesting. the plastic sachet recovered from the petitioner was examined and found to contain 0. to the time the police went there and arrested the petitioner and Villaflor. proving all the elements of the crimes charged. administering. and as the same person from whose right pocket he recovered a rectangular plastic sachet containing white crystalline substances. [49] and how they arrested and searched the petitioner and seized evidence they discovered in plain view. PO2 De Guzmans testimony also presented a complete picture of the police operation from the time the desk officer received a tip regarding an ongoing pot session at the petitioners house on D. all in violation of Sections 11 and 12 of R. The two aluminum foil strips and three unsealed transparent plastic sachets recovered on top of the petitioners bed also tested positive for the presence of shabu. Per Report No. or that the evidence submitted by the prosecution had been tampered with.[50] PO2 De Guzman duly and positively identified the petitioner as the person he saw sniffing shabu with Villaflor. he never wavered despite the grueling cross-examination by the defense counsel. injecting. He also narrated how the police inadvertently found various drug apparatus and paraphernalia scattered on top of the petitioners bed. and (2) such possession is not authorized by law. . narrated the circumstances that led them to go to the house of the petitioner. a prohibited drug. PO2 De Guzman. The evidence for the prosecution showed the presence of all these elements. straightforward and categorical manner.03 gram of methylamphetamine hydrochloride. PO2 De Guia corroborated PO2 De Guzmans testimony on all material points. 2004.

This argument totally lacks merit. or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. Arrest without warrant. when lawful. Paragraph (a) of Section 5 is commonly known as an in flagrante delicto arrest. the person to be arrested has committed. 5. Rule 113 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure lists the situations when a person may be arrested without a warrant. The Legality of the Petitioners Arrest The petitioner alleges that since the warrantless arrest conducted by the police was illegal. and c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending. otherwise the objection is deemed waived. b) When an offense has just been committed.A peace officer or a private person may. Any objection involving the arrest or the procedure in the courts acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of an accused must be made before he enters his plea. We stress at the outset that the petitioner failed to question the legality of his warrantless arrest. we carefully examined the records and now hold that the warrantless arrest conducted on the petitioner was valid. and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it. or is attempting to commit an offense.[52] In any event. For a warrantless arrest of an accused caught in flagrante . The established rule is that an accused may be estopped from assailing the legality of his arrest if he failed to move for the quashing of the Information against him before his arraignment. thus: Sec. without a warrant. in his presence. Section 5. arrest a person: a) When. the items seized from him as a result of said arrest were inadmissible.The Petitioners Defenses a. . is actually committing.

In the course of the arrest and in accordance with police procedures.[53] After carefully evaluating the evidence in its totality. is actually committing.e. two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed. aside from seeing Villaflor throw away a tooter. Gomez Street. together with Villaflor. In this regard. we hold that the prosecution successfully established that the petitioner was arrested in flagrante delicto.delicto to be valid. At the place.m.). There was therefore sufficient probable cause for the police officers to believe that the petitioner and Villaflor were then and there committing a crime. When an accused is caught inflagrante delicto.. the police did not have enough time to secure a search warrant considering the time element involved in the process (i. As it turned out. Gomez Street to verify the report. Section 13. In view of the urgency. a pot session may not be for an extended period of time and it was then 5:15 a. or is attempting to commit a crime. Rule 126 of the Rules of Court states: Section 13. and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. Search Incident to Lawful Arrest. or sumisinghot ng shabu as PO2 De Guia put it. A person lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons or . contrary to law. was even using a prohibited drug and likewise illegally possessed drug paraphernalia. SPO4 Orbeta immediately dispatched his men to proceed to the identified place 2725 D. Under the circumstances. which search yielded the prohibited drug in the petitioners possession. the police officers are not only authorized but are duty-bound to arrest him even without a warrant. the petitioner indeed possessed a prohibited drug and. also saw various drug paraphernalia scattered on top of the petitioners bed. the responding police officers verified from a slightly opened door and saw the petitioner and Villaflor sniffing smoke to use the words of PO2 De Guzman. We emphasize that the series of events that led the police to the petitioners house and to his arrest were triggered by a tip from a concerned citizen that a pot session was in progress at the petitioners house located on D. These circumstances were sufficient to justify the warrantless search and seizure that yielded one (1) heat-sealed plastic sachet of shabu. the petitioner and Villaflor were frisked. The police.

a prior surveillance is not necessary where the police operatives are pressed for time to capture a suspected offender. as in this case. The petitioner also harps on the fact that the police did not conduct a prior surveillance to verify the tipped information. We have held that when time is of the essence. Thus. Denial and Extortion The petitioner denied that he and Villaflor were caught sniffing shabu. and maintained that they were just talking to each other when the police . the police may dispense with the need for prior surveillance. and (c) it is immediately apparent to the officer that the item he observes may be evidence of a crime. (b) the discovery of the evidence in plain view is inadvertent. We emphasize that the tip has reference to an ongoing pot session an activity that does not usually last for an extended period. As these items were plainly visible. the absence of a surveillance did not undermine the validity of the petitioners arrest. the police officers were justified in seizing them. The search of the petitioner incident to his arrest yielded the confiscated crystalline substance which later proved to be shabu. The police officers had prior justification to be at the petitioners place as they were dispatched by their desk officer.[54] All the foregoing requirements for a lawful search and seizure are present in this case. objects falling in the plain view" of an officer who has a right to be in the position to have that view are subject to seizure and may be presented as evidence. they inadvertently saw the various drug paraphernalia scattered on the bed.anything which may have been used or constitute proof in the commission of an offense without a search warrant. This doctrine applies when the following requisites concur: (a) the law enforcement officer in search of the evidence has a prior justification for an intrusion or is in a position from which he can view a particular area. In the course of their lawful intrusion. contraband or otherwise subject to seizure. The seizure of the various drug paraphernalia is likewise beyond question. [55] Simply stated. they arrested the petitioner and Villaflor as they had reason to believe that they were illegally using and possessing a prohibited drug and drug paraphernalia. Under the plain view doctrine. b.

Milagros was expecting Villaflor that night. 2004. The latin maxim falsus in unus. providing thereby positive evidence on the various aspects of the crime committed. The petitioner. who lives in a nearby street. The money was for the baptism of Julies daughter. falsus in omnibus[60] best explains our reason. Villaflor was in his house because he (Villafor) had been requested by Julie (the petitioners own sister) to borrow money from their mother.arrived at his house at 11:47 p. we find the petitioners story unworthy of belief. The questionable status of this basic component of the denial. these witnesses testified in a straightforward and categorical manner regarding the identities of the malefactors. 2003. to our mind. 2003 and not on September 14. Villaflor was asked by Julie to borrow from Milagros money to be used in a baptism to be held on the following day. Courts generally view the defense of denial with disfavor due to the facility with which an accused can concoct it to suit his or her defense. No reason exists in the records explaining why Villaflor would proceed to the petitioners house and stay there.m. renders the whole denial itself questionable. by the petitioners own admission. 2003. in fact. As evidence that is both negative and self-serving. this defense cannot attain more credibility than the testimonies of prosecution witnesses who testify clearly. One such positive evidence is the result of the laboratory examination conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory on the various drug and . As we stated earlier. Milagros. given the urgency of his task and given that. We find the petitioners claim that he was arrested and detained in the evening of September 13. 2003 because it was already late and Milagros was already asleep.[59] The justification that the petitioner offered for Villaflors presence at his place. 2003 to be self-serving and uncorroborated by any separate competent evidence.[57] He maintained that he and Villaflor were arrested and detained on September 13. According to the petitioner. scheduled for the next day. They did not waver despite the defense counsels rigid questioning. The petitioners denial must likewise fail in light of the positive identification and declarations made by the prosecution witnesses.[58] As the lower courts did. Allegedly. in the absence of any corroborating evidence. is likewise questionable.[56] The petitioner maintained that he did not bring Villaflor to Milagros house as soon as he (Villaflor) arrived in the evening of September 13. admitted that he has no proof of such detention in his testimony of March 31. of September 13.

We do not find this argument convincing. and (c) three unsealed transparent plastic sachets all with markings RSG each containing white crystalline substance.drug paraphernalia recovered from the petitioner and Villaflor which revealed that the following confiscated items tested positive for the presence of shabu: (a) one heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet with marking GSZ containing 0. thepetitioner was unable to support his allegation of extortion with any other evidence. hence negating any improper motive on the part of the police. the drug tests conducted on the petitioner and Villaflor both yielded positive results. each containing white crystalline substance. informants are usually not presented in court because of the need to hide their identities and preserve their invaluable service to the police. Boco:[64] . we held in People v. The petitioner also admitted that he did not know the policemen previous to the arrest. as well as the findings of the trial court on the credibility of prosecution witnesses.03 gram of white crystalline substance.[61] In the present case. c. for it can be easily concocted. It is also worth noting that the petitioner has not filed a single complaint against the police officers who allegedly attempted to extort money from him. An allegation of frame-up and extortion by police officers is a common and standard defense in most dangerous drug cases. The settled rule is that the presentation of an informant in an illegal drugs case is not essential for conviction nor is it indispensable for a successful prosecution because his testimony would be merely corroborative and cumulative. Petitioners claim of extortion is similarly untenable.[63] Thus. (b) two aluminum foil strips both with markings AHV. Non-presentation of the Informant The petitioner argues that the informant was never presented in court to corroborate the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. Such lack of dubious motive coupled with the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty. should prevail over the petitioners self-serving and uncorroborated extortion claim.[62] Moreover. It is viewed by this Court with disfavor. the evidence must be clear and convincing. To substantiate such a defense. In addition.

We disagree.Under the circumstances. With the testimonies of the arresting officers. are often not called to testify in court so as not to reveal their identities publicly. and I-2). they would be. they could no longer be used again and. after all. After the seizure of the rectangular plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance from the petitioners possession and of the various drug paraphernalia on top of the petitioners bed. J). Intelligence agents. the chain of custody of the seized prohibited drug was shown not to have been broken. nor are they indispensable to a successful prosecution. I. The Integrity and Evidentiary Value of the Examined and Presented Seized Items The petitioner alleges that the prosecution failed to establish the evidences chain of custody because the police operatives failed to strictly comply with Section 21(1) of R. The prevailing doctrine is that their testimonies are not essential for conviction. The plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance was marked GSZ[66] (Exh. the improvised tooter aluminum foil strips and aluminum foil with traces of methylamphetamine hydrochloride were marked AHV[67] (Exh. 9165. He adds that the police did not immediately mark. due to the nature of their work.[65] Contrary to what the petitioner wants to portray. No. d. PO2 De Guzman himself brought these items to the police station and marked them. 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.A. F). particularly that of the confidential informant. . merely corroborative and cumulative. together with the seized items. Once known. may be the object of revenge by the criminals they implicate. the three pieces of unsealed transparent plastic sachet were marked RSG[68] (Exh. G and H). worse. photograph and inventory the drugs and drug paraphernalia at the place where they were seized. the police immediately brought the petitioner and Villaflor to the police station. the disposable lighter was marked RSG (Exh. we do not find any necessity for additional corroborating testimony. the stainless pair of scissors was marked RSG (Exh. I-1. K).

Southern Police District for examination to determine the presence of dangerous drugs. who in turn. I-1. a sachet. Witness. which you said was recovered from accused Zalameda? A: This is the plastic sachet that I have recovered from the possession of accused Zalameda. sir. Will you please go over the same and tell us what relation does this have to the sachet containing white crystalline substance. Q: I am showing to you. Q: If that sachet containing white crystalline substance will be shown to you. L). I.the transparent plastic sachet containing three aluminum foil strips was marked RSG (Exh. After a qualitative examination conducted on the specimens. Forensic Chemist Palacios concluded that Exhibits F. PO2 De Guzman positively identified them to be the same items he seized from the petitioner and which he later marked at the police station. M). forwarded them to the PNP Crime Laboratory. [69] When the prosecution presented these marked specimens in court. These confiscated items were immediately turned over to SPO4 Mangulabnan. you mentioned earlier that when you frisked accused Zalameda. which you recovered from accused Zalameda? . from where the seized items were turned over to the laboratory for examination based on a duly prepared request. H. and I-2 tested positive for the presence of methylamphetamine hydrochloride. will you be able to identify the same? A: Yes. G. Witness. Mr.[70] We quote the pertinent portions of the records: xxx PROSECUTOR ALEX BAGAOISAN: Q: Now Mr. sir. sir. Q: Why are you certain that this is the same sachet containing white crystalline substance. and the Monsieur bag was marked RSG (Exh. you were able to recover from his possession a sachet containing white crystalline substance? PO2 RENATO DE GUZMAN: A: Yes. which contains white crystalline substance.

Q: I have here several pieces of evidence. Your Honor. Q: Could you tell us what does this marking GSZ stand for? A: Gilbert Sumile Zalameda. you mentioned also that you were able to recover drug paraphernalia from the bed. Your Honor. that this white crystalline substance contained in a plastic sachet with markings GSZ be marked as Exhibit F. sir. Q: Where did you place this marking? A: Inside the headquarters. sir. Q: What is the markings that you placed? A: AHV. Q: What does AHV stand for? A: Albert Huerte Villaflor. Will you please step down and identify the improvised tooter aluminum foil you have mentioned? A: This one.A: I put markings. Q: And why are you certain that this is the same improvised tooter aluminum foil that you recovered from the accused? A: I placed markings sir. A: Yes. Q: May I request. sir. sir. Q: What markings? A: I placed GSZ. sir. sir. sir. . Q: You mentioned of an improvised tooter aluminum foil? A: Yes. Now. sir.

you also mentioned of one aluminum foil. sir. sir. Q: What markings did you place in this particular object evidence? A: AHV. Your Honor. could you identify that particular object evidence that you have mentioned? A: Yes. You mentioned of three pieces plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance. Will you please identify the disposable lighter that you have mentioned? A: Yes. Your Honor. sir. Your Honor that this improvised tooter aluminum foil identified by the witnesses be marked as exhibit G with markings AHV. you also mentioned of disposable lighter. . These are the plastic sachets. Now could you point to us these sachets that you have mentioned? A: Yes. Now. sir. Q: May I request. sir.Q: May I request. sir. Q: And why are you certain that these are the same sachets which you said contained traces of shabu? A: I placed the markings. this is the one. Q: And why are you certain that this is the same aluminum foil. Now. this is the one. that this aluminum foil identified by the witness with markings AHV be marked as exhibit H. RSG. and I-2. Q: What markings did you place? A: My initial. Q: May I request. I-1. that these three pieces of plastic sachets containing traces of shabu be marked as exhibit I. which was made as a tray. sir. which was used as a tray? A: I also placed markings.

Q: How about accused Albert Villaflor? A: We also brought him to the headquarter[s]. Q: What did you do at the precinct? . Your Honor. sir. sir. sir. Now. A: Yes. that these three rolled aluminum foils with markings RS be marked as Exhibit L. what other object evidence did you find on the bed? A: I also found three rolled aluminum foil. Your Honor. Q: We request. Will you please identify that bag? A: Here. sir. Q: Will you be able to identify those three aluminum foils that you have mentioned? A: Yes. sir. sir. Aside from these object evidence. A: Here. Q: You also mentioned a bag. which we request to be marked as Exhibit K.Q: May I request. Q: The witness identified stainless scissors. Q: May I request. could you identify the scissors that you have recovered? A: Yes. sir. Your Honor. that the bag identified by the witness be marked as Exhibit M. that the disposable lighter identified by the witness with markings RSG be marked as Exhibit J. How about the scissors. there is a marking AHV? [sic] A: For identification. This is the one. why are the markings different. there is the marking RSG. Q: Please point them out to us. Now. you also mentioned that you brought Zalameda to the headquarters.

Q: What do you mean positive? A: Positive. Q: How about the accused. sir. x x x[71] [Emphasis ours] Thus. . sir. The integrity and the evidentiary value of the drug seized from the petitioner were therefore duly proven not to have been compromised. as earlier stated. what did you do with them after the investigation? A: The investigator also made a request for drug examination addressed to the Crime Laboratory. sir. the prosecution established the crucial link in the chain of custody of the seized items from the time they were first discovered until they were brought for examination. methylamphetamine hydrochloride Q: How about the drug test? A: The accused also gave positive result. test Q: And did you come to know what was the result of the examination conducted? A: Yes. for or shabu. for laboratory examination of the confiscated evidence. the petitioner did not contest the admissibility of the seized items during trial. Q: And what was the result? A: The result is positive. sir.A: Our desk officer prepared the necessary paper to turn over the two suspects to the investigator. Q: So. Besides. sir. did you come to know what happened after that? A: The investigator prepared a request addressed to the crime lab.

are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated. show that the evidence seized were the same evidence tested and subsequently identified and testified to in court.A. Jurisprudence teems with pronouncements that failure to strictly comply with Section 21(1). The petitioner never raised in issue before the trial court the non-presentation of Police Inspector Palacios.[72] It must also be stressed that Police Inspector Palacios is a public officer. and her report carries the presumption of regularity. No. conclusive in the absence of evidence proving the contrary. H. Under Section 3 of Rule 128 of the Rules of Court. In People v. Section 44. or by a person in the performance of a duty specifically enjoined by law.We also reject the petitioners claim that the non-presentation of the forensic chemist was fatal to the prosecutions case. In fact. and I-2 were found positive for the presence of shabu are. 9165 [74] does not necessarily render an accuseds arrest illegal or the items seized or confiscated from him inadmissible. If there is no such law or rule. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items. For evidence to be inadmissible. therefore. Del Monte. [75] In the present case. We refer particularly to the succession of events established by evidence. as these would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. under a situation where no objection to admissibility was ever raised by the defense. Besides. the evidence must be admitted subject only to the evidentiary weight that will accorded it by the courts. thus showing that the integrity of the seized evidence was not compromised. the defense during the pre-trial agreed to dispense with her testimony.[76] we explained: We would like to add that non-compliance with Section 21 of said law. All these. evidence is admissible when it is relevant to the issue and is not excluded by the law or these rules. we see substantial compliance by the police with the required procedure on the custody and control of the confiscated items. x x x . I.[73] Police Inspector Palacios findings that Exhibits F. Article II of R. Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer of the Philippines. to the unprejudiced mind. I-1. to the overall handling of the seized items by specified individuals. particularly the making of the inventory and the photographing of the drugs confiscated and/or seized. will not render the drugs inadmissible in evidence. there should be a law or rule which forbids its reception. to the test results obtained. G.

Article II of R. The illegal possession of dangerous drugs is punished under Section 11. as minimum.000.00) to Four hundred thousand pesos (P400. 03-3559. consuming.A.00) shall be imposed upon any person. is not of admissibility.00) to Fifty thousand pesos (P50. No.We do not find any provision or statement in said law or in any rule that will bring about the non-admissibility of the confiscated and/or seized drugs due to non-compliance with Section 21 of Republic Act No.000. Article II of R. Meanwhile. as it is within the range provided for by law.A. injecting. The Proper Penalties The petitioner was caught in possession of 0. instrument.000. 9165. or introducing any dangerous drug into the body. 9165. if there is non-compliance with said section. who unless authorized by law. ingesting. administering.03 gram of shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride. shall possess or have under his/her control any equipment. 03-3560.000. if the quantities of dangerous drugs are less than five (5) grams of x x x methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu x x x We sustain the penalty imposed by the RTC and affirmed by the CA in Criminal Case No. apparatus and any other paraphernalia fit or intended for smoking. 9165 provides that the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) months and one (1) day to four (4) years and a fine ranging from Ten thousand pesos (P10. Pursuant to Section 12 . as maximum in Criminal Case No. Section 12. No.00). to two years and seven months. The weight to be given by the courts on said evidence depends on the circumstances obtaining in each case. which provides: (3) Imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from Three hundred thousand pesos (P300. paragraph 2(3). The issue therefore. The courts a quo sentenced the petitioner to suffer the indeterminate penalty of four months and one day. but of weight evidentiary merit or probative value to be given the evidence.

R. 6425. 96-507[1] . PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. premises considered. WHEREFORE. The CA decision finding the petitioner guilty of violation of Section 11 of R. CR No. respectively. SO ORDERED. as minimum. to two (2) years and seven (7) months. 9165 in Criminal Case No. 9165. 03-3560. plaintiff-appellee. BINAD SY DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. 2008 and July 15.A. No.: Accused-appellant Binad Sy Chua was charged with violation of Section 16. as maximum.A. in CA-G. 2008. we increase the minimum to six (6) months and one (1) day imprisonment. CHUA.A.A. the Court of Appeals decision and resolution dated March 18. No.of R. and for Illegal Possession of ammunitions in two separate Informations which read as follows: Criminal Case No. J. Article III of R. 7659. 03-3559 is AFFIRMED in all respects. petitioner Gilbert Zalameda is SENTENCED to suffer the indeterminate penalty of six (6) months and one (1) day. 30061 areAFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that in Criminal Case No. vs. as amended by R. accused-appellant.

all members of the police force of Angeles City. immediately formed a team of operatives composed of Major Bernardino. PO2 Nunag and the civilian informer positioned themselves across McArthur Highway near Bali Hai Restaurant. did then and there willfully. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. the abovenamed accused. with SPO2 Mario Nulud. Emmanuel Nunag. Philippines. The two cases were then jointly tried. in the City of Angeles. Insp. unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession and under his control twenty (20) pieces of live . the abovenamed accused. The other group acted as their back up. their informer pointed to a car driven by accused-appellant which just arrived and parked near the entrance of the . Col. unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession and under his control two (2) plastic bags containing Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (SHABU) weighing more or less two (2) kilos and one (1) small plastic bag containing Methamphetamine Hydrocloride weighing more or less fifteen (15) grams.22 cal. Neopito Gutierrez. as team investigator. ammunitions. without any authority whatsoever. 1996. Angeles City. Insp. without first having obtained a license or permit to possess or carry the same. Their testimonies can be synthesized as follows: On September 21. Criminal Case No. The informer further reported that accused-appellant distributes illegal drugs in different karaoke bars in Angeles City. 96-513[2] That on or about the 21st day of September 1996. SP01 Fernando Go. On the basis of this lead.That on or about the 21st day of September 1996. Philippines. SPO2 Mario Nulud and PO2 Emmeraldo Nunag received a report from their confidential informant that accused-appellant was about to deliver drugs that night at the Thunder Inn Hotel in Balibago. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. in the City of Angeles. P02 Emmeraldo Nunag. The group of SPO2 Nulud. at around 10:00 in the evening. At around 11:45 in the evening. which is a regulated drug. The prosecution presented three (3) witnesses. Accused-appellant pleaded not guilty on arraignment. fronting Thunder Inn Hotel. Tullao. and some civilian assets. the PNP Chief of Angeles City. did then and there willfully.

The man later on identified himself as a policeman. Accused-appellant alleged that on the night in question. As accused-appellant pulled out his wallet. SPO2 Nulud instantly confiscated the small transparent plastic bag. he found 2 big plastic bags containing crystalline substances. Pampanga.[5] Accused-appellant vehemently denied the accusation against him and narrated a different version of the incident. San Fernando. the man immediately pulled out a . Guttierez at the PNP Headquarters in Camp Pepito. During the course of the arrest. Gutierrez opened the sealed Zest-O juice box. While at the store. he noticed a man approach and examine the inside of his car.22 caliber firearm bullets and the car used by accused-appellant. After accused-appellant alighted from the car carrying a sealed Zest-O juice box. so the policeman took his car keys and proceeded to search his car. The small plastic bag weighed 13.815 grams while the two big plastic bags weighed 1. Angeles City. [3] When Col. He refused. Angeles City to buy cigarettes and candies.[4] Thereafter. At this time. SPO2 Nulud together with accused-appellant brought these items for further laboratory examination to the Crime Laboratory at Camp Olivas. He felt sleepy. he saw that it contained a crystalline substance. the Zest-O juice box. When he called the attention of the onlooker. After due testing. SPO2 Nulud subjected him to a body search which yielded twenty (20) pieces of live .942 kilograms of shabu.Thunder Inn Hotel. SPO2 Nulud and the other police operatives who arrived at the scene brought the confiscated items to the office of Col. he was driving the car of his wife to follow her and his son to Manila. forensic chemist S/Insp. When SPO2 Nunag peeked into the contents of the Zest-O box. SPO2 Nulud and PO2 Nunag hurriedly accosted him and introduced themselves as police officers. The initial field test conducted by SPO2 Danilo Cruz at the PNP Headquarters revealed that the siezed items contained shabu. the twenty (20) pieces of . Forthwith. a small transparent plastic bag with a crystalline substance protruded from his right back pocket.45 caliber gun and made him face his car with raised hands. He stopped in front of a small store near Thunder Inn Hotel in Balibago. Afterwards. the policeman took out his wallet and instructed him to open his car.22 caliber firearm bullets from his left back pocket. so he decided to take the old route along McArthur Highway. the police officers companions . Daisy Babor concluded that the crystalline substances yielded positive results for shabu.

00) Pesos. the instant appeal where accused-appellant raised the following errors: THE TRIAL COURT ERRED GRAVELY IN ITS FOLLOWING FINDINGS: A. the accused is hereby acquitted of the crime charged for insufficiency of evidence. Branch 59. 96-513 for Illegal Possession of Ammunitions. pulled him away from his car in a nearby bank. SO ORDERED.[6] Wilfredo Lagman corroborated the story of the accused-appellant in its material points. In Criminal Case No. 1998 the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City. the foregoing considered.000. Col. judgement is hereby rendered as follows: 1.arrived at the scene in two cars. Guttierez opened the box and accused-appellant was made to hold the box while pictures were being taken. who just arrived at the scene. 2. He testified that he witnessed the incident while he was conducting a routine security check around the premises of the Guess Building.[9] Hence.955. 96-507 for Illegal Possession of 1.815 grams of shabu. PO2 Nulud. accused Binad Sy Chua is found GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charge and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of One Million (P1. while the others searched his car. he was brought to the Salakot Police Station and was held inside a bathroom for about fifteen minutes until Col.000.[8] the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. . who ordered his men to call the media. In the presence of reporters. THE ARREST OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT BINAD SY CHUA WAS LAWFUL.[7] On September 15. near Thunder Inn Hotel. Guttierez arrived. In Criminal Case No. rendered a decision. Thereafter.

misapprehended. even those not raised on appeal. Every circumstance in favor of the accused shall be considered.B.[11] In the case at bar. the drugs that were seized should likewise be inadmissible in evidence since they were obtained in violation of his constitutional rights against unreasonable search and seizures and arrest. that the police officers had sufficient information about him and could have easily arrested him. of observing the demeanor of the declarants in the course of their testimonies. The only exception is if there is a showing that the trial judge overlooked. that in the light of the testimony of SPO2 Nulud that prior to his arrest he has been under surveillance for two years. misunderstood. if we find that their consideration is necessary in arriving at a just disposition of the case. Although the trial courts evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies is entitled to great respect and will not be disturbed on appeal. for the reason that the trial judge has the prerogative. [12] We are clothed with ample authority to review matters. there appears on record some facts of weight and substance that have been overlooked. It is a time-honored rule that the assessment of the trial court with regard to the credibility of witnesses deserves the utmost respect. or misapplied by the trial court which casts doubt on the guilt of accused-appellant.[10] Accused-appellant maintains that the warrantless arrest and search made by the police operatives was unlawful. THE SEARCH OF HIS PERSON AND THE SUBSEQUENT CONFISCATION OF SHABU ALLEGEDLY FOUND ON HIM WERE CONDUCTED IN A LAWFUL AND VALID MANNER. . there was therefore no compelling reason for the haste within which the arresting officers sought to arrest and search him without a warrant. denied to appellate judges. Accused-appellant further argues that since his arrest was null an void. this rule is not a hard and fast one. if not finality. Accused-appellants argument is impressed with merit. or misapplied some fact or circumstance of weight and substance that would have affected the case. however. An appeal in a criminal case opens the whole case for review and this includes the review of the penalty and indemnity imposed by the trial court. C. THE PROSECUTION EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THE CRIME CHARGED IS SUFICIENT TO PROVE THE GUILT OF THE ACCUSED-APPELLANT BEYOND REAONABLE DOUBT.

[14] A thorough review of the evidence on record belies the findings and conclusion of the trial court. A crime was actually being committed by the accused and he was caught in flagrante delicto. x x x x While it is true that the police officers were not armed with a search warrant when the search was made over the personal affects (sic) of the accused. however.[15] we distinguished the concepts of a stopand-frisk and of a search incidental to a lawful arrest. Court of Appeals. the police received information that the accused will distribute illegal drugs that evening at the Thunder Inn Hotel and its vicinities. First. to wit: At the outset. It confused the two different concepts of a search incidental to a lawful arrest (in flagrante delicto) and of a stop-andfrisk. with respect to the warrantless arrest and consequent search and seizure made upon accused-appellant. Thus. The search is valid being akin to a stop and frisk. the search made upon his personal effects x x x allow a warrantless search incident to a lawful arrest. xxxxxxxxx In the present case. the court a quo made the following findings: Accused was searched and arrested while in possession of regulated drugs (shabu). we note that the trial court confused the concepts of a stopand-frisk and of a search incidental to a lawful arrest. In a search incidental to a lawful arrest. the legality of the . there was sufficient probable cause for said officers to believe that accused was then and there committing a crime. These two types of warrantless searches differ in terms of the requisite quantum of proof before they may be validly effected and in their allowable scope. The police officer had to act quickly and there was no more time to secure a search warrant.[13] This is in keeping with the constitutional mandate that every accused shall be presumed innocent unless his guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. under the circumstances of the case. In Malacat v. as the precedent arrest determines the validity of the incidental search.

the arresting officer may search the person of the arrestee and the area within which the latter may reach for a weapon or for evidence to destroy. which underlies the recognition that a police officer may. assuming a valid arrest. In this instance. xxxxxxxxx We now proceed to the justification for and allowable scope of a stop-andfrisk as a limited protective search of outer clothing for weapons. Finally. and seize any money or property found which was used in the commission of the crime. A genuine reason must exist. in light of the police officers experience and surrounding conditions. it nevertheless holds that mere suspicion or a hunch will not validate a stop-and-frisk. as laid down in Terry. under appropriate circumstances and in an appropriate manner. and where nothing in the initial stages of the encounter serves to dispel his reasonable fear for his own or others safety. he is entitled for the protection of himself and others in the area to conduct a carefully limited search of the outer clothing of such persons in an attempt to discover weapons which might be used to assault him.g. approach a person for purposes of investigating possible criminal behavior even without probable cause. Such a search is a reasonable search under the Fourth amendment.. and (2) the more pressing interest of safety and self- . to warrant the belief that the person detained has weapons concealed about him.arrest is questioned in a large majority of these cases. where in the course of investigating this behavior he identifies himself as a policeman and makes reasonable inquiries. At bottom. or that which may be used as evidence. Other notable points of Terry are that while probable cause is not required to conduct a stop-and-frisk. the law requires that there first be arrest before a search can be madethe process cannot be reversed. whether an arrest was merely used as a pretext for conducting a search. or the fruit of the crime. e. a stop-and-frisk serves a two-fold interest: (1) the general interest of effective crime prevention and detection. or which might furnish the arrestee with the means of escaping or committing violence. thus: We merely hold today that where a police officer observes unusual conduct which leads him reasonably to conclude in light of his experience that criminal activity may be afoot and that the persons with whom he is dealing may be armed and presently dangerous.

in light of the lack of an overt physical act on the part of accusedappellant that he had committed a crime. and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. [16] (Emphasis ours) In the case at bar. he merely parked his car along the McArthur Highway.[20] Accused-appellant was arrested before the alleged drop-off of shabu was done. Accused-appellant did not act in a suspicious manner. the accused is apprehended at the very moment he is committing or attempting to commit or has just committed an offense in the presence of the arresting officer. In in flagrante delicto arrests. For all intents and purposes. or is attempting to commit a crime. Probable cause in this case was more imagined than real. there was no overt manifestation that accused-appellant has just committed. Thus. the group of SPO2 Nulud hurriedly accosted[19] accused-appellant and later on introduced themselves as police officers. Emphasis should be laid on the fact that the law requires that the search be incidental to a lawful arrest. notwithstanding the absence of any overt act strongly manifesting a violation of the law. neither the in flagrante delicto nor the stop and frisk principles is applicable to justify the warrantless arrest and consequent search and seizure made by the police operatives on accused-appellant.preservation which permit the police officer to take steps to assure himself that the person with whom he deals is not armed with a deadly weapon that could unexpectedly and fatally be used against the police officer. it has been held that reliable information alone. for this exception to apply two elements must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed. The record reveals that when accused-appellant arrived at the vicinity of Thunder Inn Hotel. absent any overt act indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting . is actually committing. is actually committing.[18] We find the two aforementioned elements lacking in the case at bar. As applied to in flagrante delicto arrests. there could have been no in flagrante delicto arrest preceding the search. However.[17] Accordingly. alighted from it and casually proceeded towards the entrance of the Hotel clutching a sealed Zest-O juice box. was committing a crime or was going to commit a crime. Therefore it is beyond cavil that a lawful arrest must precede the search of a person and his belongings. or is attempting to commit a crime.

No less than SPO2 Mario Nulud. The police officers only knew of the activities of Tangliben on the night of his arrest. Q. at the moment of his arrest. He acceded later on when the policemen identified themselves. Yes. committing a crime nor was it shown that he was about to do so or that he had just done so. the team leader of the arresting operatives. the apprehending policemen already had prior knowledge from the very same informant of accused-appellants activities. sir. An excerpt of the testimony of SPO2 Mario Nulud reveals the illegality of the arrest of accused-appellant as follows: Q. They confronted him and requested him to open his bag but he refused. 1996? A. In the instant case. Aminudin. What he was doing was descending the gangplank of the M/V Wilcon 9 and there was no outward indication that called for his arrest. At 9:30 in the evening. The reliance of the prosecution in People v. based on the information supplied by informers. It was only when the informer pointed to him as the carrier of the marijuana that he suddenly became suspect and so subject to apprehension (Emphasis supplied).[21] Hence.officers. Tangliben[23] to justify the polices actions is misplaced. In the said case. is not sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest. To all appearances. And he had been mentioning before September 21. admitted that their informant has been telling them about the activities of accused-appellant for two years prior to his actual arrest on September 21. Inside the bag were marijuana leaves wrapped in a plastic wrapper. in People v. He is mentioning the name of Binad or Jojo Chua. 1996. Did the civilian informer of yours mentioned to you the name of this chinese drug pusher? A. he was like any of the other passengers innocently disembarking from the vessel. Pampanga against persons who may commit misdemeanors and also on those who may be engaged in the traffic of dangerous drugs. these names to you even . the policemen noticed a person carrying a red travelling bag who was acting suspiciously.[22] we ruled that the accused-appellant was not. police officers conducted a surveillance at the Victory Liner Terminal compound in San Fernando.

I think. is that right? A. He was pinpointed by the civilian informer that he is the chinese drug pusher that will deliver to him also. xxxxxxxxx . My question Mr. he was casually walking along the road near the Thunder Inn Hotel. he just alighted when you saw him? A. When you accosted this Binad Chua. Q.Q. From the car when he alighted. No. Nothwithstanding his two years personal knowledge which you gained from the civilian informant that this chinese drug pusher have been engaged pushing drugs here in Angeles City. How long did this civilian informant have been telling you about the activities of this chinese drug pusher reckoning in relation to September 21. you did not think of applying for a search warrant for this chinese drug pusher? A. That was about two years already. Q. Yes. he casually walked towards near the entrance of the Thunder Inn Hotel? A. Yes. He was about to proceed towards Thunder Inn Hotel but he was pinpointed already by the civilian informer. sir. sir. he is about to enter Thunder Inn Hotel. Q. sir. Q. xxxxxxxxx Q. Witness. But he was just walking towards the entrance of the Thunder Inn Hotel? A. 1996? A. is this Jojo Chua or Binad Chua the accused in this case he alighted with a Corolla car with plate number 999.

address and activities of the suspected culprit was already ascertained two years previous to the actual arrest.[24] The police operatives cannot feign ignorance of the alleged illegal activities of accused-appellant. sir. Yes. Yes. Q. xxxxxxxxx Q. So you have been tailing this accused for quite a long time that you are very sure that what was brought by him was shabu? A. there was indeed no reason why the police officers could not have obtained a judicial warrant before arresting accused-appellant and searching his person. A stop-and-frisk was defined as the act of a police officer to stop a citizen on . then you and PO2 Nunag pounced on him as you used pounced on him in your affidavit? A. is that correct? A. And you pounced on Jojo Chua before you saw that alleged small plastic bag. Yes. that is shabu and it is been a long time that we have been tailing the accused that he is really a drug pusher. sir. xxxxxxxxx Q. Q. In the same vein. Yes. there could be no valid stop-and-frisk in this case. And after that you also confiscated this Zesto juice box? A. No. sir. Accordingly. the arresting teams contention that their arrest of accused-appellant was a product of an on-the-spot tip is untenable. sir. Whatever information their civilian asset relayed to them hours before accused-appellants arrest was not a product of an on-thespot tip which may excuse them from obtaining a warrant of arrest. While he was walking. Considering that the identity. But would you agree with me that not all crystalline substance is shabu? A.Q.

and pat him for weapon(s) [25] or contraband. the arresting officers had no personal knowledge that accused-appellant had just committed. we upheld the validity of the search as akin to a stop-and-frisk. There was. Obviously. before and during that time of the arrest. The apprehending police operative failed to make any initial inquiry into accused-appellants business in the vicinity or the contents of the Zest-O juice box he was carrying. approach and restrain a person who manifests unusual and suspicious conduct. The police officer should properly introduce himself and make initial inquiries. was committing.the street. the policemen chanced upon the accused who had reddish eyes. at the time of his arrest. The foregoing circumstances do not obtain in the case at bar. the fact that his companions fled when they saw the policemen. There was no valid stop-and-frisk in the case of accused-appellant. In People v. in order to check the latters outer clothing for possibly concealed weapons.[27] It should therefore be emphasized that a search and seizure should precede the arrest for this principle to apply. accused-appellant was first arrested before the search and seizure of the alleged illegal items found in his possession. The apprehending police officers only introduced themselves when they already had custody of accused-appellant. and the fact that the peace officers were precisely on an intelligence mission to verify reports that armed persons where roaming the vicinity. or was about to commit a crime. and who appeared to be high on drugs.[26] The apprehending police officer must have a genuine reason. To reiterate. . walking in a swaying manner.[29] In said case. Thus. therefore. no genuine reasonable ground for the immediacy of accused-appellants arrest. in accordance with the police officers experience and the surrounding conditions. the acts of the police operatives wholly depended on the information given to them by their confidential informant. interrogate him. Accordingly.[30] we also found justifiable reason to stop-and-frisk the accused after considering the following circumstances: the drunken actuations of the accused and his companions. accusedappellant did not exhibit manifest unusual and suspicious conduct reasonable enough to dispense with the procedure outlined by jurisprudence and the law. Court of Appeals. Solayao. Besides. to warrant the belief that the person to be held has weapons (or contraband) concealed about him.[28] This principle of stop-and-frisk search was invoked by the Court in Manalili v.

which is not so in this case.22 caliber ammunition visible. Neither can the presumption of regularity of performance of function be invoked by an officer in aid of the process when he undertakes to justify an encroachment of rights secured by the Constitution. The police officers first arrested accused-appellant and intentionally searched his person and peeked into the sealed Zest-O juice box before they were able to see and later on ascertain that the crystalline substance was shabu. In like manner. the presumption is precisely just that a mere presumption. Once challenged by . It cannot even fall under exigent and emergency circumstances. These prohibited substances were not in plain view of the arresting officers. much more cure. the evidence.22 caliber ammunition. For a valid stop-and-frisk the search and seizure must precede the arrest. Nubla. Hence. Neither were the small plastic bags which allegedly contained crystalline substance and the 20 rounds of . First.. the illegality of the arrest and consequent warrantless search of accused-appellant. Besides. Second. or a customs search. the search cannot be categorized as a search of a moving vehicle. first. were not inadvertently discovered. the absence of ill-motive on the part of the arresting team cannot simply validate. the information about the illegal activities of accused-appellant was not unknown to the apprehending officers.[32] we clearly stated that: The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot be used as basis for affirming accused-appellants conviction because. the search and seizure of the prohibited drugs cannot be deemed as a valid stop-and-frisk.[31] In People v.At any rate. accused-appellants warrantless arrest and consequent search would still not be deemed a valid stop-and frisk.e. for the evidence at hand is bereft of any such showing. even if the fact of delivery of the illegal drugs actually occurred. All told. as we have earlier emphasized. a consented warrantless search. Neither can there be valid seizure in plain view on the basis of the seized items found in accused-appellants possession. i. the plastic bags found in the Zest-O juice box which contained crystalline substances later on identified as methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) and the 20 rounds of . there was no valid intrusion. There was no clear showing that the sealed Zest-O juice box accused-appellant carried contained prohibited drugs. inadmissible for being the fruits of the poisonous tree. hence.

if he must. was only conducted at the PNP headquarters of Angeles City. but it is the law that sets him free. xxx [it] cannot be regarded as binding truth. the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions cannot preponderate over the presumption of innocence that prevails if not overthrown by proof beyond reasonable doubt. which initially identified the seized item as marijuana. Furthermore. thus: The narcotics field test. otherwise their good intentions will remain as such simply because they have blundered.evidence.000.000. Accused-appellant Binad Sy Chua is ACQUITTED on the ground of . Nothing can destroy a government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws. But it should not undermine the fundamental rights of every citizen as enshrined in the Constitution.00. The governments drive against illegal drugs needs the support of every citizen. Republic Act No. 96-507 and 96-513. or worse. the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Angeles City. The constitutional guarantee against warrantless arrests and unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be so carelessly disregarded as overzealous police officers are sometimes wont to do. in Criminal Cases Nos. in view of the foregoing. Fealty to the constitution and the rights it guarantees should be paramount in their minds. convicting accused-appellant Binad Sy Chua of violation of Section 16. as in this case. Article III. In People v. was likewise not conducted at the scene of the crime. its disregard of the charter of its own existence. There is thus reasonable doubt as to whether the item allegedly seized from accused-appellant is the same brick of marijuana marked by the policemen in their headquarters and given by them to the crime laboratory. we entertain doubts whether the items allegedly seized from accused-appellant were the very same items presented at the trial of this case. Second. Casimiro. is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 6425 and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and to pay a fine of P1. Branch 59.[35] WHEREFORE.[33] The items were therefore not marked at the place where they were taken.[34] we struck down with disbelief the reliability of the identity of the confiscated items since they were not marked at the place where they were seized. but only at the narcotics office. The record shows that the initial field test where the items seized were identified as shabu. The criminal goes free.

SO ORDERED. C. and VILLARAMA.R. 176229 Present: CORONA.. No. he is ordered forthwith released from custody. HO WAI PANG. DEL CASTILLO. G. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. Petitioner. 2011 x------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION .versus - PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. BERSAMIN. JR. Promulgated: October 19.J.reasonable doubt. JJ. Respondent. unless he is being lawfully held for another crime. Chairperson. Consequently. ..

is not affected even if obtained or taken in the course of custodial investigation.[2] Petitioner Ho Wai Pang (petitioner) in this present recourse assails the June 16.[1] The admissibility of other evidence. 91-1592.: Infraction of the rights of an accused during custodial investigation or the so-called Miranda Rights render inadmissible only the extrajudicial confession or admission made during such investigation. she saw few personal belongings such as used clothing. Also assailed is the January 16.DEL CASTILLO. Chan Chit Yue. 1991. Branch 118 of Pasay City in Criminal Case No. shoes and chocolate boxes which she pressed. No. When the second bag was examined. she took out four of the chocolate boxes and opened one of them.R. who was then manning Lane 8 of the Express Lane. 2006 Decision[3] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.C. J.[5] Wu Hing Sum. At the arrival area. 01459 affirming the April 6. United Arab Emirates Airlines Flight No. at around 11:30 in the evening. Cinco examined the baggages of each of the 13 passengers as their turn came up. Article III [8] of Republic Act (R.) No. 2007 CA Resolution[9] denying the motion for reconsideration thereto. Factual Antecedents On September 6. 068 from Hongkong arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Becoming suspicious. provided they are relevant to the issue and is not otherwise excluded by law or rules. 6425 otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.A. CR-H. what she saw inside was white crystalline substance contained in a white transparent plastic. Cinco thus . Cinco (Cinco). she noticed chocolate boxes which were almost of the same size as those in the first bag. 1995 Decision[4] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Instead of chocolates. Tin San Mao[6] and Kin San Ho[7] guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Section 15. the group leader Wong Kwok Wah (Sonny Wong) presented a Baggage Declaration Form to Customs Examiner Gilda L. From the first traveling bag. namely. finding him and his co-accused. Law Ka Wang. Among the passengers were 13 Hongkong nationals who came to the Philippines as tourists.

petitioner filed a Motion for Reinvestigation[13] which the trial court granted. Wu Hing Sums bag followed and same yielded three chocolate boxes while the baggages of Ho Kin San.Subsequently. he conducted a test on the white crystalline substance contained in said chocolate boxes at the NAIA using the Mandelline Re-Agent Test. the chocolate boxes were bundled together with tape. placed inside a plastic bag and brought to the Inbond Section. All in all. 1991. 1991 were filed against petitioner and his co-accused.[12] Out of the 13 tourists.A. These Informations were docketed as Criminal Case Nos. she guided the tourists to the Intensive Counting Unit (ICU) while bringing with her the four chocolate boxes earlier discovered. The reinvestigation conducted . 91-1591 to 97. The following day. At the ICU. The confiscated stuff were turned over to the Forensic Chemist who weighed and examined them. Findings show that its total weight is 31. September 7. Chan Chit Yue and Tin San Mao each contained two or three similar chocolate boxes. Cinco called the tourists one after the other using the passenger manifest and further examined their bags. Cinco. No. six separate Informations all dated September 19. Thereupon. According to him.[10] The result of his examination[11] of the white crystalline substance yielded positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. The bag of Law Ka Wang was first found to contain three chocolate boxes. the NBI found evidence for violation of R. Thereafter. NARCOM Agent Neowillie de Castro corroborated the relevant testimony of Cinco pertaining to the presence of the chocolate boxes. 6425 only as against petitioner and his five co-accused.1126 kilograms and that the representative samples were positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. 18 chocolate boxes were recovered from the baggages of the six accused. Next was petitioners bag which contains nothing except for personal effects. however. the 13 tourists were brought to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for further questioning. Accordingly. recalled that two of the chocolate boxes earlier discovered at the express lane belong to him.immediately called the attention of her immediate superiors Duty Collector Alalo and Customs Appraiser Nora Sancho who advised her to call the Narcotics Command (NARCOM) and the police. however.

AND KIN SAN HO (HO KIN SAN) GUILTY of Conspiracy in violating Section 15.112 kilograms. the Court finds the accused LAW KA WANG. the above-named accused. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. Republic Act No. TIN SUN MAO.00 for each accused is imposed pursuant to R. 6425. confederating and mutually helping one another. 6425. willfully. 6425 it being more favorable to the accused [than] that provided in R.000.00) each as FINE. the penalty of reclusion perpetua is being imposed pursuant to Republic Act No. No. the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE.A. Article III of R.A. locally known as Shabu.[15] The Amended Information reads: That on or about September 6. No.A. unlawfully and feloniously carry and transport into the country without lawful authority. 6425. Article III. of METHAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE. more or less. HO WAI PANG. did. CONTRARY TO LAW. No. also popularly known as SHABU. Ruling of the Regional Trial Court On April 6. CHAN CHIT YUE. 7659 WITH IMMEDIATE DEPORTATION . 1995. then and there.112 kilograms of methamp[h]etamine hydrochloride. The fine of P30. as amended for having conspired to transport into the Philippines 31. the RTC rendered a Decision[18] finding all the accused guilty of violating Section 15. conspiring. 91-1592 and to the withdrawal of the other Informations. WU HING SUM. 1991 in Pasay City. all the foregoing considered. as amended. They claimed that they have no knowledge about the transportation of illegal substance (shabu) taken from their traveling bags which were provided by the travel agency.gave way to a finding of conspiracy among the accused and this resulted to the filing of a single Amended Information[14] under Criminal Case No. a regulated drug. 31.[17] all the accused testified almost identically. invoking denial as their defense. and they are hereby sentenced to suffer the PENALTY OF IMPRISONMENT OF SIX (6) [sic] RECLUSION PERPETUA AND TO PAY EACH (SIC) THE AMOUNT OF THIRTY (30) THOUSAND PESOS (P30. 7659 considering its applicability to the accused though retroactively for having a less stricter penalty than that of life imprisonment provided in Republic Act No.000.[16] After pleading not guilty to the crime charged.

AFTER SERVICE OF SENTENCE. The penalty of death cannot be
imposed since the offense was committed prior to the effectivity of
R.A. No. 7659.
Let an alias warrant of arrest be issued against accused WONG
KOK WAH @ SONNY WONG, CHAN TAK PIU, HO WAI LING AND
INOCENCIA CHENG.
SO ORDERED.[19]

From this judgment, all the accused appealed to this Court where the case
records were forwarded to per Order of the RTC dated May 10, 1995. [20] Later, all
the accused except for petitioner, filed on separate dates their respective
withdrawal of appeal.[21] This Court, after being satisfied that the withdrawing
appellants were fully aware of the consequences of their action, granted the
withdrawal of their respective appeals through a Resolution dated June 18, 1997.
[22]
Per Entry of Judgment, [23] said Resolution became final and executory on July 7,
1997. Consequently, petitioner was the only one left to pursue his appeal.
Petitioner filed his Brief[24] on April 6, 1998 while the brief[25] for the respondent
People of the Philippines was filed on August 27, 1998 through the Office of the
Solicitor General (OSG). Per Resolution[26] dated August 30, 2004, this Court
referred the appeal to the CA for proper disposition and determination pursuant to
this Courts ruling in People v. Mateo.[27]
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On June 16, 2006, the CA denied the appeal and affirmed the Decision of the
RTC. While conceding that petitioners constitutional right to counsel during the
custodial investigation was indeed violated, it nevertheless went on to hold that
there were other evidence sufficient to warrant his conviction. The CA also
rebuked petitioners claim that he was deprived of his constitutional and statutory
right to confront the witnesses against him. The CA gave credence to the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and quoted with favor the trial courts
ratiocination regarding the existence of conspiracy among the accused.

Undeterred, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration[28] which the CA denied in
its Resolution[29] dated January 16, 2007.
Hence, this petition for review on certiorari anchored on the following grounds:
I
WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT PETITIONER WAS DEPRIVED OF HIS
CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY RIGHTS UNDER CUSTODIAL
INVESTIGATION BOTH BY THE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS AND BY THE NBI
INVESTIGATORS, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN
NOT EXCLUDING EVIDENCE TAKEN DURING THE CUSTODIAL
INVESTIGATION.
II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING
THAT PETITIONER WAS DEPRIVED OF HIS CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO
CONFRONT THE WITNESSES AGAINST HIM.

III
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT
THE PROSECUTIONS EVIDENCE FAILED TO ESTABLISH THE
EXISTENCE OF A CONSPIRACY.
IV
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING THAT
THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PRESENT PROOF BEYOND
REASONABLE DOUBT AS TO OVERTURN THE PRESUMPTION OF
INNOCENCE ACCORDED TO PETITIONER BY THE CONSTITUTION.[30]

OUR RULING

The petition lacks merit.
Section 12, Article III of the Constitution
prohibits as evidence only confessions and
admissions of the accused as against
himself.

Anent the error first assigned, petitioner takes issue on the fact that he was not
assisted by a competent and independent lawyer during the custodial
investigation. He claimed that he was not duly informed of his rights to remain
silent and to have competent counsel of his choice. Hence, petitioner faults the CA
in not excluding evidence taken during such investigation.
While there is no dispute that petitioner was subjected to all the rituals of a
custodial questioning by the customs authorities and the NBI in violation of his
constitutional right under Section 12[31] of Article III of the Constitution, we must
not, however, lose sight of the fact that what said constitutional provision prohibits
as evidence are only confessions and admissions of the accused as against
himself. Thus, in Aquino v. Paiste,[32] the Court categorically ruled that the
infractions of the so-called Miranda rights render inadmissible only the
extrajudicial confession or admission made during custodial investigation. The
admissibility of other evidence, provided they are relevant to the issue and [are]
not otherwise excluded by law or rules, [are] not affected even if obtained or taken
in the course of custodial investigation.
In the case at bench, petitioner did not make any confession or admission during
his custodial investigation. The prosecution did not present any extrajudicial
confession extracted from him as evidence of his guilt. Moreover, no statement
was taken from petitioner during his detention and subsequently used in evidence
against him. Verily, in determining the guilt of the petitioner and his co-accused,
the trial court based its Decision on the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses
and on the existence of the confiscated shabu. As the Court held in People v.
Buluran,[33][a]ny allegation of violation of rights during custodial investigation is
relevant and material only to cases in which an extrajudicial admission or
confession extracted from the accused becomes the basis of their
conviction. Hence, petitioners claim that the trial court erred in not excluding
evidence taken during the custodial investigation deserves scant consideration.
Petitioner cannot take refuge in this Courts ruling in People v. Wong Chuen
Ming[34] to exculpate himself from the crime charged. Though there are semblance
in the facts, the case of Ming is not exactly on all fours with the present case. The
disparity is clear from the evidence adduced upon which the trial courts in each

However.Apparently in Ming. x x x Thus. petitioner invokes the pertinent provision of Section 14(2) of Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution providing for the right to confrontation. The Court construed the accuseds act of affixing their signatures thereon as a tacit admission of the crime charged. hence it need not be corroborated. Moreover. the Court noted that said examiners testimony was not corroborated by other prosecution witnesses. where such testimony is found positive and credible by the trial court. the trial court also gave credence to the sole testimony of the customs examiner whom it presumed to have performed his duties in regular manner. relied heavily on the signatures which they affixed on the boxes of Alpen Cereals and on the plastic bags. On the other hand. positive and credible by the trial court. Petitioner was not denied of his right to confrontation. Cinco witnessed the entire incident thus providing direct evidence as eyewitness to the very act of the commission of the crime. in reversing the judgment of conviction. As the Court held in People v Dela Cruz.[35] [n]o rule exists which requires a testimony to be corroborated to be adjudged credible. the testimony of Cinco was found to be direct. the lone testimony is sufficient to produce a conviction. the trial court. in convicting the accused. Indeed. since the accused were not informed of their Miranda rights when they affixed their signatures.case relied on in rendering their respective decisions. petitioners conviction in the present case was on the strength of his having been caught in flagrante delicto transporting shabu into the country and not on the basis of any confession or admission.viz: . In ruling against the accused. a ruling in one case cannot simply be bodily lifted and applied to another case when there are stark differences between the two cases. In such a case. Cases must be decided based on their own unique facts and applicable law and jurisprudence. it is not at all uncommon to reach a conclusion of guilt on the basis of the testimony of a single witness despite the lack of corroboration. the admission was declared inadmissible evidence for having been obtained in violation of their constitutional rights. Turning now to the second assigned error. And.

Section 14. x x x
(2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed
innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be
heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause
of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public
trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory
process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of
evidence in his behalf. However, after arraignment, trial may proceed
notwithstanding the absence of the accused provided that he has
been duly notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable.

Petitioner asserts that he was deprived of his right to know and understand what
the witnesses testified to. According to him, only a full understanding of what the
witnesses would testify to would enable an accused to comprehend the evidence
being offered against him and to refute it by cross-examination or by his own
countervailing evidence.
In refutation, the OSG countered that petitioner was given the opportunity to
confront his accusers and/or the witnesses of the prosecution when his counsel
cross-examined them. It is petitioners call to hire an interpreter to understand the
proceedings before him and if he could not do so, he should have manifested it
before the court. At any rate, the OSG contends that petitioner was nevertheless
able to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses and that such examination
suffices as compliance with petitioners right to confront the witnesses against him.
We agree with the OSG.
As borne out by the records, petitioner did not register any objection to the
presentation of the prosecutions evidence particularly on the testimony of Cinco
despite the absence of an interpreter. Moreover, it has not been shown that the
lack of an interpreter greatly prejudiced him. Still and all, the important thing is
that petitioner, through counsel, was able to fully cross-examine Cinco and the
other witnesses and test their credibility. The right to confrontation is essentially a
guarantee that a defendant may cross-examine the witnesses of the
prosecution. InPeople v. Libo-on,[36] the Court held:

The right to confrontation is one of the fundamental rights
guaranteed by the Constitution to the person facing criminal
prosecution who should know, in fairness, who his accusers are and
must be given a chance to cross-examine them on their charges. The
chief purpose of the right of confrontation is to secure the opportunity
for cross-examination, so that if the opportunity for cross-examination
has been secured, the function and test of confrontation has also
been accomplished, the confrontation being merely the dramatic
preliminary to cross-examination.

Under the circumstances obtaining, petitioners constitutional right to confront the
witnesses against him was not impaired.
Conspiracy among the accused was duly
established.

Respecting the third assigned error, we uphold the trial courts finding of
conspiracy which was quoted by the appellate court in its assailed Decision,
and which we once again herein reproduce with approval:
On the allegation of conspiracy, the Court finds [no] direct evidence
to conclude conspiracy. However, just like in other cases where
conspiracy is not usually established by direct evidence but by
circumstantial evidence, the Court finds that there are enough
circumstantial evidence which if taken together sufficiently prove
conspiracy. First, it cannot be denied that the accused somehow have
known each other prior to their [departure] in Hong Kong for Manila.
Although Law Ka Wang denied having known any of the accused prior
to the incident in NAIA, accused Ho Wai Pang identified him as the
one who assisted him in the supposed tour in the Philippines to the
extent of directly dealing with the travel agency and [that] Law Ka
Wang was the one who received the personal things of Ho Wai Pang
allegedly to be place[d] in a bag provided for by the travel
agency. Accused Wu Hing Sum has been known to accused Ho Kin
San for about two to three years as they used to work as cooks in a
restaurant in Hong Kong. Accused Ho Wai Ling, who is still at large, is
know[n] to accused Chan Chit Yue, Wu Hing Sum and Ho Kin San.
These relationships in a way can lead to the presumption that they
have the capability to enter into a conspiracy. Second, all the illegal
substances confiscated from the six accused were contained in
chocolate boxes of similar sizes and almost the same weight all

contained in their luggages. The Court agrees with the finding of the
trial prosecutor that under the given circumstances, the offense
charged [c]ould have been perpetrated only through an elaborate
and methodically planned conspiracy with all the accused assiduously
cooperating and mutually helping each other in order to ensure its
success.[37]

We find no cogent reason to reverse such findings.
Conspiracy is [the] common design to commit a felony.[38] [C]onspiracy
which determines criminal culpability need not entail a close personal association
or at least an acquaintance between or among the participants to a crime.[39] It
need not be shown that the parties actually came together and agreed in express
terms to enter into and pursue a common design.[40] The assent of the minds may
be and, from the secrecy of the crime, usually inferred from proof of facts and
circumstances which, taken together, indicate that they are parts of some
complete whole as we ruled in People v. Mateo, Jr.[41] Here, it can be deduced from
petitioner and his co-accuseds collective conduct, viewed in its totality, that there
was a common design, concerted action and concurrence of sentiments in
bringing about the crime committed.
Petitioners guilt
reasonable doubt.

was

proved

beyond

Finally, petitioner asserts that the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. He makes capital on the contention that no chocolate boxes
were found in his traveling bag when it was examined at the ICU. He claimed that
it was his co-accused Sonny Wong who took charge in ascribing upon him the
possession of the two chocolate boxes.
Petitioners contentions fail to persuade.
True, when principal prosecution witness Cinco first testified on June 3, 1992, she
declared that she did not see any chocolate boxes but only personal effects in
petitioners bag.[42]Nonetheless, she clarified in her succeeding testimony that she
recalls taking the two chocolate boxes from petitioners bag when they were still at

However. But that was when investigation was going on at the Intensive Counting Unit (ICU).[43] To us. TSN. after the discovery of shabu.[45] Jurisprudence teaches that in assessing the credibility of a witness. hence her testimony is entitled to full faith and credit. petitioner presented no evidence or anything to indicate that the principal witness for the prosecution. Ho Wai Pang. The trial courts words on this matter when it resolved petitioners Demurrer to Evidence in its Order[44] of February 16. Thus In claiming that the evidences [sic] presented by the prosecution is insufficient to command conviction. she was already carrying with her four (4) chocolate boxes. identification should be given full weight. Ho Wai Pang. 1992). where there is nothing in the records which would show a motive or reason on the part of the witnesses to falsely implicate the accused. 48-49. everything stated by him on direct. but she nonetheless recognized the bag and could recall the owner thereof. 1993 is quite enlightening. cross and redirect examinations must be calibrated and considered. In ascertaining the facts established by a witness. June 3. because she even testified that she found nothing inside the handcarried luggage of Ho Wai Pang (pp. this slight clash in Cincos statements neither dilute her credibility nor the veracity of her testimony. the same Hilda Cinco later on testified that from the express lane in going to the ICU. was moved by any improper motive. . the Demurrer went on to say that the testimony of Hilda Cinco is either conjectural or hearsay and definitely missed its mark in incriminating accused. 1992). TSN. Here. The technique in deciphering a testimony is not to consider only its isolated parts and anchor a conclusion on the basis of said parts. They are facts from the personal perception of the witness and out of her personal knowledge. Neither is it conjectural. his testimony must be considered in its entirety instead of in truncated parts. Cinco admitted it was the reason that at the ICU. Ho Wai Pangs bag was already empty (pp. two of [which] taken from the bag of Tin Sun Mau and the other two retrieved from the luggage of herein movant. 53-54. Categorically. June 3. This sufficiently explained why Cinco did not find any chocolate boxes from petitioners bag when they were at the ICU. Such testimony is not hearsay evidence.[46] Also. pointing to Ho Wai Pang. Cinco.the counter.

Under the new amendments. 7659[49] further introduced new amendments to Section 15. It is basic that affirmative testimony of persons who are eyewitnesses of the events or facts asserted easily overrides negative testimony. 6425 was already amended by Presidential Decree No. along with his coaccused. Article IV of R.A. Nothing else can speak so eloquently of his culpability than the unassailable fact that he was caught red-handed in the very act of transporting.00 to P30. the penalty prescribed in Section 15 was changed from life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P20. shabu into the country. as amended. we find the same in accord with law and jurisprudence.00 shall be imposed. No. it bears stressing that the act of transporting a prohibited drug is a malum prohibitum because it is punished as an offense under a special law. 6425.00 to P30. the evidence for the defense consists mainly of denials. Article III and Section 20. 6425. No. In stark contrast.00 to reclusion perpetua to death and a fine ranging . Penalty As to the penalties imposed by the trial court and as affirmed by the appellate court.000. No. As such. however.Verily.[47] All told.A. petitioner has not presented any plausible proof to successfully rebut the evidence for the prosecution. Section 15 of R. Article III of R. No. Moreover. 1683. Petitioner tried to show that he was not aware of the shabu inside his luggage considering that his bag was provided by the travel agency. the evidence adduced against petitioner is so overwhelming that this Court is convinced that his guilt has been established beyond reasonable doubt. 1991.000. as amended. the mere commission of the act is what constitutes the offense punished and same suffices to validly charge and convict an individual caught committing the act so punished regardless of criminal intent. Subsequently. beyond his bare denials. we are convinced that the courts below committed no error in adjudging petitioner guilty of transporting methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu into the country in violation of Section 15.[48] The decree provided that for violation of said Section 15.000. However.000.A. the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P20. It should be recalled that at the time of the commission of the crime on September 6. R.A.

Consequently. imposed on petitioner the penalty of reclusion perpetua under R. 6425 in that the new penalty provided by the amendatory law shall be applied depending on the quantity of the dangerous drugs involved. In People v. a retroactive effect. the same being more favorable to him. We agree. 7659 could be given retroactive application. should be accorded retroactive application.A. as to him.A. And. Section 17 of R. Article IV of R. No.[50] we held: In People v. which is reclusion perpetua. 2007 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CAG. No. x x x. On the other hand. Martin Simon (G. 7659 amended Section 20.[51] the penalty imposed by the trial court upon petitioner is proper. . No. WHEREFORE premises considered. and considering the rule that criminal statutes with a favorable effect to the accused. No. being more lenient and favorable to the accused than the original provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act. as well as the amount of fine imposed by the trial court upon petitioner. No.A. The trial court.R. since reclusion perpetua is a lighter penalty than life imprisonment. it being more favorable to the petitioner in view of its having a less stricter punishment. 29 July 1994) this Court ruled (a) that the amendatory law. have. 93028.000. 01459 are AFFIRMED. Doroja.A. in this case. SO ORDERED. 2006 Decision and January 16.00 to P10 million. 7659 rather than life imprisonment ratiocinating that R. CR-H.from P500. No.C. the Court sustains the penalty of imprisonment.R. the petition is DENIED and the assailed June 16.

YAO. SR. LUISA C. PETRON CORPORATION and PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORP. WILLIAM C.. . -versus THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. and ROGER C. YAO.. Petitioners. YAO. and NACHURA. CHICO-NAZARIO. and G.R. Chairperson. YAO JR.WILLIAM C. RICHARD C. 168306 Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO. YAO. AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. JJ.. No.

.. Yao... use. symbols... Their LPG products are sold under the marks GASUL and SHELLANE. Shell International Petroleum Company Limited (Shell .. Respondents... 3-2003. sale and distribution of LPG products. Luisa C. Sr... relative to Search Warrants No.its Principal.[6] The following are the facts: Petitioners are incorporators and officers of MASAGANA GAS CORPORATION (MASAGANA)......... Branch 17.. or designs of its principal. Jr.. 2-2003 and No. is the authorized user in the Philippines of the tradename. products and its trademarks. Richard C.. an entity engaged in the refilling. the RTC denied the petitioners Motion to Quash Search Warrant [5] and Motion for the Return of the Motor Compressor and Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) Refilling Machine. and distribute GASUL LPG containers... [4] In the said Orders... William C. Private respondents Petron Corporation (Petron) and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Pilipinas Shell) are two of the largest bulk suppliers and producers of LPG in the Philippines. Pilipinas Shell..: In this Petition for Review on Certiorari[1] under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.. SHELL INTL Promulgated: PETROLEUM CO. Yao pray for the reversal of the Decision dated 30 September 2004. 2007 x .R. both dated 5 June 2003.-x DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO.[3] affirming the two Orders. and Roger C. Petron is the registered owner in the Philippines of the trademarks GASUL and GASUL cylinders used for its LPG products.... LTD. on the other hand.. Yao........ sell... Yao. It is the sole entity in the Philippines authorized to allow refillers and distributors to refill. J.. of the Regional Trial Court (RTC).. petitioners William C... trademarks.. June 19. SP No.. Cavite City.[2] and Resolution dated 1 June 2005. respectively... of the Court of Appeals in CA G... Yao. 79256.

2. the authorized representative of Shell International Petroleum Company Limited (Shell International). otherwise known as The Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines. Barangay Lapidario. Branch 17. It is the only corporation in the Philippines authorized to allow refillers and distributors to refill. and bearing the tradenames. together with Agent Angelo Zarzoso. In his two separate affidavits[9] attached to the two applications for search warrant. the petitioners are actually producing. Somera Jr. Oblanca alleged: 1. was assigned as the NBI agent on the case. he reviewed the certificates of . Trece Martires. 8293. Cavite City. [That] on the basis of the letter-complaint. requesting assistance in the investigation and.International). apprehension and prosecution of certain persons and/or establishments suspected of violating the intellectual property rights [of PETRON] and of PSPC and Shell International. Oblanca (Oblanca) filed two applications for search warrant with the RTC. of Villaraza and Angangco. against petitioners and other occupants of the MASAGANA compound located at Governors Drive. sale and distribution of SHELLANE LPGs. [That] prior to conducting the investigation on the reported illegal activities. and personal verification of Oblanca. selling.[7] On 3 April 2003. in relation to Section 170 of Republic Act No. [Petron Corporation (PETRON)] and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC). National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent Ritche N. trademarks. 3. without authority and in violation of the rights of the said entities. Bienvenido I. if warranted. the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) received a letter-complaint from Atty. for alleged violation of Section 155. including the marks SHELLANE and SHELL device in connection with the production. [That] on 11 February 2003. use. [8] The two applications for search warrant uniformly alleged that per information. belief. offering for sale and/or distributing LPG products using steel cylinders owned by. on behalf of among others. CaviteCity. sell and distribute SHELLANE LPG containers and products. I. and devices of Petron and Pilipinas Shell.

5. Barangay Lapidario. I found out that MASAGANA delivery trucks with Plate Nos. Yao. Yao.trademark registrations issued in favor of [PETRON]. Makati. x x x. Luisa C.. I conducted a test-buy accompanied by Mr. Sr. Alajar. MASAGANA has its principal office address at 9775 Kamagong Street. Alajar. 4. PSPC and Shell International as well as other documents and other evidence obtained by the investigative agency authorized by [PETRON]. MetroManila. UMN-971. x x x. After paying the amount x x x covering the cost of the cylinders and their contents. We were. sale and/or distribution of [Gasul and] Shellane LPG cylinders. San Antonio Village. thereafter. We were issued an order slip which we presented to the cashiers office located near the refilling station. Richard C. PSPC and Shell International. The incorporators and directors of MASAGANA are William C. WTE-527. assisted by the plant attendant in choosing empty GASUL . x x x. they were issued Cash Invoice No. Bernabe C. [That] among the establishments alleged to be unlawfully refilling and unlawfully selling and distributing [Gasul LPG and] Shellane products is Masagana Gas Corporation (MASAGANA). Certified copies of the foregoing trademark registrations are attached hereto as Annexes A to :E. After asking the purpose of our visit. MASAGANAs guard allowed us to enter the MASAGANA refilling plant to purchase GASUL and SHELLANE LPGs. I went to MASAGANAs refilling station located at Governors Drive. Yao. PSPC and Shell International to investigate and cause the investigation of persons and establishments violating the rights of [PETRON]. Jr. XAM-970 and WFC-603 coming in and out of the refilling plant located at the aforementioned address contained multi-brand LPG cylinders including [Gasul and] Shellane. William C.. represented by Mr. 6. Cavite to investigate its activities. I confirmed that MASAGANA is not authorized to use [PETRON and] Shellane LPG cylinders and its trademarks and tradenames or to be refillers or distributors of [PETRON and] Shellane LPGs. and Roger C. Trece Martires City (sic). Yao. 2003. 7. [That] on 13 February 2003. Bernabe C. Yao. Based on Securities and Exchange Commission Records. PEZ-612. 56210 dated February 13. I confirmed that MASAGANA is indeed engaged in the unauthorized refilling.

we were issued an order slip which we presented to the cashier. Upon payment. Copies of the photographs of the delivery trucks. It is also in this storage tank where the elevated blue water tank depicting MASAGANA CORP. was hired by Petron and Pilipinas Shell to assist them in carrying out their Brand Protection Program.[11] . I also noticed that the total land area of the refilling plant is about 7.and SHELLANE 11 kg. Several meters and fronting the said storage tank is where the refilling station and the office are located. [That] while inside the refilling plant doing the test-buy. [That] on 27 February 2003. x x x Both cylinders were refilled in our presence and no valve seals were placed on the cylinders. x x x After choosing the cylinders. Located at the back right corner of the compound are two storage tanks while at the left side also at the corner portion is another storage tank. Bernabe C. At the corner right side of the compound immediately upon entering the gate is a covered area where the maintenance of the cylinders is taking place.000 square meters. Alajar (Alajar).] I noticed that no valve seals were placed on the cylinders. LPG cylinders and registration papers were also attached to the aforementioned affidavits. owner of Able Research and Consulting Services Inc. These were annexed to the two applications for search warrant. 56398 was issued covering the cost of both GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders and their contents. About eleven (11) refilling pumps and stock piles of multi-branded cylinders including Shellane and GASUL are stored in the refilling station. He also executed two separate affidavits corroborating the statements of Oblanca. Cash Invoice No.. Alajar accompanied Oblanca during the surveillance of and testbuys at the refilling plant of MASAGANA. At the left side of the entrance gate is the guard house with small door for the pedestrians and at the right is a blue steel gate used for incoming and outgoing vehicles. is located.[10] Bernabe C. x x x were brought to the refilling station [and filled in their presence. Alajar. I conducted another test-buy accompanied by Mr. cylinders. I noticed that stockpiles of multi-branded cylinders including GASUL and SHELLANE cylinders were stored near the refilling station. 8.000 to 10.

SHELL (Device) of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and the trademarks and other devices owned by Shell International Petroleum Company. XAM970 and WFC-603. 3-2003: . journals. Ltd. LPG weighing scales. Ltd.C.. Branch 17. 6. Compressor/s (for pneumatic refilling system). WTE-527. and 7. Cavite City. 3. c. 2-2003 and No. Empty/filled LPG cylinder tanks/containers. LPG refilling heads/hoses and appurtenances or LPG filling assembly. purchase orders. enumerated hereunder: 1. sale and/or distribution of the aforesaid goods/products.Sadang (Judge Sadang). official receipts. Judge Melchor Q. LPG hydraulic pump/s. b. hauling trucks. Sales invoices. Under Search Warrant No. 3-2003. Delivery truck bearing Plate Nos. bearing the tradename SHELLANE.. Seals simulating the shell trademark. 2. LPG pipeline gate valve or ball valve and handles and levers. Presiding Judge of the RTC. ledgers. 2-2003: a. inventories and documents pertaining to the production. [12]The search warrants commanded any peace officer to make an immediate search of the MASAGANA compound and to seize the following items: Under Search Warrant No. found probable cause and correspondingly issued Search Warrants No.After conducting the preliminary examination on Oblanca and Alajar. 5. Bulk/Bullet LPG storage tanks. d. Machinery and/or equipment being used or intended to be used for the purpose of illegally refilling LPG cylinders belonging to Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation bearing the latterstradename as well as the marks belonging to Shell International Petroleum Company. 4. and/or other delivery trucks or vehicles or conveyances being used or intended to be used for the purpose of selling and/or distributing the above-mentioned counterfeit products. and all other books of accounts. and upon reviewing their sworn affidavits and other attached documents.

Empty/filled LPG cylinder tanks/containers. sale and/or distribution of the aforesaid goods/products. b.a.. inventories and documents pertaining to the production. bearing the tradename of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and the trademarks and other devices owned by Shell International Petroleum Company. Bulk/Bullet LPG storage tanks. ledgers. LPG cylinders. journals. LPG filling heads/hoses and appurtenances or LPG filling assembly. purchase orders. Compressor/s (for pneumatic filling system). and all other books of accounts. c. 4. Ltd. 6. bearing Petron Corporations (Petron) tradename and its tradename GASUL and other devices owned and/or used exclusively by Petron. 3. 1. LPG pipeline gate valve or ball valve and handles levers. LPG hydraulic pump/s. the following articles described in Search Warrant No. Machinery and/or equipment being used or intended to be used for the purpose of illegally refilling LPG cylinders belonging to Petron enumerated hereunder. Upon the issuance of the said search warrants. PEZ612 and WFC-603. Delivery trucks bearing Plate Nos. 7. Oblanca and several NBI operatives immediately proceeded to the MASAGANA compound and served the search warrants on petitioners. and Seals bearing the Petron mark. and/or other delivery trucks or vehicles or conveyances being used for the purpose of selling and/or distributing the above-mentioned counterfeit products. Sales invoices. UMN-971. official receipts.[13] After searching the premises of MASAGANA. 5. 22003 were seized: a. . and d. 2. LPG weighing scales. hauling trucks. Thirty-eight (38) filled 11 kg.

Pursuant to Search Warrant No. Five (5) tampered 50 kg. One (1) set of motor compressor for filling system. bearing Petrons tradename and its trademark GASUL and other devices owned and/or used exclusively by Petron. Ltd.. b.. e. bearing the tradename of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and the trademarks and other devices owned by Shell International Petroleum Company. bearing Petrons tradename and its trademark GASUL and other devices owned and/or used exclusively by Petron. One (1) set of motor compressor for filling system. and f. LPG cylinders. 3-2003.. One (1) set of LPG refilling machine. Three (3) empty 50 kg. Six (6) filled 11 kg. LPG cylinders. Seven (7) tampered 11 kg. bearing the tradename of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and the trademarks and other devices owned by Shell International Petroleum Company. LPG cylinders.b. c. d. LPG cylinders. Ltd. d. . LPG cylinders. bearing Petrons tradename and its trademark GASUL and other devices owned and/or used exclusively by Petron. Sixty-three (63) empty 11 kg. e. bearing the tradename of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation and the trademarks and other devices owned by Shell International Petroleum Company. the following articles were also seized: a. LPG cylinders. Ltd. c. LPG cylinders without seal. Eight (8) filled 50 kg. Thirty-nine (39) empty 11 kg. bearing Petrons tradename and its trademark GASUL and other devices owned and/or used exclusively by Petron with tampered GASUL logo.

[16] . petitioners filed with the RTC a Motion to Quash Search Warrants No. Furthermore. the RTC issued two Orders. they committed perjury when they alleged in their sworn statements that they conducted a test-buy on two occasions. that these items were used in the operation of its legitimate business.On 22 April 2003. 2. filed with the RTC a Motion for the Return of Motor Compressor and LPG Refilling Machine. The search warrant is characterized as a general warrant as the items to be seized as mentioned in the search warrant are being used in the conduct of the lawful business of respondents and the same are not being used in refilling Shellane and Gasul LPGs.[15] It claimed that it is the owner of the said motor compressor and LPG refilling machine. 3-2003. On 5 June 2003. Oblanca and his witness Bernabe C. 2-2003 and No. for lack of merit. 2-2003 and No. 3-2003[14] on the following grounds: 1. On 30 April 2003. as third party claimant. 3. There is no probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant and the conditions for the issuance of a search warrant were not complied with. The place to be searched was not specified in the Search Warrant as the place has an area of 10. Applicant NBI Agent Ritchie N. one of which denied the petitioners Motion to Quash Search Warrants No. for which reason the place to be searched must be indicated with particularity. and that their seizure will jeopardize its business interests. 4.000 square meters (one hectare) more or less. Alajar do not have any authority to apply for a search warrant. and the other one also denied the Motion for the Return of Motor Compressor and LPG Refilling Machine of MASAGANA. MASAGANA.

photographs. as well as the documentary evidence consisting of receipts. that by its very nature. and as such. what is important is that the seized items were used or intended to be used as means of committing the offense complained of. As regards the Order denying the motion of MASAGANA for the return of its motor compressor and LPG refilling machine. there is probable cause to believe that petitioners are engaged in the business of refilling or using cylinders which bear the trademarks or devices of Petron and Pilipinas Shell in the place sought to be searchedand that such activity is probably in violation of Section 155 in relation to Section 170 of Republic Act No. 2-2003 and No. the RTC held that based on the testimonies of Oblancaand Alajar. 8293. It maintained that to rule otherwise would result in the misapplication and debasement of the veil of corporate fiction. and that the items to be seized in the subject search warrants were sufficiently described with particularity as the same was limited to cylinder tanks bearing the trademarks GASUL and SHELLANE. the properties sought to be returned in the instant case appear to be related to and intended for the illegal . It also ruled that Oblanca and Alajar had personal knowledge of the acts complained of since they were the ones who monitored the activities of and conducted test-buys on MASAGANA. the RTC ratiocinated that ownership by another person or entity of the seized items is not a ground to order its return. there was no need to particularize the areas within the compound that would be searched. that the search warrants in question are not general warrants because the compound searched are solely used and occupied by MASAGANA. 3-2003.With respect to the Order denying the petitioners motion to quash Search Warrants No. Further. the RTC resolved that MASAGANA cannot be considered a third party claimant whose rights were violated as a result of the seizure since the evidence disclosed that petitioners are stockholders of MASAGANA and that they conduct their business through the same juridical entity. intellectual property and corporate registration papers. It also stated that the veil of corporate fiction cannot be used as a refuge from liability. that in seizures pursuant to a search warrant.

2003 are hereby AFFIRMED. The assailed orders both dated June 5. but this was denied in its Resolution dated 1 June 2005 for lack of merit. Grave abuse of discretion has not been proven to exist in this case. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT NBI AGENT (RITCHIE OBLANCA) CAN APPLY FOR THE SEARCH WARRANTS NOTHWITHSTANDING HIS LACK OF AUTHORITY. and that the items seized are instruments of an offense. petitioners appealed the two Orders of the RTC to the Court of Appeals via a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. this Court finds no reason to disturb the assailed Orders of the respondent judge. Petitioners filed Motions for Reconsideration of the assailed Orders.activity for which the search warrants were applied for. II. The decretal portion thereof reads: Based on the foregoing.[19] On30 September 2004.[22] Petitioners filed the instant petition on the following grounds: I. [20] It adopted in essence the bases and reasons of the RTC in its two Orders. Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration [21] of the Decision of the Court of Appeals.[18] [17] Subsequently. the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision affirming the Orders of the RTC. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF RTC CAVITE CITY HAD SUFFICIENT BASIS IN DECLARING THE EXISTENCE OF PROBABLE CAUSE. WHEREFORE. the petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. but these were denied by the RTC in its Order dated 21 July 2003 for lack of compelling reasons. .

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE REQUIREMENT OF GIVING A PARTICULAR DESCRIPTION OF THE PLACE TO BE SEARCHED WAS COMPLIED WITH. Villanueva as shown in the Entry/Exit Slips of MASAGANA.III. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE APPLICATIONS AND THE SEARCH WARRANTS THEMSELVES SHOW NO AMBIGUITY OF THE ITEMS TO BE SEIZED. HENCE MASAGANA GAS CORPORATION MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS THIRD PARTY CLAIMANT WHOSE RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED AS A RESULT OF THE SEIZURE. ACTING THROUGH ITS OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE COMPLAINT IS DIRECTED AGAINST MASAGANA GAS CORPORATION. and that even if it were true that Oblanca and Alajar asked Nikko Javier and G. that the transactions were undertaken by other persons namely. that the truth of the matter is that Oblanca and Alajar never made the purchases personally.[24] Petitioners also contend that if Oblanca and Alajar had indeed used different names in purchasing the LPG cylinders. V. Nikko Javier and G. that it was only after the petitioners had . they should have mentioned it in their applications for search warrants and in their testimonies during the preliminary examination. the information relayed by the latter two to the former was mere hearsay. petitioners allege that Oblanca and Alajar had no personal knowledge of the matters on which they testified. Villanueva to conduct the test-buys. IV. that Oblanca and Alajar lied to JudgeSadang when they stated under oath that they were the ones who conducted the test-buys on two different occasions.[23] Apropos the first issue.

and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable. provides with more particularity the requisites in issuing a search warrant. that Alajar is not connected with either of the private respondents. (emphasis supplied). of the present Constitution states requirements before a search warrant may be validly issued. and that the questions Judge Sadang asked were merely rehash of the contents of the affidavits of Oblanca and Alajar. that although Judge Sadang examined Oblanca and Alajar. Article III. Section 2. the former did not ask exhaustive questions. that Alajar was not in a position to inform the RTC as to the distinguishing trademarks of SHELLANE and GASUL. to wit: the Section 2. that Oblanca was not also competent to testify on the marks allegedly infringed by petitioners. A search warrant shall not issue except upon probable cause in connection with one specific offense to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the . viz: SEC. The right of the people to be secure in their persons.[25] These contentions are devoid of merit.submitted to the RTC the entry/exit slips showing different personalities who made the purchases that Oblanca and Alajar explained that they had to use different names in order to avoid detection. and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. papers. Section 4 of Rule 126 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. 4. that the findings of the Brand Protection Committee of Pilipinas Shell were not submitted nor presented to the RTC. that Judge Sadang failed to ask probing questions on the distinguishing marks of SHELLANE and GASUL. Requisites for issuing search warrant. and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce. houses.

offering for sale.[27] The applicant or his witnesses must have personal knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense being complained of. or advertising of goods or .1. Probable cause for search warrant means such facts and circumstances which would lead a reasonably discreet and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place to be searched. a search warrant can be issued only upon a finding of probable cause. Reliable information is insufficient. or to cause mistake. distribution. Mere affidavits are not enough. distribution. and the judge must depose in writing the complainant and his witnesses. data or information personally known to the applicant and the witnesses he may present. offering for sale. advertising of any goods or services including other preparatory steps necessary to carry out the sale of any goods or services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion. 8293 identifies the acts constituting trademark infringement. counterfeit. According to the foregoing provisions. wrappers. or to deceive. 155. receptacles or advertisements intended to be used in commerce upon or in connection with the sale. Remedies. copy or colorable imitation to labels. prints.[28] Section 155 of Republic Act No. counterfeit. thus: SEC. packages. Use in commerce any reproduction. counterfeit. copy or colorably imitate a registered mark or a dominant feature thereof and apply such reproduction. Any person who shall. or 155. copy.2. Reproduce. and particularly describing the place to be searched and the things to be seized which may be anywhere in the Philippines. Infringement.[26] The facts and circumstances being referred thereto pertain to facts. signs. without the consent of the owner of the registered mark: 155.complainant and the witnesses he may produce. or colorable imitation of a registered mark or the same container or a dominant feature thereof in connection with the sale.

services on or in connection with which such use is likely to cause confusion. that he confirmed from Petron and Pilipinas Shell that MASAGANA is not authorized to sell. or to deceive. that the said GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders were refilled in their presence by the MASAGANA employees. mistake or deception among the buyers/consumers can be considered as trademark infringement. In support of the foregoing statements. that he and Alajar monitored the activities of MASAGANA in its refilling plant station located within its compound at Governors Drive. As can be gleaned in Section 155.[29] Oblanca stated that before conducting an investigation on the alleged illegal activities of MASAGANA. he noticed stock piles of multi-branded cylinders including GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders. In his sworn affidavits. using different names. refill or distribute GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinder containers. that while they were inside the MASAGANA compound.1. he reviewed the certificates of trademark registrations issued by the Philippine Intellectual Property Office in favor of Petron and Pilipinas Shell. These allegations were corroborated by Alajar in his separate affidavits. that. and that they observed delivery trucks loaded with GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders coming in and out of the MASAGANA compound and making deliveries to various retail outlets. shall be liable in a civil action for infringement by the registrant for the remedies hereinafter set forth: Provided. use. That the infringement takes place at the moment any of the acts stated in Subsection 155. Oblanca also submitted the following documentary and object evidence: . or to cause mistake. they conducted two test-buys therein where they purchased LPG cylinders bearing the trademarks GASUL and SHELLANE. mere unauthorized use of a container bearing a registered trademark in connection with the sale.1 or this subsection are committed regardless of whether there is actual sale of goods or services using the infringing material. Trece Martires. Cavite City. Barangay Lapidario. distribution or advertising of goods or services which is likely to cause confusion.

Cash Invoice No. 57945 for the mark GASUL in the name of Petron. 3. 5. Pictures of delivery trucks coming in and out of Masagana while it delivered Gasul and Shellane LPG. Certified true copy of the Certificate of Registration No. . Certified true copy of the Certificate of Registration No. Certified true copy of the Certificate of Registration No.1. Certified true copy of the By-laws of Masagana. 6. 13. 44046 for SHELL (DEVICE) in the name of Shell International. Certified true copy of the Certificate of Registration No. Certified true copy of the Certificate of Registration No. 2. 8. 31443 for SHELLANE in the name of Shell International. 41789 for SHELL (DEVICE) in the name of Shell International. 4. 61920 for the mark GASUL AND DEVICE in the name of Petron. R-2813 for SHELL in the name of Shell International. 10. 7. Certified true copy of the latest General Information Sheet of Masagana on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 37525 for SHELL (DEVICE) in the name of Shell International. 12. C-147 for GASUL CYLINDER CONTAINING LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS in the name of Petron. Certified true copy of the Certificate of Registration No. Certified true copy of the Articles of Incorporation of Masagana. 11. Certified true copy of the Certificate of Registration No. 56210 dated 13 February 2003 issued by Masagana for the Gasul and Shellane LPG purchased by Agent Oblanca and witness Alajar. 9. Certified true copy of the Certificate of Registration No.

56398 purchased from Masagana by Agent Oblanca and witness Alajar. documentary and object evidence is that Oblanca and Alajar have personal knowledge of the fact that petitioners. They also personally witnessed the refilling of LPG cylinders bearing the marks GASUL and SHELLANE inside the MASAGANA refilling plant station and the deliveries of these refilled containers to some outlets using mini-trucks. Pictures of the Shellane and Gasul LPGs covered by Cash Invoice No. Cash Invoice No. 15. The standards of judgment are those of a reasonably prudent man. As the term implies. It is a common practice of the law enforcers such as NBI agents during covert investigations . through MASAGANA. the aforesaid facts and circumstances are sufficient to establish probable cause.14. It should be borne in mind that the determination of probable cause does not call for the application of the rules and standards of proof that a judgment of conviction requires after trial on the merits. not absolute or even moral certainty. not the exacting calibrations of a judge after a full blown trial.[30] Extant from the foregoing testimonial. a probable cause for trademark infringement. Both Oblanca and Alajar were clear and insistent that they were the very same persons who monitored the activities of MASAGANA. that they conducted test-buys thereon. 56210 purchased from Masagana by Agent Oblanca and witness Alajar. 56398 dated 27 February 2003 issued by Masagana for the Gasul and Shellane LPG purchased by Agent Oblanca and witness Alajar. probable cause is concerned with probability. and that in order to avoid suspicion. Indeed. [31] The fact that Oblanca and Alajar used different names in the purchase receipts do not negate personal knowledge on their part. have been using the LPG cylinders bearing the marks GASUL and SHELLANE without permission from Petron and Pilipinas Shell. Pictures of the Shellane and Gasul LPGs covered by Cash Invoice No. they used different names during the test-buys. and 16.

As earlier discussed. he studied and familiarized himself with the registered trademarks of GASUL and SHELLANE. The argument is too vacuous to merit serious consideration. and the distinct features of the LPG cylinders bearing the same trademarks before conducting surveillance and test-buys on MASAGANA. [32] As part of the job. works as a private investigator and. Alajar. These certifications of trademark registrations were attached by Oblanca in his applications for the search warrants. This is reasonable and understandable so as not to endanger the life of the undercover agents and to facilitate the lawful arrest or apprehension of suspected violators of the law.[33] He also submitted to Oblanca several copies of the same registered trademark registrations and accompanied Oblanca during the surveillance and test-buys.to use different names in order to conceal their true identities. or to divulge such fact during the preliminary examination. . it is not difficult to believe that Oblanca and Alajar failed to mention that they used aliases in entering the MASAGANA compound due to mere oversight. Petitioners contention that Oblanca and Alajar should have mentioned the fact that they used different names in their respective affidavits and during the preliminary examination is puerile. he reviewed the certificates of trademark registrations issued by the Philippine Intellectual Property Office in favor of Petron and Pilipinas Shell. His firm was hired and authorized. In the light of other more material facts which needed to be established for a finding of probable cause. owns a private investigation and research/consultation firm. It cannot be gainfully said that Oblanca and Alajar are not competent to testify on the trademarks infringed by the petitioners. There is nothing in the provisions of law concerning the issuance of a search warrant which directly or indirectly mandates that the applicant of the search warrant or his witnesses should state in their affidavits the fact that they used different names while conducting undercover investigations. on the other hand. to verify reports that MASAGANA is involved in the illegal sale and refill of GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders. Oblanca declared under oath that before conducting an investigation on the alleged illegal activities of MASAGANA. pursuant to the Brand Protection Program of Petron and Pilipinas Shell. in fact.

in writing under oath. inquired as to where the test-buys were conducted and by whom. verified whether PSPC and PETRON have registered trademarks or tradenames. Examination of complainant. personally examine in the form of searching questions and answers. The searching questions propounded to the applicant and the witnesses depend largely on the discretion of the judge. the complainant and the witnesses he may produce on facts personally known to them and attach to the record their sworn statements. Section 5 of Rule 126 of the Revised Rules on CriminalProcedure. general.[34] After perusing the Transcript of Stenographic Notes of the preliminary examination. before issuing the warrant. prescribes the rules in the examination of the complainant and his witnesses when applying for search warrant. together with the affidavits submitted. Although there is no hard-andfast rule governing how a judge should conduct his investigation. [35] The testimonies of Oblanca and Alajar were consistent with each other and their narration of facts was credible. it is axiomatic that the examination must be probing and exhaustive. As correctly found by the Court of Appeals: This Court is likewise not convinced that respondent Judge failed to ask probing questions in his determination of the existence of probable cause. For instance. not at all superficial and perfunctory. to wit: SEC. 5. required the NBI witness to explain how the test-buys were conducted and to describe the LPG cylinders purchased from Masagana Gas . peripheral. record.As to whether the form and manner of questioning made by Judge Sadang complies with the requirements of law. he required the NBI agent to confirm the contents of his affidavit. perfunctory or pro forma. we found the questions of Judge Sadang to be sufficiently probing.. not merely routinary.The judge must not simply rehash the contents of the affidavit but must make his own inquiry on the intent and justification of the application. This Court has thoroughly examined the Transcript of Stenographic Notes taken during the investigation conducted by the respondent Judge and found that respondent Judge lengthily inquired into the circumstances of the case.The judge must.

that Oblanca is a member of the Anti-Organized Crime and not that of the Intellectual Property Division of the NBI. of Villaraza and Angangco Law Office was not produced in court. the findings of the judge deserves great weight. that it is highly irregular that an agent not assigned to the Intellectual Property Division would apply for a search warrant and without authority from the NBI Director. that all complaints for infringement should be investigated by the Intellectual Property Division of the NBI. inquired why the applications for Search Warrant were filed in Cavite City considering that Masagana Gas Corporation was located in Trece Martires. and inquired about their alleged tailing and monitoring of the delivery trucks.[38] We reject these protestations. The authority of Oblanca to apply for the search warrants in question is clearly discussed and explained in his affidavit. that Judge Sadang did not requireOblanca to produce the alleged letter-complaint which is material and relevant to the determination of the existence of probable cause. Anent the second issue. that the alleged letter-complaint of Atty.[37] We find no compelling reason to disturb Judge Sadangs findings herein. The reviewing court can overturn such findings only upon proof that the judge disregarded the facts before him or ignored the clear dictates of reason. Jr. being two different corporations. x x x. and that Petron and Pilipinas Shell. Bienvenido Somera. viz: . Cavite. should have issued a board resolution authorizing the Villaraza and Angangco Law Office to apply for search warrant in their behalf. inquired whether the NBI Agent has a sketch of the place and if there was any distinguishing sign to identify the place to be searched.Corporation. petitioners argue that Judge Sadang failed to require Oblanca to show his authority to apply for search warrants.[36] Since probable cause is dependent largely on the opinion and findings of the judge who conducted the examination and who had the opportunity to question the applicant and his witnesses.

was assigned as the NBI agent on the case. coupled with the object and documentary evidence they presented. Jr. the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) received a letter-complaint from Atty. Somera. as an NBI agent. However. the affidavits of Oblanca and Alajar. which specifically commands that the applicant law enforcer must be a member of a division that is assigned or related to the subject crime or offense before the application for search warrant may be acted upon. are sufficient to establish probable cause. Neither is the presentation of the letter-complaint of Atty. is a public officer who had regularly performed his official duty. if warranted. the authorized representative of Shell International Petroleum Company Limited (SHELL INTERNATIONAL)] requesting assistance in the investigation and. Bienvenido I. As heretofore discussed.Petron Corporation (PETRON) [and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC). petitioners may only be referring to the administrative organization and/or internal rule or practice of the NBI. It can also be presumed that Oblanca. As aptly stated by the RTC and the Court of Appeals. The petitioners did not also cite any law. of Villaraza and Angangco. apprehension and prosecution of certain persons and/or establishments suspected of violating the intellectual property rights of PETRON [and of PSPC and Shell International.[That] on 11 February 2003. At most. Somera and board resolutions from Petron and Pilipinas Shell required or necessary in determining probable cause. there is nothing in the provisions on search warrant under Rule 126 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. I.[40] He would not have initiated an investigation on . rule or regulation mandating such requirement. [That] on the basis of the letter-complaint.] 11. together with Agent Angelo Zarzoso. but they also did not prove that such administrative organization and/or internal rule or practice are inviolable.[39] The fact that Oblanca is a member of the Anti-Organized Crime Division and not that of the Intellectual Property Division does not abrogate his authority to apply for search warrant. not only did petitioners failed to establish the existence thereof. on behalf of among others.

and when he knows that the judge who issued the warrant intended the compound described in the affidavit. was already familiar with the MASAGANA compound as he and Alajar had monitored and conducted test-buys thereat. The long standing rule is that a description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officer with the warrant can. with reasonable effort. Moreover. Cavite City.00 square meters with several structures erected on the lot. Somera did not step up to deny his letter-complaint. in the determination of whether a search warrant describes the premises to be searched with sufficient particularity. it has been held that the executing officers prior knowledge as to the place intended in the warrant is relevant. giving the raiding team wide latitude in determining what areas they can search. They aver that the search warrants were general warrants. who was with the raiding team. Petitioners also assert that since the MASAGANA compound is about 10. . satisfies the constitutional requirement. This would seem to be especially true where the executing officer is the affiant on whose affidavit the warrant had been issued.000. Barangay Lapidario.[42] The search warrants in question commanded any peace officer to make an immediate search on MASAGANA compound located at Governors Drive. hence. Oblanca. the search warrants should have defined the areas to be searched. Regarding the third issue.Trece Martires. and on inquiry leads the officers unerringly to it. Any designation or description known to the locality that points out the place to the exclusion of all others. ascertain and identify the place intended and distinguish it from other places in the community.[41] Moreover. and are therefore violative of the Constitution. petitioners posit that the applications for search warrants of Oblanca did not specify the particular area to be searched. Cavite City. Atty. It appears that the raiding team had ascertained and reached MASAGANA compound without difficulty since MASAGANA does not have any other offices/plants in Trece Martires.MASAGANA without a proper complaint. Furthermore.

there was no need to particularize the areas to be searched because. in our view. or when the things described are limited to those which bear direct relation to the offense for which the warrant is being issued. this requisite was complied with in the instant case. yet the description is required to be specific only in so far as the circumstances will ordinarily allow. Substantial similarity of those articles described as a class or specie would suffice.[43] While it is true that the property to be seized under a warrant must be particularly described therein and no other property can be taken thereunder.[44] . the place to be searched can be distinguished in relation to the other places in the community. the articles subject of the search and seizure need not be so invariant as to require absolute concordance. as correctly stated by Petronand Pilipinas Shell. The law does not require that the things to be seized must be described in precise and minute details as to leave no room for doubt on the part of the searching authorities. these structures constitute the essential and necessary components of the petitioners business and cannot be treated separately as they form part of one entire compound. or when the description expresses a conclusion of fact not of law by which the warrant officer may be guided in making the search and seizure. otherwise it would be virtually impossible for the applicants to obtain a search warrant as they would not know exactly what kind of things they are looking for. between those seized and those described in the warrant. however. A search warrant may be said to particularly describe the things to be seized when the description therein is as specific as the circumstances will ordinarily allow.Even if there are several structures inside the MASAGANA compound. Once described. The compound is owned and used solely by MASAGANA. As to the fourth issue. petitioners asseverate that the search warrants did not indicate with particularity the items to be seized since the search warrants merely described the items to be seized as LPG cylinders bearing the trademarks GASUL and SHELLANE without specifying their sizes. Indubitably. What the case law merely requires is that.

since the described items are clearly limited only to those which bear direct relation to the offense. for which the warrant was issued. (2) Machines and equipments used or intended to be used in the illegal refilling of GASUL and SHELLANE cylinders. The articles to be confiscated were restricted to the following: (1) LPG cylinders bearing the trademarks GASUL and SHELLANE.or in the case of two . when the notion of legal entity is used to defeat public convenience. we find that the items to be seized under the search warrants in question were sufficiently described with particularity. that the items seized by the raiding team were being used in the legitimate business of MASAGANA. the indication of the accurate sizes of the GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders or tanks would be unnecessary. Finally. No. (3) Documents which pertain only to the production.M. or defend crime. WTE527.[45] Additionally. 8293. it is only fair that the seized articles be returned to the lawful owner in accordance with Section 20 of A. directors or officers. i.Measured against this standard. petitioners claim that MASAGANA has the right to intervene and to move for the return of the seized items. Given the foregoing. It is an elementary and fundamental principle of corporation law that a corporation is an entity separate and distinct from its stockholders. and that there being no action for infringement filed against them and/or MASAGANA from the seizure of the items up to the present. protect fraud.e. the requirement of particularity of description is satisfied. hauling trucks. that the raiding team had no right to seize them under the guise that the same were being used in refilling GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders. and (4) Delivery trucks bearing Plate Nos. 02-1-06-SC. These machines were also specifically enumerated and listed in the search warrants. However. violation of section 155 of Republic Act No. the law will regard the corporation as an association of persons. and/or other delivery trucks or vehicles or conveyances being used or intended to be used for the purpose of selling and/or distributing GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders. justify wrong.. sale and distribution of the GASUL and SHELLANE LPG cylinders. XAM-970 and WFC-603.

Where the separate corporate entity is disregarded. the corporation will be treated merely as an association of persons and the stockholders or members will be considered as the corporation. The law does not require that the property to be seized should be owned by the person against whom the search warrants is directed. the properties seized belong to MASAGANA as a separate entity. these items will be used again in violating the intellectual property rights of Petron and Pilipinas Shell. therefore. is of no consequence.[47] As we now find. the RTC was justified in denying the petitioners motion for their return so as to prevent the petitioners and/or MASAGANA from using them again in trademark infringement. the effect will be the same. LPG refilling machine and the GASUL and SHELL LPG cylinders seized were the corpus delicti. These were the very instruments used or intended to be used by the petitioners in trademark infringement. MASAGANAs third party claim serves no refuge for petitioners. Thus. liability will attach personally or directly to the officers and stockholders. and it is sufficient that the person against whom the warrant is directed has control or possession of the property sought to be seized. Consequently. Even if we were to sustain the separate personality of MASAGANA from that of the petitioners. even if. as petitioners claimed. it is apparent that the motor compressor.[49] Thus. [48] Hence. or the evidence of the commission of trademark infringement. are utilizing the latter in violating the intellectual property rights of Petron and Pilipinas Shell. their seizure pursuant to the search warrants is still valid. if returned to MASAGANA. . Further. the petitioners. as directors/officers of MASAGANA. It is possible that.corporations merge them into one. the law will not recognize the separate corporate existence if the corporation is being used pursuant to the foregoing unlawful objectives. the body or substance of the crime. Ownership. [46] In other words. petitioners collectively and MASAGANA should be considered as one and the same person for liability purposes. This non-recognition is sometimes referred to as the doctrine of piercing the veil of corporate entity or disregarding the fiction of corporate entity. that is.

The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. . [50] is not tenable. dated 30 September 2004 and 1 June 2005. 02-1-06-SC is not applicable in the present case because it governs only searches and seizures in civil actions for infringement of intellectual property rights. the petition is DENIED. 8293. 02-1-06-SC. are hereby AFFIRMED. [51] The offense complained of herein is for criminal violation of Section 155 in relation to Section 170[52] of Republic Act No.Petitioners reliance on Section 20 of A. WHEREFORE. SP No.M. A. As correctly observed by the Solicitor General. respectively.R. SO ORDERED.M. No. Costs against petitioners. 79256.