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8/4/2016

G.R.No.208169

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila
FIRSTDIVISION
G.R.No.208169October8,2014
PEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,PlaintiffAppellee,
vs.
EDWARDADRIANOySALES,AccusedAppellant.
RESOLUTION
PEREZ,J.:
ForreviewistheconvictionofEdwardAdrianoySales(Adriano)forthecrimeofillegalsaleofshabupunishable
under Section 5, Article II of the Republic Act No. 9165 (R.A. No. 9165), otherwise known as Comprehensive
DangerousDrugsAct(CDDA)of2002,bytheCourtofAppeals(CA)inaDecision1dated29October2012inCA
G.R.CRH.C.No.05182,whichaffirmedtheDecision2oftheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC)dated23August2011in
"PeopleofthePhilippinesv.EdwardAdrianoySales",docketedasCriminalCaseNo.16444D.
TheInformation
That on or about 25th day of October 2008, in the City of Taguig, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this
Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, without being authorized by law, sell, deliver, and give away to a
poseurbuyer,zeropointtwelve(0.12)gramofawhitecrystallinesubstance,commonlyknownas"shabu"which
isadangerousdrug,inconsiderationoftheamountofTwoHundredPesos(Php200.00)andinviolationofthe
above cited law.3 When arraigned, Adriano pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. During the pretrial
conferenceon13July2009,thepartiesstipulatedonthefollowing:
1.Theidentityoftheaccusedasthesamepersonnamedintheinformation
2.Theexistenceofthespecimensanddocumentsmarkedasevidencebutwithacounterproposalthatthe
forensicchemisthasnopersonalknowledgeastothesourceofthespecimen3.Thequalificationofthe
forensicchemist,P/Sr.Insp.YelahManaog
4.TheexistenceanddueexecutionofthePhysicalScienceReportNo.D33408
5.ThedueexecutionandgenuinenessoftheFINDINGSonthequalitativeexaminationconductedonthe
specimens gave POSITIVE result to the test for the presence of Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a
dangerousdrug4
Duringtrial,theprosecutionpresentedPoliceOfficer1TeodoroMorales(PO1Morales),whotestifiedthatacting
on a report received from a barangay official and an informant that Adriano was selling drugs in North Daang
Hari,TaguigCity,PoliceChiefInspectorPorfirioCalaganformedateamtoconductabuybustoperationtoentrap
Adriano, designating PO1 Morales as the poseurbuyer, and marking the buybust money consisting of ten
P100.00 bills with the initials "PC". After briefing, PO1 Morales, together with the informant and his team,
proceededtoNorthDaangHariwherePO1MoralesboughtP200.00worthofshabufromAdriano.Upongiving
Adriano the marked money and after receiving a plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance, PO1
Morales signaled his team to arrest Adriano. PO2 Ronnie Fabroa immediately arrested Adriano.5 The marked
money confiscated from Adriano was brought to the police station for investigation, while the plastic sachet
containingwhitecrystallinesubstance,whichwasmarkedwith"ESA251008"6atthecrimescenewasbroughtto
thePhilippineNationalPolice(PNP)CrimeLaboratorybyPO2VergelioDelRosario,whoalsopreparedtheletter
request.7
InthePNPCrimeLaboratory,theresultofthelaboratoryexaminationconductedbyPolice/SeniorInspectorYelah
Manaogconfirmedthepresenceofmethamphetaminehydrochloride.8
Ontheotherhand,thedefensepresentedAdriano,whotestifiedthaton22October2008,ataround10:00p.m.,
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he was at home, putting his nephews and nieces to sleep when suddenly two (2) armed men barged into the
house and dragged him outside and forcibly took him to the police station in Taguig City. It was only whenthey
arrivedatthepolicestationwhenhelearnedthathewasarrestedforillegalsaleofshabu.9
TheRulingoftheRTC
In a Decision dated 23 August 2011, the RTC found Adriano guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime
charged. TheRTCgavecredencetothetestimonyofPO1Moralesbasedonthepresumptionthatpoliceofficers
performtheirdutiesinaregularmannerbecausethedefensefailedtoestablishanyillmotiveonthepartofthe
arrestingofficerstoatleastcreateadentintheprosecutionscase.ThepositiveidentificationofAdrianoasthe
perpetrator of the crime charged without any showing of illmotive on the part of the witness testifying on the
matter,prevailsoverAdrianosalibianddenial.Thedispositiveportionofthedecisionreads:
1 w p h i1

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the accused Edward Adriano y Sales is hereby found GUILTY beyond
reasonable doubt of committing the crime, as charged, and is hereby sentenced to suffer the penalty of LIFE
IMPRISONMENTandafineofFIVEHUNDREDTHOUSANDPESOS(PHP500,000.00).10xxxx
On appeal, Adriano argued that the shabu allegedly seized from his possession is inadmissible because of the
followingreasons:(1)thewarrantlessarrestonhispersonisinvalidand(2)thearrestingofficersviolatedSection
21ofR.A.No.9165.Adrianoassertedthatthewarrantlessarrestwasillegalbecausetherewasnoreasonwhy
thepoliceofficerscouldnothaveobtainedajudicialwarrantbeforethearrest.
TheRulingoftheCA
TheCAaffirmedtherulingoftheRTC.TheCAruledthattheprosecutionestablishedtheelementsofthecrimeof
illegalsaleofshabu.EveniftheprosecutionfailedtocomplywiththerequirementsprovidedinSection21ofR.A.
No.9165,suchnoncompliancedidnotrendertheseizeditemsinadmissibleinevidence.Further,theCArejected
the defenses attempt to debunk PO1 Morales testimony based on the defenses failure to substantiate its
allegationofillmotiveonthepartofthearrestingofficers.
The appeal before us maintained thatthe lower courts gravely erred in not finding the warrantless arrest on the
personofAdrianoasillegalandinconvictingAdrianodespitethepoliceofficersnoncompliancewithSection21of
R.A.No.9165.
Weruleinthenegative.
OurRuling
Inprosecutionsforillegalsaleofdangerousdrugs,thefollowingtwo(2)elementsmustbedulyestablished:(1)
proofthatthetransactionorsaletookplaceand(2)thepresentationincourtofthecorpusdelictiortheillicitdrug
asevidence.11
Inthecaseatbar,theprosecutiondulyestablishedthetwo(2)elements:(1)toaccountthatthetransactionor
sale indeed took place, PO1 Morales narrated the transaction in a clear and direct manner and (2) the seized
illegaldrugsandmarkedmoneywerepresentedbeforethetrialcourtasproofoftheidentityoftheobjectofthe
crimeandofthecorpusdelicti.12
TheargumentonthearrestingofficersnoncompliancewithSection21ofR.A.No.9165dealswiththeprocedure
forthecustodyanddispositionofconfiscated,seizedorsurrendereddangerousdrugs.Thelawreads:
Section21.CustodyandDispositionofConfiscated,Seized,and/orSurrenderedDangerousDrugs,PlantSources
of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or
LaboratoryEquipment.ThePDEAshalltakechargeandhavecustodyofalldangerousdrugs,plantsourcesof
dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or
laboratoryequipmentsoconfiscated,seizedand/orsurrendered,forproperdispositioninthefollowingmanner:
(1)Theapprehendingteamhavinginitialcustodyandcontrolofthedrugsshall,immediatelyafterseizure
and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the
person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any elected public official who
shallberequiredtosignthecopiesoftheinventoryandbegivenacopythereof
(2)Withintwentyfour(24)hoursuponconfiscation/seizureofdangerousdrugs,plantsourcesofdangerous
drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well asinstruments/paraphernalia and/or
laboratoryequipment,thesameshallbesubmittedtothePDEAForensicLaboratoryforaqualitativeand
quantitativeexamination
(3) A certification of the forensic laboratory examination results, which shall be done under oath by the
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forensiclaboratoryexaminer,shallbeissuedwithintwentyfour(24)hoursafterthereceiptofthesubject
item/s: Provided, That when the volume of the dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, and
controlled precursors and essential chemicals does not allow the completion of testing within the time
frame,apartiallaboratoryexaminationreportshallbeprovisionallyissuedstatingthereinthequantitiesof
dangerousdrugsstilltobeexaminedbytheforensiclaboratory:Provided,however,Thatafinalcertification
shallbeissuedonthecompletedforensiclaboratoryexaminationonthesamewithinthenexttwentyfour
(24)hours
However, it has been repeatedly noted by the Court, the Implementing Rules of R.A. No. 9165 offer some
measureofflexibilitythroughtheproviso,"noncompliancewiththeserequirementsunderjustifiablegrounds,as
long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending
officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items". Otherwise stated,
noncompliancedoesnotinvalidatetheseizureorrenderthearrestoftheaccusedillegalortheitemsseizedfrom
himasinadmissibleaslongastheintegrityandevidentiaryvalueoftheseizeditemsarepreserved.
Toprovethattheintegrityandevidentiaryvalueoftheseizeditemsarepreserved,theImplementingRulesallow
theprosecutiontoestablishanunbrokenchainofcustodyoftheseizeditem,whichinthiscase,hasbeenduly
establishedbytheprosecution."Chainofcustody"meansthedulyrecordedauthorizedmovementsandcustody
ofseizeddrugsorcontrolledchemicalsfromthetimeofseizure/confiscationtoreceiptintheforensiclaboratoryto
safekeepingtopresentationincourtfordestruction.13
ThedetailsoftheunbrokenchainofcustodyasfoundbytheCA:Thefirstlinkinthechainofcustodyisfromthe
timePO1Moralestookpossessionoftheplasticsachetofshabufromaccusedappellantandmarkedthesame
withtheinitials"EAS",tothetimetheplasticsachetofshabuwasbroughttothePoliceStation.TheCertificateof
InventoryfortheitemsseizedfromaccusedappellantwassignedbyPO1Morales,PO2RonnieFabroa,andthe
accusedappellant. The second link in the chain of custody is from the time the plastic sachet of shabu was
brought from the Police Station, to the PNP Crime Laboratory. A letterrequest was made for the laboratory
examinationofthecontentsoftheplasticsachetofshabuseizedfromaccusedappellant.Theletterrequest,and
plasticsachetofshabu,weredeliveredtothePNPCrimeLaboratorybyPO2DelRosario.PerChemistryReport
No. D33408 prepared by Police Senior Inspector Yelah Manaog, the contents of the plastic sachet tested
positiveforshabu.14
Thus,despitethearrestingofficersfailuretostrictlyobservetherequirementsofSection21onthecustodyand
disposition of the seized items, the violation of the CDDA of 2002 was duly proven. The arresting officers duly
recordedthemovementsandcustodyoftheseizeditemsfromthetimeofseizure/confiscationtoreceiptbythe
forensiclaboratorytosafekeepinguptopresentationincourt.
With regard to the warrantless arrest, the defenses contention that the buybust team should have procured a
searchwarrantforthevalidityofthebuybustoperationismisplaced.Warrantlessarrestsareallowedinthree(3)
instancesasprovidedbySection5ofRule113oftheRulesonCriminalProcedure,towit:
Sec.5.Arrestwithoutwarrantwhenlawful. Apeaceofficeroraprivatepersonmay,withoutawarrant,arresta
person:
(a)When,inhispresence,thepersontobearrestedhascommitted,isactuallycommitting,orisattempting
tocommitanoffense
(b) When an offense has in fact just been committed, and he has personal knowledge of facts indicating
thatthepersontobearrestedhascommitteditand
(c)Whenthepersontobearrestedisaprisonerwhoescapedfromapenalestablishmentorplacewhere
heisservingfinaljudgmentortemporarilyconfinedwhilehiscaseispending,orhasescapedwhilebeing
transferredfromoneconfinementtoanother.
Basedontheaboveprovision,AdrianowasarrestedpursuanttoSection5(a),whichprovidesthatapersonmay
bearrestedwithoutawarrantifhe"hascommitted,isactuallycommitting,orisattemptingtocommitanoffense."
Inthecaseatbar,Adrianowascaughtintheactofcommittinganoffense,inflagrantedelicto,whenAdrianowas
caughtsellingillegalshabuthroughabuybustoperation,withintheplainviewofthearrestingofficers.
A buybust operation is "a form of entrapment, in which the violator is caught in flagrante delictoand the police
officersconductingtheoperationarenotonlyauthorizedbutdutyboundtoapprehendtheviolatorandtosearch
himforanythingthatmayhavebeenpartoforusedinthecommissionofthecrime."15InPeoplev.Agulay,16we
discussedbuybustoperationasaformofavalidandeffectivemodeofapprehendingdrugpushers:
Abuybustoperationisaformofentrapmentwhichinrecentyearshasbeenacceptedasavalidandeffective
mode of apprehending drug pushers. In a buybust operation, the idea to commit a crime originates from the
offender, without anybody inducing or prodding him to commit the offense. If carried out with due regard for
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constitutionalandlegalsafeguards,abuybustoperationdeservesjudicialsanction.17
Finally, the arresting officers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their official duties. The
presumptionmaybeovercomebyclearandconvincingevidence.However,inthecaseatbar,thedefensefailed
topresentanyprooftosubstantiateitsimputationofillmotiveontheparto

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