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CRIMINAL LAW

SPECIAL PENAL LAWS


BY: Roland Ysrael R. Atienza

Prof. Roland Ysrael R. Atienza | Latest Supreme Court Decisions

CRIMINAL LAW

2012-2013
SUPREME COURT DECISIONS
ON
SPECIAL PENAL LAWS
By: Prof. Roland Ysrael R. Atienza
Professor of law; Lecturer; Bar reviewer; Legal Officer

OMBUDSMAN; POWER TO IMPOSE PENALTIES. The power of the


Ombudsman to determine and impose administrative liability is not
merely recommendatory but actually mandatory. The Ombudsmans
power to impose the penalty of removal, suspension, demotion, fine,
censure, or prosecution of a public officer or employee found to be at
fault in the exercise of its administrative disciplinary authority is well
founded in the Constitution and RA 6770, otherwise known as The
Ombudsman Act of 1989. Gemma P. Cabalit v. COA-Region
VII/Filadelfo S. Apit v. COA, Legal and Adjudication, Region
VII/Leonardo G. Olaivar, et al, v. Hon. Primo C. Miro, et al, G.R. Nos.
180326/180341/180342, 17 January 2012.

BP 22; GRAVAMEN OF OFFENSE. The gravamen of the offense


punished by BP 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check
or a check that is dishonored upon its presentation for payment. It is
not the non-payment of an obligation which the law punishes. The
law is not intended or designed to coerce a debtor to pay his debt. The
thrust of the law is to prohibit, under pain of penal sanctions, the

making of worthless checks and putting them in circulation. Because


of its deleterious effects on the public interest, the practice is
proscribed by law. The law punishes the act not as an offense against
property, but an offense against public order. Edgardo Medalla v.
Resurreccion D. Laxa, G.R. No. 193362, 18 January 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; BUY-BUST; PRIOR SURVEILLANCE. Prior


surveillance not a necessity for the validity of the buy-bust
operation. In People v. Padua, the Supreme Court ruled that a prior
surveillance is not a prerequisite for the validity of an entrapment or
buy-bust operation, the conduct of which has no rigid or textbook
method. Flexibility is a trait of good police work. For as long as the
rights of the accused have not been violated in the process, the courts
will not pass on the wisdom thereof. The police officers may decide
that time is of the essence and dispense with the need for prior
surveillance. People of the Philippines v. Marcos Sabadlab y Narciso @
Bong Pango, G.R. No. 186392, 18 January 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; CHAIN OF CUSTODY. A review of the records


establishes that the procedure laid down by RA 9165 and its IRR was
not followed in this case. Several lapses on the part of the buy-bust
team are readily apparent. To start with, no photograph of the seized
shabu was taken. Secondly, the buy-bust team did not immediately
mark the seized shabu at the scene of the crime and in the presence
of Relato and witnesses. Thirdly, although there was testimony about
the marking of the seized items being made at the police station, the
records do not show that the marking was done in the presence of
Relato or his chosen representative. And, fourthly, no representative
of the media and the Department of Justice, or any elected official
attended the taking of the physical inventory and to sign the
inventory. The marking immediately after seizure is the starting point
in the custodial link, because succeeding handlers of the prohibited
drugs or related items will use the markings as reference. It further
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serves to segregate the marked evidence from the corpus of all other
similar and related evidence from the time they are seized from the
accused until they are disposed of at the end of the criminal
proceedings, obviating switching, planting, or contamination of
evidence. It is crucial in ensuring the integrity of the chain of custody.
People of the Philippines v. Darwin Relato y Ajero, G.R. No. 173794, 18
January 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; CHAIN OF CUSTODY. Chain of Custody is


defined in Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. 1,
Series of 2002: Chain of Custody means the duly recorded
authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled
chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or laboratory
equipment of each stage, from the time of seizure/confiscation to
receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in
court for destruction. Such record of movements and custody of
seized item shall include the identity and signature of the person who
held temporary custody of the seized item, the date and time when
such transfer of custody were made in the course of safekeeping and
use in court as evidence, and the final disposition. The procedural
lapses committed by the buy-bust team underscored the uncertainty
about the identity and integrity of the shabu admitted in evidence
against the accused. They highlighted the failure of the prosecution to
establish the chain of custody, by which the incriminating evidence
would have been authenticated. An unavoidable consequence of the
non-establishment of the chain of custody was the serious doubt on
whether the shabu presented as evidence was really the shabu
supposedly seized from Relato. People of the Philippines v. Darwin
Relato y Ajero, G.R. No. 173794, 18 January 2012.

DANGEROUS
DRUGS
ACT;
CONSPIRACY
TO
COMMIT
POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS DRUGS. The crime of conspiracy to
commit possession of dangerous drugs does not exist. Simply put, the

CRIMINAL LAW

circumstance of conspiracy is not appreciated in the crime of


possession of dangerous drugs under Sec. 11, Art. II of RA 9165. The
fact that the information for violation of Sec. 11, Art. II of RA 9165
that was filed against the petitioner and Saunar alleged that they
conspired and helped each other is immaterial since conspiracy is
not appreciated in the crime of possession of dangerous drugs.
Reynaldo Posiquit v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 193943, 16
January 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; INTENT TO POSSESS. In a prosecution for


possession of illegal substances, proof of animus possidendi on the
part of the accused is indispensable. But animus possidendi is a state
of mind, and is thus to be determined on a case-to-case basis by
taking into consideration the prior and contemporaneous acts of the
accused, as well as the surrounding circumstances. It may and must
be inferred usually from the attendant events in each particular case.
Upon the States presenting to the trial court of the facts and
circumstances from which to infer the existence of animus possidendi,
it becomes incumbent upon the Defense to rebut the inference with
evidence that the accused did not exercise power and control of the
illicit thing in question, and did not intend to do so. For that purpose,
a mere unfounded assertion of the accused that he did not know that
he had possession of the illegal drug is insufficient, and animus
possidendi is then presumed to exist on his part because he was
thereby shown to have performed an act that the law prohibited and
punished. People of the Philippines v. Geron Delos Santos y Maristela,
G.R. No. 170839, 18 January 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; INTENT TO POSSESS. It cannot be disputed


that Delos Santos had animus possidendi. His conduct prior to and
following his apprehension evinced his guilty knowledge of the
contents of the gift-wrapped box as shabu. His uncorroborated story
of having been summoned to help in the cleaning of Unit 706 was a
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sham excuse that he peddled to explain his presence in the Somerset


Condominium. His explanation was useless, however, because he was
no longer employed as a janitor of the Somerset Condominium at the
time of his arrest after being already terminated from employment.
Correlatively, his willingness to run for Wilson the errand of delivering
the gift-wrapped box to the unnamed person near the Jollibee Vito
Cruz extension branch proved that he was serving as a courier of
shabu. Besides, his guilty knowledge was confirmed by his
unreasonable refusal to exit from Unit 706 despite the demand of the
NBI agents to do so, and by his stealthy transfer to the adjoining Unit
705. Had he been truly innocent, he would have voluntarily
cooperated with the NBI agents instead of attempting to escape from
them. People of the Philippines v. Geron Delos Santos y Maristela, G.R.
No. 170839, 18 January 2012.

FENCING; ELEMENTS. The elements of fencing are 1) a robbery or


theft has been committed; 2) the accused, who took no part in the
robbery or theft, buys, receives, possesses, keeps, acquires, conceals,
sells or disposes, or buys and sells, or in any manner deals in any
article or object taken during that robbery or theft; (3) the accused
knew or should have known that the thing was derived from that
crime; and (4) he intends by the deal he makes to gain for himself or
for another. Here, someone carnapped Mantequillas Nissan Safari on
May 25, 1998. Two years later in December 2000, Dimat sold it to
Delgado for P850,000.00. Dimat knew that the Nissan Safari he
bought from Tolentino was not properly documented. He said that
Tolentino showed him its old certificate of registration and official
receipt. But this certainly could not be true because, the vehicle
having been carnapped, Tolentino had no documents to show. That
Tolentino was unable to make good on his promise to produce new
documents undoubtedly confirmed to Dimat that the Nissan Safari
came from an illicit source. Still, Dimat sold the same to Sonia

CRIMINAL LAW

Delgado who apparently made no effort to check the papers covering


her purchase. Hence, the decision of the Court of Appeals finding
Dimat guilty of violation of the Anti-Fencing Law is affirmed. Mel
Dimat v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 181184, 25 January 2012.

SANDIGANBAYAN; JURISDICTION. Petitioners maintain that the


jurisdictional facts necessary to acquire jurisdiction over the subject
matter in CC No. 0033-A have yet to be established. Petitioners claim
that the Republic failed to prove the ill-gotten nature of the
sequestered coconut farmers UCPB shares. Accordingly, the
controversy is removed from the subject matter jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan and necessarily any decision rendered on the merits,
such as PSJ-A and PSJ-F, is void. The Sandiganbayan has
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the subdivided amended
complaints. Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law.
The question on whether a given suit comes within the pale of a
statutory conferment is determined by the allegations in the
complaint regardless of whether or not the plaintiff will be entitled at
the end to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein.
Judging from the allegations of the defendants illegal acts thereat
made, it is fairly obvious that both CC Nos. 0033-A and CC 0033-F
partake, in the context of EOs 1, 2 and 14, series of 1986, the nature
of ill-gotten wealth suits. Both deal with the recovery of sequestered
shares, property or business enterprises claimed, as alleged in the
corresponding basic complaints, to be ill-gotten assets of President
Marcos, his cronies and nominees and acquired by taking undue
advantage of relationships or influence and/or through or as a result
of improper use, conversion or diversion of government funds or
property. Recovery of these assets determined as prima facie illgotten falls within the unquestionable jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. Philippine Coconut Producers Federation Inc.
(COCOFED), et al v. Republic of the Philippines, respondent; Wigberto
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E. Tanada, et al, intervenors/Danilo S. Ursua v. Republic of the


Philippines, G.R. Nos. 177857-58 and G.R. No. 178193, 24 January
2012.

SANDIGANBAYAN; JURISDICTION. PD 1606, as amended by RA


7975 and EO 14, Series of 1986, vests the Sandiganbayan with
original jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases instituted pursuant
to and in connection with EOs 1, 2, 14 and 14-A. Correlatively, the
PCGG Rules and Regulations defines the term Ill-Gotten Wealth as
any asset, property, business enterprise or material possession
of persons within the purview of [EOs] 1 and 2, acquired by them
directly, or indirectly thru dummies, nominees, agents,
subordinates and/or business associates. The Republics
averments in the amended complaints, particularly those detailing
the alleged wrongful acts of the defendants, sufficiently reveal that
the subject matter thereof comprises the recovery by the Government
of ill-gotten wealth acquired by then President Marcos, his cronies or
their associates and dummies through the unlawful, improper
utilization or diversion of coconut levy funds aided by PD 755 and
other sister decrees. There was no actual need for Republic, as
plaintiff a quo, to adduce evidence to show that the Sandiganbayan
has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaints as it leaned
on the averments in the initiatory pleadings to make visible the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over the ill-gotten wealth
complaints. A perusal of the allegations easily reveals the sufficiency
of the statement of matters disclosing the claim of the government
against the coco levy funds and the assets acquired directly or
indirectly through said funds as ill-gotten wealth. Moreover, the
Court finds no rule that directs the plaintiff to first prove the subject
matter jurisdiction of the court before which the complaint is filed.
Rather, such burden falls on the shoulders of defendant in the
hearing of a motion to dismiss anchored on said ground or a

CRIMINAL LAW

preliminary hearing thereon when such ground is alleged in the


answer. Philippine Coconut Producers Federation Inc. (COCOFED), et al
v. Republic of the Philippines, respondent; Wigberto E. Tanada, et al,
intervenors/Danilo S. Ursua v. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. Nos.
177857-58 and G.R. No. 178193, 24 January 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; BURDEN OF PROOF. In the prosecution of


possession of illegal drugs, the prosecution must prove that the
petitioner had knowledge of the existence and presence of the drugs
in the place under his control and dominion and the character of the
drugs. With the prosecutions failure to prove that the nipa hut was
under petitioners control and dominion, there casts a reasonable
doubt as to his guilt. In considering a criminal case, it is critical to
start with the laws own starting perspective on the status of the
accused in all criminal prosecutions, he is presumed innocent of the
charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt.
Proof beyond reasonable doubt, or that quantum of proof sufficient to
produce a moral certainty that would convince and satisfy the
conscience of those who act in judgment, is indispensable to
overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. Ruben Castillo
@ Boy Castillo v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 185128, 30
January 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF DRUGS;


ELEMENTS. In every prosecution for the illegal possession of shabu,
the following essential elements must be established: (a) the accused
is found in possession of a regulated drug; (b) the person is not
authorized by law or by duly constituted authorities; and (c) the
accused has knowledge that the said drug is a regulated drug. Ruben
Castillo @ Boy Castillo v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 185128, 30
January 2012.

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DANGEROUS DRUGS; ALIBI AND FRAME-UP. Alibi and frame up


are weak forms of defense usually resorted to in drug-related cases.
The Court is careful in appreciating them and giving them probable
value because this type of defense is easy to concoct. Also, the Court
does realize the disastrous consequences on the enforcement of law
and order, not to mention the well-being of society, if the courts,
solely on the basis of the police officers alleged rotten reputation,
accept in every instance this form of defense which can be so easily
fabricated. It is precisely for this reason that the legal presumption
that official duty has been regularly performed exists. Bare denial
cannot prevail over the positive identification by SPO4 Taruc of
Arriola as the one who sold them the shabu. For the defenses
position to prosper, the defense must adduce clear and convincing
evidence to overcome the presumption that government officials have
performed their duties in a regular and proper manner. This,
unfortunately, Arriola failed to supply. What she made was a bare
allegation of frame-up without presenting any credible witness that
would support her claim. Furthermore, she failed to show any motive
on the part of the arresting officers to implicate her in a crime she
claimed she did not commit. People of the Philippines v. Flordeliza
Arriola y De Lara, G.R. No. 187736, 8 February 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; ILLEGAL SALE; ELEMENTS. To secure


a conviction for illegal sale of shabu, the following essential elements
must be established: (a) the identities of the buyer and the seller, the
object of the sale, and the consideration; and (b) the delivery of the
thing sold and the payment for the thing. What is material in
prosecutions for illegal sale of shabu is the proof that the transaction
or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of
the corpus delicti as evidence. In this case, the requisites for illegal
sale of shabu were competently and convincingly proven by the
Prosecution. PO2 Tayag, as the poseur-buyer, attested that Bautista

CRIMINAL LAW

sold shabu to him during a legitimate buy-bust operation. According


to Forensic Chemist Arturo, the substance subject of the transaction,
which weighed 0.05 gram, was examined and found to be
methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu, a dangerous drug. PO2
Caragdag declared that he recovered the buy-bust money from
Bautistas hand right after the sale. Further, the Prosecution later
presented as evidence both the sachet of shabu subject of the sale
and the buy-bust money used in the buy-bust operation. People of
the Philippines v. Cesar Bautista y Santos, G.R. No. 177320, 22
February 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; ILLEGAL POSSESSION; ELEMENTS.


For illegal possession of a dangerous drug, like shabu, the elements
are: (a) the accused is in possession of an item or object that is
identified to be a prohibited or dangerous drug; (b) such possession is
not authorized by law; and (c) the accused freely and consciously
possessed the drug. The elements of illegal possession of a dangerous
drug were similarly competently and convincingly established by the
Prosecution. SPO1 Ybaez stated that upon seeing the pre-arranged
signal given by PO2 Tayag, he and the other members of the team
proceeded to arrest Bautista; and that he frisked Bautista and then
recovered six other plastic sachets from Bautistas pocket.
Undoubtedly, the frisking was legally authorized as a search
incidental to the lawful arrest of Bautista for evidence in the
commission of illegal drug pushing. People of the Philippines v. Cesar
Bautista y Santos, G.R. No. 177320, February 22, 2012.

DANGEROUS
DRUGS
ACT;
ILLEGAL
SALE;
ELEMENTS.
Jurisprudence holds that the elements of the crime of illegal sale of
drugs are the following: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller,
the object and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and
payment therefor. The testimonies of Romano, corroborated by his
fellow NBI investigators Jimenez and Dizon and informant Cedeo
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established the sale and delivery by accused-appellant Clarite to


Romano of what was initially believed to be 50 grams of shabu in four
plastic sachets, in exchange for what Clarite thought was
P50,000.00. Romano positively identified accused-appellant Clarite
as the person who sold the plastic sachets of shabu to him. It was
likewise clear from the evidence on record that P/Insp. Clemen
examined the contents of the plastic sachets sold to Romano, and
confirmed that they contained methamphetamine hydrochloride
(shabu), even though the total weight was only 45.8712 grams.
P/Insp. Clemen was also able to verify that both hands of accusedappellant were positive for the presence of bright orange ultraviolet
fluorescent powder, thus, corroborating the testimonies of the NBI
investigators that he received the counterfeit money which were
dusted with such powder. This also belies the testimony of accusedappellant that he never held the marked money. Thus, the accusedappellants conviction under RA 9165 is affirmed. People of the
Philippines v. Arnel Clarite y Salazar, G.R. No. 187157, 15 February
2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; SALE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS; ELEMENTS.


The essential elements to be established in the prosecution of illegal
sale of marijuana are as follows: (1) the identity of the buyer and the
seller, the object of the sale and the consideration; and (3) the delivery
of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material is the
proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with
the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence. In this
case, the evidence on record showed the presence of all the above
elements. The witnesses for the prosecution successfully proved that
a buy-bust operation took place and the block of marijuana subject of
the sale was brought to, and duly identified in court. PO3 Garcia, the
poseur-buyer, positively identified the appellants as the persons who
sold to him one block of marijuana dried leaves wrapped in a

CRIMINAL LAW

newspaper in exchange for the sum of P1,000.00. PO3 Garcias


testimony was corroborated on material points by his team leader,
SPO3 De Guzman, SPO3 Galliguez, and SPO2 Natividad. PNP
Forensic Chemist Police Supt. Theresa Ann Cid examined the items
seized and found them to be positive for marijuana. People of the
Philippines v. Teofilo Honrado and Romulo Honrado, G.R. No. 182197,
27 February 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; SALE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS; ELEMENTS.


It was held in People v. Hernandez that the following essential
elements must be established in order to secure a conviction for
illegal sale of shabu: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the
object of the sale and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the
thing sold and the payment thereof. People v. Naquita states that
what is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs
is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled
with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. The above
elements have been sufficiently established by the prosecution. PO2
Memoracion was the poseur-buyer and he identified the accusedappellant as the seller. The object of the sale was the sachet
containing eight centigrams (0.08 grams) of shabu, which bore the
marking RAM-1, and the consideration paid by the poseur-buyer
therefor consisted of the P200 marked money. PO2 Memoracion also
categorically stated that the object of the sale was in fact handed to
him by the accused-appellant after he gave her the marked money.
People of the Philippines v. Rosemarie Magundayao y Alejandro alias
Rose, G.R. No. 188132, 29 February 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; CHAIN OF CUSTODY. In many cases,


that while the chain of custody should ideally be perfect, in reality it
is not, as it is almost always impossible to obtain an unbroken
chain. The most important factor is the preservation of the integrity
and the evidentiary value of the seized items as they will be used to
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determine the guilt or innocence of the accused. Hence, the


prosecutions failure to submit in evidence the physical inventory and
photograph of the seized drugs as required under Article 21 of RA
9165, will not render Mendozas arrest illegal or the items seized from
her inadmissible. Here, it was shown that the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized drugs had been preserved. The plastic
sachet containing shabu was marked, kept, and delivered to the
forensic chemist by the same officer who received it from Mendoza.
Ching, the poseur-buyer, marked the plastic sachet he bought from
Mendoza with SOG-1 after the buy-bust team arrested her.
Thereafter, the marked plastic sachet, together with the laboratory
request, was delivered by Ching himself to Macapagal for
examination. Macapagals Chemistry Report showed that she
received a plastic sachet marked SOG-1 for examination at around
3:20 p.m. After she completed her examination at 5:20 p.m., she
placed the same marked plastic sachet in a small brown envelope,
which she in turn dated, signed, and sealed with a staple wire. It is
therefore clear, that the prosecution was able to account for each link
in the chain of custody over the shabu, from the moment it was
seized from Mendoza, up to the time it was presented during the trial
as proof of the corpus delicti. People of the Philippines v. Emily
Mendoza y Sartin, G.R. No. 189327, 29 February 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; ILLEGAL SALE; ELEMENTS. The elements


necessary for the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs are the (1)
identities of the buyer and the seller, object, and consideration, and
(2) delivery of the thing sold and payment therefor. What is material
to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that
the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. The delivery of the
illicit drug to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the seller of the
marked money successfully consummate the buy-bust transaction.

CRIMINAL LAW

The testimonial and the documentary pieces of evidence adduced by


the prosecution in support of its case against the appellant establish
the presence of these elements. First, the identity of the seller was
duly established. Second, the police officers saw the appellant
handing the sachet to the poseur-buyer in exchange of the P100.00
peso bill that the appellant earlier received from the poseur-buyer.
People of the Philippines v. Jerome Paler, G.R. No. 188103, 7 March
2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; BUY BUST OPERATION; COORDINATION


WITH PDEA. On appeal, accused-appellant assailed his conviction by
insisting that the buy bust operation conducted by the Philippine
National Police (PNP) which was instrumental to his arrest was invalid
because of alleged violation of Section 86 of R.A. 9165, requiring that
the PNP maintain close coordination with the Philippine Drug
Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on all drug related matters. The Supreme
Court ruled that accused-appellants contention is unmeritorious. It
is settled that Section 86 of R.A. 9165 does not invalidate operations
on account of the law enforcers failure to maintain close coordination
with the PDEA. Section 86, as well as the Internal Rules and
Regulations implementing the same, is silent as to the consequences
of the failure on the part of the law enforcers to seek the authority of
the PDEA prior to conducting a buy-bust operation. This silence
[cannot] be interpreted as a legislative intent to make an arrest
without the participation of PDEA illegal or evidence obtained
pursuant to such an arrest inadmissible. People v. Figueroa, G.R. No.
186141, 11 April 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF PROHIBITED OR


REGULATED DRUGS; ELEMENTS. Illegal possession of prohibited or
regulated drugs is committed when the following elements concur: (1)
the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to
be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law;
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and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug.
All these elements were established beyond reasonable doubt in the
cases against accused-appellant.
The prosecution witnesses
consistently and categorically testified that pursuant to a search
warrant duly issued by a judge, they found and seized from accusedappellants house and actual possession a brick of marijuana leaves
and heat-sealed sachets of methamphetamine hydrochloride or
shabu. People v. Velazquez, G.R. No. 177244, 11 April 2012.
DANGEROUS DRUGS; ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS DRUGS.
This appeal involves two distinct drug-related offenses, namely: illegal
sale of dangerous drugs, and illegal possession of dangerous drugs.
The successful prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs requires:
(a) proof that the transaction or sale took place, and (b) the
presentation in court as evidence of the corpus delicti, or the
dangerous drugs themselves. It is crucial that the Prosecution
establishes the identity of the seized dangerous drugs in a way that
the integrity thereof has been well preserved from the time of seizure
or confiscation from the accused until the time of presentation as
evidence in court. Nothing less than a faithful compliance with this
duty is demanded of all law enforcers arresting drug pushers and
drug possessors and confiscating and seizing the dangerous drugs
and substances from them. Here, the Prosecution failed to
demonstrate a faithful compliance by the arresting lawmen of the rule
on chain of custody. Further, the State did not establish the identity
of the dangerous drugs allegedly seized from petitioner with the same
exacting certitude required for a finding of guilt. Although PO2
Payumo declared that he was the one who had received the sachet of
shabu (RRS-1) from petitioner and who had confiscated the two
sachets of shabu (RRS-2) from petitioner, all of which he had then
sealed, nothing more to support the fact that the evidence thus seized
had remained intact was adduced. Also, the Prosecution did not

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show to whom the seized articles had been turned over following the
conduct of the laboratory examination, and how the seized articles
had been kept in a manner that preserved their integrity until their
final presentation in court as evidence of the corpus delicti. Such
lapses of the Prosecution were fatal to its proof of guilt because they
demonstrated that the chain of custody did not stay unbroken,
thereby raising doubt on the integrity and identity of the dangerous
drugs as evidence of the corpus delicti of the crimes charged.
Petitioner is acquitted. Rogelio S. Reyes v. The Hon. Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. 180177, 18 April 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; BUY BUST; REQUIRED PROCEDURES.


Given the nature of buy-bust operations and the resulting preventive
procedural safeguards crafted in R.A. 9165, courts must tread
carefully before giving full credit to the testimonies of those who
conducted the operations. Although it has been ruled in the past that
mere procedural lapses in the conduct of a buy-bust operation are
not ipso facto fatal to the prosecutions cause, so long as the integrity
and the evidentiary value of the seized items have been preserved,
courts must still thoroughly evaluate and differentiate those errors
that constitute a simple procedural lapse from those that amount to a
gross, systematic, or deliberate disregard of the safeguards drawn by
the law. Accordingly, despite the presumption of regularity in the
performance of the official duties of law enforcers, we stress that the
step-by-step procedure outlined under R.A. 9165 is a matter of
substantive law, which cannot be simply brushed aside as a simple
procedural technicality. Here, the conduct of the buy-bust operations
was peppered with defects, which raises doubts on the preservation of
the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items from accusedappellant. First, there were material inconsistencies in the marking of
the seized items. Second, the SAID-SOTF failed to show genuine and
sufficient effort to seek the third-party representatives enumerated
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under Section 21(1) of R.A. 9165. Third, the SAID-SOTF failed to duly
accomplish the Certificate of Inventory and to take photos of the
seized items pursuant to Section 21(1) of R.A. 9165. Accusedappellant Sammy Umipang y Abdul is therefore acquitted of the
charges in Criminal Cases No. 14935-D-TG and No. 14936-D-TG on
the ground of reasonable doubt. People of the Philippines v. Sammy
Umipag y Abdul, G.R. No. 190321, 25 April 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; CHAIN OF CUSTODY AND PRESCRIBED


PROCEDURES. Non-compliance with the prescribed procedural
requirements does not necessarily render the seizure and custody of
the items void and invalid; the seizure may still be held valid,
provided that (a) there is a justifiable ground for the non-compliance,
and (b) the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items are
shown to have been properly preserved. These conditions, however,
were not met in the present case as the prosecution did not even
attempt to offer any justification for the failure of SPO4 Mendoza to
follow the prescribed procedures in the handling of the seized items.
As held in People v. De Guzman, the failure to follow the procedure
mandated under RA 9165 and its Implementing Rules and
Regulations must be adequately explained. The justifiable ground for
the non-compliance must be proven as a fact. The Court cannot
presume what these grounds are or that they even exist. In dubio pro
reo. When moral certainty as to culpability hangs in the balance,
acquittal on reasonable doubt inevitably becomes a matter of right.
Petitioners Valentin Zafra y Dechosa and Eroll Marcelino y Reyes are
acquitted for the failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond
reasonable doubt. Valentin Zafra y Dechosa and Eroll Marcelino y

CRIMINAL LAW

10

accordance with the following rules: after four years for those
punished by imprisonment for more than one month, but less than
two years. Under Section 2 of the same Act, [t]he prescription shall
be interrupted when proceedings are instituted against the guilty
person, and shall begin to run again if the proceedings are dismissed
for reasons not constituting jeopardy. Since B.P. 22 is a special law
that imposes a penalty of imprisonment of not less than thirty (30)
days but not more than one year or by a fine for its violation, it
therefor prescribes in four (4) years in accordance with the aforecited
law. The running of the prescriptive period, however, should be tolled
upon the institution of proceedings against the guilty person. People
of the Philippines v. Ma. Theresa Pangilinan, G.R. No. 152662, 13 June
2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; CHAIN OF CUSTODY. In cases of illegal sale


and illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the chain of custody over
the dangerous drug must be shown to establish the corpus delicti. The
dangerous drug itself, the shabu in this case, constitutes the very
corpus delicti of the offense and in sustaining a conviction under R.A.
9165, the identity and integrity of the corpus delicti must definitely be
shown to have been preserved. Under Section 1(b) of Dangerous
Drugs Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002, which implements the
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, chain of custody
means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized
drugs or controlled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or
laboratory equipment of each stage, from the time of
seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to
safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. People of the

Reyes v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 190749, 25 April 2012.

Philippines v. Gomer S. Climaco, G.R. No. 199403, 13 June 2012.

B.P. 22; PRESCRIPTION. Under Section 1 of Act No. 3326 which is


the law applicable to B.P. 22 cases, [v]iolations penalized by special
acts shall, unless otherwise provided in such acts, prescribe in

DANGEROUS DRUGS; ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS


DRUGS. In order to convict appellant for illegal possession of a
dangerous drug, or the shabu in this case, the prosecution evidence
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must prove beyond reasonable doubt the following elements: (a) the
appellant was in possession of an item or object that is identified to
be a prohibited or dangerous drug; (b) such possession was not
authorized by law; and (c) the appellant freely and consciously
possessed the drug. In this case, the fact of possession by appellant
of the bag containing the shabu was not established in the first place.
In every criminal prosecution, the State must prove beyond
reasonable doubt all the elements of the crime charged and the
complicity or participation of the accused. While a lone witness
testimony is sufficient to convict an accused in certain instances, the
testimony must be clear, consistent, and crediblequalities we
cannot ascribe to this case. Jurisprudence is consistent that for
testimonial evidence to be believed, it must both come from a credible
witness and be credible in itself tested by human experience,
observation, common knowledge and accepted conduct that has
evolved through the years. Clearly from the foregoing, the prosecution
failed to establish by proof beyond reasonable doubt that appellant
was indeed in possession of shabu, and that he freely and consciously
possessed the same. People of the Philippines v. Zafra Maraorao y
Macabalang, G.R. No. 174369, 20 June 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS. On appeal,


the accused-appellants questioned the Court Appeals affirmation of
their conviction by arguing that the arresting officers failed to comply
with the requirements for the proper custody of seized dangerous
drugs under R.A. 9165. They claim that the officers failed to conduct
the following: (1) make a physical inventory of the seized items; (2)
take photographs of the items; and (3) establish that a representative
each from the media, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any
elected public official had been contacted and was present during the
marking of the items. In this case, the records are bereft of any
indication that would show that the prosecution was able to establish

CRIMINAL LAW

11

the arresting officers compliance with the procedural safeguards


under R.A. 9165. Neither do the records contain any physical
inventory report or photograph of the confiscated items. None of the
arresting officers testified that they had conducted a physical
inventory or taken pictures of the items. Nor did they state that there
was even any attempt to contact a representative from the media and
the DOJ, and an elected public official. Nowhere can it be found that
the marking of the items was done in the presence of any of the said
third-party representatives. In all these major lapses, no one gave so
much as an explanation of why the procedure was not followed, or
whether there was a justifiable ground for failing to do so. The
arresting officers and the prosecution simply did not bother
discussing these matters. R.A. 9165 has a strict mandate for the
arresting officers to comply with the afore-quoted procedural
safeguards. People of the Philippines v. Joel Ancheta y Osan, et al, G.R.
No. 197371, 13 June 2012.

RA 3019; PRESCRIPTION. Violations falling under Section 3(e) of


R.A. 3019 prescribe in fifteen (15) years as provided under Section 11
of R.A. 3019. Petitioner maintains that, although the charge against
respondents was for violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices
Act, its prosecution relates to its efforts to recover the ill-gotten
wealth of former President Ferdinand Marcos and of his family and
cronies. Section 15, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution provides that
the right of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by
public officials or employees is not barred by prescription, laches, or
estoppel. But the Supreme Court has already settled in Presidential
Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. Desierto that
Section 15, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution applies only to civil
actions for recovery of ill-gotten wealth, not to criminal cases such as
the complaint against respondents in OMB-0-90-2810. Thus, the
prosecution of offenses arising from, relating or incident to, or
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involving ill-gotten wealth contemplated in Section 15, Article XI of


the 1987 Constitution may be barred by prescription. Notably,
Section 11 of R.A. 3019 now provides that the offenses committed
under that law prescribes in 15 years. Republic of the Philippines v.
Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 139930, 26 June 2012.

R.A. 3019; SECTION 3(E) ELEMENTS. Under Section 3(e) of RA


3019, one can be charged with corrupt practices of public officer by
[c]ausing any undue injury to any party, including the Government,
or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or
preference in the discharge of his official, administrative or judicial
functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence. This provision shall apply to officers and
employees of offices or government corporations charged with the
grant of licenses or permits or other concessions. The said crime has
the following essential elements: (a) the accused must be a public
officer discharging administrative, judicial or official functions; (b) he
must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross
inexcusable negligence; and (c) his action caused any undue injury to
any party, including the government, or gave any private party
unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his
functions. People of the Philippines v. Aristeo E. Atienza, Rodrigo D.
Manongson, Crispin M. Egarque, and the Hon. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No.
171671, 18 June 2012.

R.A. 3019; SECTION 3(E) ELEMENTS. As aptly concluded by the


Sandiganbayan in the assailed resolution, the second element of the
crime as charged was not sufficiently established by the prosecution.
Manifest partiality and evident bad faith are modes that are separate
and distinct from each other so that the existence of any of these two
modes would be sufficient to satisfy the second element. However,
manifest partiality was not present in this case. The evidence
adduced did not show that accused-movants favored other persons

CRIMINAL LAW

12

who were similarly situated with the private complainant. Eyewitness


Alexander Singson categorically pointed accused Manongsong and
Egarque as the persons who destroyed/removed the second fence.
Private complainant lamented that he was not even given notice of
their intent to destroy the fence. However, the same could not be
considered evident bad faith as the prosecution evidence failed to
show that the destruction was for a dishonest purpose, ill will or selfinterest. People of the Philippines v. Aristeo E. Atienza, Rodrigo D.
Manongson, Crispin M. Egarque, and the Hon. Sandiganbayan, G.R. No.
171671, 18 June 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF SHABU. As to the


crime of illegal possession of shabu, the prosecution clearly proved
the presence of the following essential elements of the crime: (a) the
accused [was] in possession of an item or object that is identified to
be a prohibited or dangerous drug; (b) such possession [was] not
authorized by law; and (c) the accused freely and consciously
possessed the drug. After the arrest of the accused-appellant,
seventeen (17) heat-sealed sachets of white substance were found in
his possession. The chemistry report showed that the white
substance in the plastic sachets tested for shabu. There was no
showing that such possession was authorized by law. The conviction
of the accused-appellant by the lower courts is, therefore, sustained.
People of the Philippines v. John Brian Amarillo y Mapa a.k.a. Jao
Mapa, G.R. No. 194721, 15 August 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; ILLEGAL SALE OF SHABU. After a buy-bust


operation conducted by the police operatives, accused was charged
with illegal sale and illegal possession of shabu. To prove illegal sale
of shabu, the following elements must be present: (a) the identities of
the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale, and the consideration;
and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for the thing.
And, to secure conviction, it is material to establish that the
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transaction or sale actually took place, and to bring to the court the
corpus delicti as evidence. Here, the prosecution proved beyond
reasonable doubt that accused-appellant, not being authorized by
law, sold a sachet of shabu to PO1 Mendoza in a buy-bust operation.
Further, the seized items, together with the result of the laboratory
examination and the marked money were all presented in court.
People of the Philippines v. John Brian Amarillo y Mapa a.k.a. Jao
Mapa, G.R. No. 194721, 15 August 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; FAILURE TO STRICTLY COMPLY WITH


REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 21, R.A. 9165. The defense argues
that the arresting officers did not testify that the marking of the
seized items were done in the presence of the persons mentioned by
the law and its implementing rules; and that testimonies on how the
confiscated items were turned over to the investigator for examination
were lacking. It is well-settled that the failure of the prosecution to
show that the police officers conducted the required physical
inventory and photograph of the evidence confiscated pursuant to
said guidelines is not fatal and does not automatically render
accused-appellants arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from
him inadmissible. An accused may still be found guilty, despite the
failure to faithfully observe the requirements provided under Sec. 21
of R.A. 9165, for as long as the chain of custody remains unbroken.
People of the Philippines v. John Brian Amarillo y Mapa a.k.a. Jao
Mapa, G.R. No. 194721, 15 August 2012.

FORFEITURE; DUE PROCESS. This case seeks to annul and set


aside the Sandiganbayan Resolution which ordered the forfeiture of
some of the properties of the late NBI Director, Jolly R. Bugarin
pursuant to the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) in Republic of
the Philippines v. Sandiganbayan. The heirs of Bugarin pray that the
Sandiganbayan be compelled to conduct hearings for the purpose of
properly determining the properties of Bugarin that should be

CRIMINAL LAW

13

forfeited in favor of the Republic, this despite the fact that the SC in
Republic has already decreed that properties of Bugarin acquired from
1968 to 1980 which were disproportionate to his lawful income
during the said period be forfeited in favor of the Republic. The SC
held that Bugarin was accorded due process. He was given his day in
court to prove that his acquired properties were lawfully attained. The
summary of properties acquired by Bugarin during his tenure as NBI
Director was based on his very own exhibits. From this enumeration,
the SC set aside those properties that had been liquidated or those
that had been obtained in 1981 onwards. Even those properties the
acquisition dates of which could no longer be determined were also
excluded, all to the benefit of Bugarin. What remained was a
trimmed-down listing of properties from which the Sandiganbayan
may choose to execute the forfeiture order of the SC. The essence of
due process is the right to be heard. Bugarin or his heirs were
certainly not denied that right. Due process is satisfied when the
parties are afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their
respective sides of the controversy. The Heirs of Jolly R. Bugarin
namely Ma. Aileen H. Bugarin, Ma. Linda B. Abiog and Ma. Annette B.
Sumulong v. Republic of the Philippines, G.R. No. 174431, August 6,
2012.

JURISDICTION; SANDIGANBAYAN. The Sandiganbayan maintains


that Section 4(a)(1)(g) of RA 8249 which defines the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, cannot apply to the accused, Bello, because, while he
held the highest rank among those who allegedly conspired to commit
the crime charged, he did not hold any of the government positions
enumerated under that section, i.e., presidents, directors or trustees,
or managers of government-owned or controlled corporations. The
term manager as defined in Blacks Law Dictionary is one who has
charge of the corporation and control of its businesses, or of its
branches, establishments, divisions, or departments, and who is
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vested with a certain amount of discretion and independent


judgment. Under this definition, the Supreme Court held that
respondent Bello was covered under the term manager, he having
charge of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Retirement and
Separation Benefit System Legal Department when the questioned
transactions took place. As such, he is within the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan. People of the Philippines v. Meinrado Enrique A.
Bello, et al., G.R. No. 166948-59, 29 August 2012.

JURISDICTION; SANDIGANBAYAN. Respondent Bello argues that


the Sandiganbayan does not exercise jurisdiction over him because
his rank at the time of the commission of the acts complained of was
merely that of Police Superintendent in the Philippine National Police.
However, the Information does not charge him for offenses relating to
the regular police work of a police officer of his rank. He is rather
charged for offenses he committed in relation to his office, namely,
that of a manager of the Legal Department of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines-Retirement and Separation Benefit System (AFPRSBS), a government-owned and controlled corporation. What is
needed is that the public officials mentioned by law must commit the
offense described in Section 3(e) of RA 3019 while in the performance
of official duties or in relation to the office being held. Here, the OMB
charged Bello with using his office as Legal Department Head to
manipulate the documentations of AFP-RSBS land acquisitions to the
prejudice of the government. People of the Philippines v. Meinrado
Enrique A. Bello, et al, G.R. No. 166948-59, 29 August 2012.

OMBUDSMAN; FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE OMBUDSMAN.


Petitioner was designated as a Special Collecting Officer at the Ninoy
Aquino International Airport Customs House, Collection Division,
Pasay City. The Audit Observation Memorandum dated November 26,
2002, reported that petitioner had an unremitted collection from the
sale of accountable forms with money value and stamps. Based on

CRIMINAL LAW

14

the analysis of the monthly sales of accountable forms and stamps,


petitioner failed to remit a total of P53, 214,258.00 from January
2000 to October 2002. The Ombudsman rendered a Decision finding
petitioner guilty of dishonesty and grave misconduct. Insisting on his
innocence, petitioner claims that no competent evidence was
presented before the Ombudsman to show that he is guilty of
dishonesty and grave misconduct. The Court (SC) held that
questions of fact may not be the subject of an appeal by certiorari
under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Court as the SC is not a trier of
facts. As a rule, findings of fact of the Ombudsman, when affirmed by
the Court of Appeals, are conclusive and binding upon the SC unless
there is grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Ombudsman.
There is none here. There is substantial evidence to show that
petitioner failed to remit the amount of P53,658,371.00 from the sale
of accountable forms with money value and documentary stamps
from January 2000 up to October 2002. Ernesto A. Fajardo v. Office of
the Ombudsman, et al, G.R. No. 173268, August 23, 2012.

ILLEGAL SALE OF DRUGS; ELEMENTS. After a buy-bust operation


conducted by the police operatives, accused were charged with illegal
sale and illegal possession of shabu. In ruling against the accused,
the Supreme Court (SC) cited People of the Philippines v. Ricky Unisa
y Islan, where it held that the sale of prohibited drugs is
consummated upon delivery of the drugs to the buyer: For a
successful prosecution of the offense of illegal sale of dangerous
drugs, like shabu, the following elements must first be established:
(1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and
consideration of the sale; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment therefor. What is material is proof that the transaction or
sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of
evidence of corpus delicti. Clearly, the commission of the offense of
illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, merely requires the
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consummation of the selling transaction, which happens the moment


the buyer receives the drug from the seller. As long as the police
officer went through the operation as a buyer, whose offer was
accepted by appellant, followed by the delivery of the dangerous drugs
to the former, the crime is already consummated. As borne by the
records, all the above elements constituting the sale of shabu by the
appellants were clearly testified to by PO Hamdani who averred that
he received P1,000.00 worth of shabu from accused after the latter
gave the buy-bust money to De Jesus. Accordingly, the SC found the
accused guilty of violating Section 5, Article II of RA 9165. People of
the Philippines v. Ronald De Jesus y Apacible and Amelito Dela Cruz y
Pua, G.R. No. 191753, 17 September 2012.

ILLEGAL SALE OF DRUGS; ELEMENTS. Accused cites several


irregularities in the conduct of the buy-bust operation and in the
presentation of the corpus delicti. The Court (SC) gave no credence
to his arguments. The elements necessary for the prosecution of
illegal sale of drugs are: (1) the identities of the buyer and the seller,
the object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold
and the payment therefor. What is material to the prosecution for
illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale
actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence
of corpus delicti. Sistemio, the poseur-buyer in this case, positively
testified that the sale of shabu actually took place when he himself
parted with the marked money and received the shabu from
appellant. Yu corroborated Sistemios narration, as he also personally
witnessed the transaction given that he was posted a few meters away
from Sistemio and the accused. The SC also found that the integrity
and the evidentiary value of the seized items were properly preserved
by the buy-bust team under the chain of custody rule. Under these
circumstances, the prosecution has established beyond doubt an
unbroken link in the chain of custody. Hence, it has been established

CRIMINAL LAW

15

by proof beyond reasonable doubt that appellant here sold shabu.


People of the Philippine v. Mohamad Angkob y Mlang, G.R. No. 191062,
19 September 2012.

ILLEGAL SALE OF DRUGS; ELEMENTS. The Supreme Court


affirmed the conviction of the accused for illegal sale of dangerous
drugs after finding that the following elements were sufficiently
proved beyond reasonable doubt: (1) the identity of the buyer and the
seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the
thing sold and the payment thereto. The identity of the buyer and the
seller were both established by the prosecution, appellant being the
seller and PO1 Soquia as the poseur-buyer. The object of the
transaction
was
the
five
sachets
of
Methylamphetamine
Hydrochloride or shabu and the consideration was the P500.00
marked money. Both such object and consideration have also been
sufficiently established by testimonial and documentary evidence
presented by the prosecution. As to the delivery of the thing sold and
the payment therefor, PO1 Soquia caught appellant in flagrante
delicto selling and delivering the prohibited substance during a buybust operation. He also personally handed to appellant the marked
money as payment for the same. Clearly, the above-mentioned
elements are present in this case. People of the Philippines v. Calexto
D. Fundales, G.R. No. 184606, 5 September 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; BUY-BUST OPERATION. Accused Robelo


asserts that the alleged buy-bust operation is tainted with infirmity
due to the absence of a prior surveillance or investigation. Moreover,
per the testimony of PO2 Tubbali, accused did not say anything when
the former was introduced to him as an interested buyer of shabu.
Accused points out that it is contrary to human nature that the seller
would say nothing to the buyer who is a complete stranger to him.
The Supreme Court sustained the validity of the buy-bust operation.
A buy-bust operation has been proven to be an effective mode of
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apprehending drug pushers. In this regard, police authorities are


given wide latitude in employing their own ways of trapping or
apprehending drug dealers inflagrante delicto. There is no prescribed
method on how the operation is to be conducted. As ruled in People v.
Garcia, the absence of a prior surveillance or test-buy does not affect
the legality of the buy-bust operation as there is no textbook method
of conducting the same. As long as the constitutional rights of the
suspected drug dealer are not violated, the regularity of the operation
will always be upheld. Furthermore, the law does not prescribe as an
element of the crime that the vendor and the vendee be familiar with
each other. As aptly held by the Court of Appeals in this case,
peddlers of illicit drugs have been known with ever increasing
casualness and recklessness to offer and sell their wares for the right
price to anybody, be they strangers or not. People of the Philippines v.
Joseph Robelo y Tungala, G.R. No. 184181, 26 November 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; EVIDENCE; POSSESSION. Accused


Eyam was caught in possession of methylamphetamine hydrochloride
or shabu, a dangerous drug. He failed to show that he was authorized
to possess the same. By his mere possession of the drug, there is
already a prima facie evidence of knowledge, which he failed to rebut.
Supreme Court sustained his conviction for the crime of illegal
possession of dangerous drug, in violation of Section 11 of Article II of
R.A. 9165 otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs
Act of 2002. People of the Philippines v. George Eyam y Watang, G.R.
No. 184056, 26 November 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF DRUG


PARAPHERNALIA; ELEMENTS. The Regional Trial Court and the
Court of Appeals convicted Godofredo of illegal possession of drug
paraphernalia. The elements of illegal possession of equipment,
instrument, apparatus and other paraphernalia for dangerous drugs
under Section 12, Article II, R.A. No. 9165 are: (1) possession or

CRIMINAL LAW

16

control by the accused of any equipment, apparatus or other


paraphernalia fit or intended for smoking, consuming, administering,
injecting, ingesting, or introducing any dangerous drug into the body;
and (2) such possession is not authorized by law. The prosecution
here has convincingly established that Godofredo was in possession
of drug paraphernalia such as aluminum foil, aluminium tooter and
lighter, all of which were offered in evidence. The corresponding
receipt and inventory of the seized shabu and other drug
paraphernalia were likewise presented in evidence. Moreover, Police
Superintendent Leonidas Diaz Castillo attested to the veracity of the
contents of these documents. Thus, the Supreme Court affirmed the
decision of the lower courts. People of the Philippines v. Godofredo
Mariano y Feliciano and Allan Doringo y Gunan, G.R. No. 191193, 14
November 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; ILLEGAL SALE OF DRUGS; ELEMENTS.


Under Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165, the elements necessary
for the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs are: (1) the identities of the
buyer and the seller, the object, and consideration; and (2) the
delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. What is material
to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that
the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the
presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. All these elements
were duly established by the prosecution in this case. Appellants were
caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu during a buy-bust operation
conducted by the buy-bust team. The poseur-buyer, PO1 Olleres,
positively testified that the sale took place and that appellants sold
the shabu. Simply put, Godofredo produced two (2) plastic sachets
containingshabu and gave it to PO1 Olleres in exchange for
P1,000.00. Also, Allan had offered and given two (2) more sachets
containing shabu to PO3 Razo, who in turn, handed him P600.00.
PO3 Razo corroborated the account of PO1 Olleres. The result of the
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laboratory examination confirmed the presence of methamphetamine


hydrochloride on the white crystalline substances inside the four (4)
plastic sachets confiscated from appellants. The marked money was
presented in evidence. Thus, the delivery of the illicit drug to PO1
Olleres and PO3 Razo and the receipt by appellants of the marked
money successfully consummated the buy-bust transaction. People of
the Philippines v. Godofredo Mariano y Feliciano and Allan Doringo y
Gunan, G.R. No. 191193, 14 November 2012.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; SALE OR POSSESSION OF


DANGEROUS DRUGS; NARCOTICS SUBSTANCE CONSTITUTES
CORPUS DELICTI. Sale or possession of a dangerous drug can never
be proven without seizure and identification of the prohibited drug. In
prosecutions involving narcotics, the narcotic substance itself
constitutes the corpus delicti of the offense and the fact of its
existence is vital to sustain a judgment of conviction beyond
reasonable doubt. People of the Philippines v. Reynaldo Nacua, et al,
accused; Reynaldo Nacua, accused-appellant, G.R. No. 200165, 30
January 2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; SALE OR POSSESSION OF


DANGEROUS DRUGS; STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH RULES ON
CHAIN OF CUSTODY REQUIRED. Given the unique characteristic of
dangerous and illegal drugs which are indistinct, not readily
identifiable, and easily susceptible to tampering, alteration, or
substitution, either by accident or otherwise, there must be strict
compliance with the prescribed measures to be observed during and
after the seizure of dangerous drugs and related paraphernalia,
during the custody and transfer thereof for examination, and at all
times up to their presentation in court. Such measures are described
with particularity under section 21(1) of Republic Act No. 9165 and
section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of
Republic Act No. 9165. Moreover, in People v. Coreche, the Supreme

CRIMINAL LAW

17

Court emphasized that the marking of the seized drugs must be done
immediately after they are seized from the accused and failure to do
so suffices to rebut the presumption of regularity in the performance
of official duties and raises reasonable doubt as to the authenticity of
the corpus delicti. People of the Philippines v. Reynaldo Nacua, et al,

accused; Reynaldo Nacua, accused-appellant, G.R. No. 200165, 30


January 2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; SALE OR POSSESSION OF


DANGEROUS DRUGS; STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH RULES ON
CHAIN OF CUSTODY REQUIRED. In this case, there was a total
disregard of the requirements of law and jurisprudence. The
prosecution even admits that the police officers acquired the sachet of
shabu presented in court against accused-appellant in a mere testbuy operation by SPO1 Rosales, PO3 Luague, and PO1 Anion. The
police officers, after supposedly buying the sachet of shabu from the
Nacua couple for Two Hundred Pesos (P200.00), left the residence of
the Nacua couple, without recovering the marked money or effecting
the couples arrest. The police officers brought the sachet of
suspected shabu all the way back to their police station, and only
there marked the said item, without the presence of the accused
and/or other disinterested witnesses. While the Supreme Court (SC)
allows for relaxation of the rules in some cases, there must be
compelling and justifiable grounds for the same and it must be shown
that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items have been
properly preserved. However, such conditions are not present in the
instant case. Firstly, the prosecution did not offer any explanation as
to why the police officers failed to strictly comply with the established
procedure for the custody of the suspected shabu. The SC thus
surmised that the operation on September 2, 2005 was only meant to
be a test-buy, so that the police officers could secure a search
warrant for the house of the Nacua couple. There was no original
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intention to arrest and charge the Nacua couple for the shabu
purchase that day. Surprisingly and inexplicably, however, the
prosecution chose to indict the Nacua couple for the test-buy
conducted on September 2, 2005, rather than for the result of the
search conducted on September 21, 2005 at the house of the Nacua
couple which purportedly yielded more shabu and related
paraphernalia and led to the arrest of the couple. Secondly, the
prosecution failed to show that the integrity and evidentiary value of
the sachet of suspected shabu allegedly bought from the Nacua
couple during the test-buy operation has been properly preserved
from the time said item was transmitted to the crime laboratory up to
its presentation in court. No evidence was offered to show as to how
the said specimen was kept and by whom after its forensic
examination throughout its presentation in court. With reasonable
doubt as to the authenticity of the corpus delicti, the acquittal of
accused-appellant of the crime charged is in order. People of the
Philippines v. Reynaldo Nacua, et al, accused; Reynaldo Nacua, accusedappellant, G.R. No. 200165, 30 January 2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS; CHAIN OF CUSTODY RULE. The accused


argues that the NBI operatives failed to observe the chain of custody
rule in dangerous drugs cases. The Supreme Court did not agree. The
alleged failure of the apprehending team to inventory and photograph
the confiscated items immediately after the operation is not fatal to
the prosecutions cause. What is of utmost importance is the
preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized
items, as the same would be used in the determination of the guilt or
innocence of the accused. Here, the integrity and evidentiary value of
the seized drugs had been preserved as there is evidence to account
for the crucial links in the chain of custody of the seized shabu,
starting from its confiscation to its presentation as evidence in the

CRIMINAL LAW

18

Regional Trial Court. People of the Philippines v. Hong Yen E and Tsien
Tsien Chua, G.R. No. 181826, 9 January 2013.

ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS DRUGS; ELEMENTS. The


elements of illegal possession of prohibited drugs are as follows: (a)
the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to
be a prohibited drug; (b) such possession is not authorized by law;
and (c) the accused freely and consciously possessed the prohibited
drug. The evidence on record clearly established that appellant Chua
was in possession of the plastic bags containing prohibited drugs
without the requisite authority. Applying section 3(j), Rule 131 of the
Rules of Court, a disputable presumption arises that she is the owner
of the bag and its contents. It may be rebutted by contrary proof that
the accused did not in fact exercise power and control over the thing
in question, and did not intend to do so. The burden of evidence is
thus shifted to the possessor to explain absence of animus
possidendi. Here, Chua failed to present evidence to rebut the
presumption. People of the Philippines v. Hong Yen E and Tsien Tsien
Chua, G.R. No. 181826, 9 January 2013.

ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS DRUGS; BUY-BUST OPERATIONS


OR DECOY SOLICITATIONS ARE VALID. A police officers act of
soliciting drugs from appellant during the buy-bust operation, or
what is known as the decoy solicitation, is not prohibited by law and
does not invalidate the buy-bust operation. In People v. Legaspi, the
Supreme Court pronounced that in a prosecution for sale of illicit
drugs, any of the following will not exculpate the accused: (1) that
facilities for the commission of the crime were intentionally placed in
his way; or (2) that the criminal act was done at the solicitation of the
decoy or poseur-buyer seeking to expose his criminal act; or (3) that
the police authorities feigning complicity in the act were present and
apparently assisted in its commission. Hence, even assuming that the
PAOCTF operatives repeatedly asked her to sell them shabu,
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appellants defense of instigation will not prosper. This is especially


true in that class of cases where the offense is the kind that is
habitually committed, and the solicitation merely furnished evidence
of a course of conduct. Mere deception by the police officer will not
shield the perpetrator, if the offense was committed by him free from
the influence or instigation of the police officer. People of the

Philippines v. Simpresueta M. Seraspe, G.R. No. 180919, 9 January


2013.

ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS DRUGS; ELEMENTS. In the


prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, the two essential
elements are: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object,
and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the
payment therefor. Hence, evidence that establishes both elements by
the required quantum of proof, i.e., guilt beyond reasonable doubt,
must be presented. Here, the said elements were duly proved by the
prosecution. Carla and P/Chief Insp. Dandan positively identified
appellant and her co-accused as the sellers of the contraband who
sold the same in exchange for the marked money. The item was
seized, marked and upon examination was identified as shabu, a
dangerous drug. The same was subsequently presented in evidence.
Moreover, Carla provided a detailed testimony as to the delivery and
sale of shabu. Thus, the SC found no reason to doubt the above
testimony of Carla. Aside from the fundamental rule that findings of
the trial court regarding the credibility of prosecution witnesses are
accorded respect considering that it is the trial court that had the
opportunity to observe their conduct and demeanor, the SC noted
that appellant herself corroborated the prosecutions account of the
crime. People of the Philippines v. Simpresueta M. Seraspe, G.R. No.
180919, 9 January 2013.

RA 9262; VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN;


LENIENCY IN FAVOR OF ACCUSED DUE TO AMBIGUITY OF THE

CRIMINAL LAW

19

LAW INAPPLICABLE. The Supreme Court held that it cannot


construe the statute in favor of petitioner using the rule of leniency
because there is no ambiguity in RA 9262 that would necessitate any
construction. While the degree of physical harm under RA 9262 and
Article 2668 of the Revised Penal Code are the same, there is
sufficient justification for prescribing a higher penalty for the former.
Clearly, the legislative intent is to purposely impose a more severe
sanction on the offenders whose violent act/s physically harm women
with whom they have or had a sexual or dating relationship, and/or
their children with the end in view of promoting the protection of
women and children. Karlo Angelo Dabalos y San Diego v. Regional

Trial Court, Branch 59, Angeles City, etc., et al, G.R. No. 193960, 7
January 2013.

RA 9262; VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN; CRIME


OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN; ELEMENTS. Petitioner here
insists that the act which resulted in physical injuries to private
respondent is not covered by RA 9262 because its proximate cause
was not their dating relationship. Instead, he claims that the offense
committed was only slight physical injuries under the Revised Penal
Code which falls under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court.
The Supreme Court (SC) did not give credence to this argument. In
Ang v. Court of Appeals, the SC enumerated the elements of the crime
of violence against women through harassment, to wit: (1) The
offender has or had a sexual or dating relationship with the offended
woman; (2) The offender, by himself or through another, commits an
act or series of acts of harassment against the woman; and (3) The
harassment alarms or causes substantial emotional or psychological
distress to her. Karlo Angelo Dabalos y San Diego v. Regional Trial
Court, Branch 59, Angeles City, etc., et al, G.R. No. 193960, 7 January
2013.

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RA 9262; VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND CHILDREN; CRIME


OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN NEED NOT BE A CONSEQUENCE
OF AN EXISTING OR PRESENT DATING RELATIONSHIP. Notably,
while it is required that the offender has or had a sexual or dating
relationship with the offended woman for RA 9262 to be applicable, it
is not indispensable that the act of violence be a consequence of such
relationship. Nowhere in the law can such limitation be inferred.
Hence, applying the rule on statutory construction that when the law
does not distinguish, neither should the courts, then, clearly, the
punishable acts refer to all acts of violence against women with whom
the offender has or had a sexual or dating relationship. As correctly
ruled by the Regional Trial Court, it is immaterial whether the
relationship had ceased for as long as there is sufficient evidence
showing the past or present existence of such relationship between
the offender and the victim when the physical harm was committed.
Consequently, the SC did not depart from the parallelism in Ang and
give credence to petitioners assertion that the act of violence should be
due to the sexual or dating relationship. Karlo Angelo Dabalos y San Diego
v. Regional Trial Court, Branch 59, Angeles City, etc., et al, G.R. No.
193960, 7 January 2013.

ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT; OFFENSES UNDER


SECTION 3(E) OF R.A. 3019. Braza challenges the sufficiency of the
allegations in the second information because there is no indication of
any actual and quantifiable injury suffered by the government. He
then argues that the facts under the second information are
inadequate to support a valid indictment for violation of section 3(e) of
R.A. 3019. In a catena of cases, the Supreme Court (SC) has held that
there are two (2) ways by which a public official violates section 3(e) of
R.A. 3019 in the performance of his functions, namely: [1] by causing
undue injury to any party, including the Government; or [2] by giving
any private party any unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference.

CRIMINAL LAW

20

The accused may be charged under either mode or under both. The
disjunctive term or connotes that either act qualifies as a violation
of section 3(e) of R.A. 3019. In other words, the presence of one would
suffice for conviction. It must be emphasized that Braza was indicted
for violation of section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 under the second mode. To
be found guilty under the second mode, it suffices that the accused
has given unjustified favor or benefit to another, in the exercise of his
official, administrative and judicial functions. The element of damage
is not required for violation of section 3(e) under the second mode. In
the case at bench, the second information alleged, in substance, that
accused public officers and employees, discharging official or
administrative function, together with Braza, confederated and
conspired to give FABMIK Construction and Equipment Supply
Company, Inc. unwarranted benefit or preference by awarding to it
Contract J.D. No. 06H00050 through manifest partiality or evident
bad faith, without the conduct of a public bidding and compliance
with the requirement for qualification contrary to the provisions of
R.A. 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act. Settled is the
rule that private persons, when acting in conspiracy with public
officers, may be indicted and, if found guilty, held liable for the
pertinent offenses under section 3 of R.A. 3019. Isabelo A. Braza vs.
Sandiganbayan [1st Division], GR 195032, 20 February 2013.

DANGEROUS
DRUGS
ACT;
BUY-BUST
OPERATIONS;
DISTINCTION BETWEEN ENTRAPMENT AND INSTIGATION. A buybust operation has been recognized in this jurisdiction as a legitimate
form of entrapment of the culprit. It is distinct from instigation, in
that the accused who is otherwise not predisposed to commit the
crime is enticed or lured or talked into committing the crime. While
entrapment is legal, instigation is not. In entrapment, prior
surveillance is not necessary to render a buy-bust operation
legitimate, especially when the buy-bust team is accompanied to the
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target area by the informant. Also, the presentation of an informant


as a witness is not regarded as indispensable to the success of a
prosecution of a drug-dealing accused in view of the need to protect
the informant from the retaliation of the culprit arrested through his
efforts. Only when the testimony of the informant is considered
absolutely essential in obtaining the conviction of the culprit should
the need to protect his security be disregarded. Here, the police
officer, who acted as a poseur-buyer, asked the accused if he could
buy shabu, and the latter, in turn, quickly transacted with the
former, receiving the marked bill from the police officer and turning
over the sachet of shabu he took from his pocket. The accused was
shown to have been ready to sell the shabu without much prodding
from the police officer. There is no question that the idea to commit
the crime originated from the mind of the accused. Also, the
informants testimony as a witness against the accused would only be
corroborative of the sufficient testimony of the police officer as the
poseur-buyer; hence, such testimony was unnecessary. People of the
Philippines v. Noel Bartolome y Bajo, G.R. No. 191726, 6 February
2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; CHAIN OF CUSTODY; BUY-BUST


OPERATIONS. The chain of custody of the seized drugs in a buy-bust
operation is sufficiently established when there is proof of the
following: first, the seizure and marking, if practicable, of the illegal
drug recovered from the accused by the apprehending officer; second,
the turnover of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending officer to
the investigating officer; third, the turnover by the investigating officer
of the illegal drug to the forensic chemist for laboratory examination;
and fourth, the turnover and submission of the marked illegal drug
seized from the forensic chemist to the court. The failure of the police
officers to make an inventory report and to photograph the drugs
seized from Linda and Elizabeth, as required by Article II, section 21,

CRIMINAL LAW

21

paragraph 1 of R.A. 9165, are not automatically fatal to the


prosecutions case, as it was able to trace and prove the chain of
custody of the same. People of the Philippines v. Linda Alviz y Yatco
and Elizabeth Dela Vega y Bautista, G.R. No. 177158, February 6, 2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; CHAIN OF CUSTODY; PROCEDURE.


The buy-bust team in this case did not observe the procedures laid
down in section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of
R.A. 9165. They did not conduct a physical inventory and no
photograph of the confiscated item was taken in the presence of the
accused-appellant, or his/her representative or counsel, a
representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ),
and any elected public official. In fact, the prosecution failed to
present an accomplished Certificate of Inventory. Further, the
circumstances obtaining from the time the buy-bust team was
organized until the chain of custody commenced were riddled with
procedural lapses and inconsistencies between the testimony and the
documents presented as evidence in court so much so that even
assuming, that the physical inventory contemplated in R.A. 9165
subsumes the marking of the items itself, the belated marking of the
seized items at the police station sans the required presence of the
accused and the witnesses enumerated under section 21(a) of the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9165, and absent a
justifiable ground to stand on, cannot be considered a minor
deviation from the procedures prescribed by the law. There being a
gross, systematic, or deliberate disregard of the procedural
safeguards the presumption of regularity in the performance of
official duties is overturned. People vs. Jose Alex V. Secreto GR
198115, 27 February 2013

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; CHAIN OF CUSTODY; SUBSTANTIAL


COMPLIANCE MAY BE SANCTIONED. Defense suggests that the
non-marking of the seized illegal drug at the place where the same
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was confiscated is enough to exonerate the accused-appellant. The


reason is that this allegedly places in doubt the authenticity of the
drug delivered to the crime laboratory for examination. However, the
Supreme Court found that the prosecution has properly established
the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit at least from the time it
came into possession of the police officers, during its testing in the
laboratory to determine its composition and up to the time it was
offered in evidence. The function of the chain of custody requirement
is to ensure that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized
items are preserved, so much so that unnecessary doubts as to the
identity of the evidence are removed. As long as the integrity and
evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the
apprehending police officers, substantial compliance with the
procedure to establish a chain of custody is sanctioned. People of the
Philippines v. Saiben Langcua y Daimla, G.R. No. 190343, February 6,
2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; CHAIN OF CUSTODY; INTEGRITY AND


EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF THE SEIZED ITEMS SHOULD BE
PRESERVED. Failure to strictly comply with section 21 of R.A. 9165,
which outlines the procedure on the chain of custody of confiscated,
seized, or surrendered dangerous drugs, will not render an arrest
illegal or the items seized from the accused inadmissible in evidence.
What is crucial is that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized
items are preserved for they will be used in the determination of the
guilt or innocence of the accused. In the case at bar, the Supreme
Court found that the prosecution was able to establish that the
integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated illegal drugs had
been maintained. P/Insp. Salazar, who was one of the apprehending
officers, marked the seized items in front of accused Manalao and the
other apprehending officers. P/Insp. Salazar, who was also the
investigating officer, thereafter signed a request for the laboratory

CRIMINAL LAW

22

examination of the seized drugs, which was received by Forensic


Chemist Mag-abo, together with the items enumerated therein. She
then testified in open court on how her examination confirmed that
the seized items, which she submitted in court, tested positive for
shabu. Besides, unless there is a showing of bad faith, ill will, or
proof that the evidence has been tampered or meddled with, the
presumptions that the integrity of such evidence had been preserved
and that the police officers who handled the seized drugs had
discharged their duties properly and with regularity remain. The
burden to overcome such presumptions lies on Manalao, and the
Supreme Court found that he failed to do so. People of the Philippines
v. Malik Manalao y Alauya, G.R. No. 187496, February 6, 2013.

DANGEROUS
DRUGS
ACT;
ILLEGAL
POSSESSION
OF
DANGEROUS DRUGS; ELEMENTS. When prosecuting an illegal
possession of dangerous drugs case, the following elements must be
established: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or object,
which is identified to be a prohibited drug; (2) such possession is not
authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely and consciously
possessed the drug. Mere possession of a prohibited drug, without
legal authority, is punishable under R.A. 9165. Since accused
Manalao failed to adduce any evidence showing that he had legal
authority to possess the seized drugs, then he was correctly charged
with its illegal possession. The Supreme Court has time and again
looked upon the defense of denial with disfavor for being easily
fabricated. Since accused failed to give anything more than his bare
assertions, his defense of denial must necessarily be rejected. People
of the Philippines v. Malik Manalao y Alauya, G.R. No. 187496, February
6, 2013.

DANGEROUS
DRUGS
ACT;
ILLEGAL
POSSESSION
OF
DANGEROUS DRUGS; ELEMENTS. In prosecuting cases for illegal
possession of dangerous drugs, the prosecution must establish the
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following elements: (1) the accused is in possession of an item or


object, which is identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug; (2)
such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused freely
and consciously possessed the drug. The above elements were all duly
established by the prosecution. After De Jesus was validly arrested
for the illegal sale of drugs, he was searched and frisked, pursuant to
section 13, Rule 126 of the Rules of Court, or the provision on
searches incident to lawful arrest. Upon such search, De Jesus was
found to be in possession of eight heat-sealed sachets of shabu, an
item identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug. De Jesus failed to
show that he had authority to possess them. Moreover, mere
possession of a prohibited drug constitutes prima facie evidence of
knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused in
the absence of satisfactory explanation. People of the Philippines v.
Victor De Jesus y Garcia, G.R. No. 198794, February 6, 2013.

DANGEROUS
DRUGS
ACT;
ILLEGAL
POSSESSION
OF
DANGEROUS DRUGS; ELEMENTS. To prosecute illegal possession of
dangerous drugs, there must be a showing that (1) the accused is in
possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited
drug; (2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the
accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug. As an
incident to the arrest, Galido was ordered to empty his pockets which
led to the confiscation of another plastic sachet containing illegal
drugs. The defense presented no evidence to prove that the
possession was authorized by law, the defense being non-possession
or denial of possession. However, such denial cannot prevail over the
positive identification made by the police officials. For the defense
position to prosper, the defense must adduce clear and convincing
evidence to overcome the presumption that government officials have
performed their duties in a regular and proper manner. Galido failed
to present any evidence that the police officials were distrustful in

CRIMINAL LAW

23

their performance of duties. He even testified that prior to the arrest;


he did not have any quarrel or misunderstanding with the police
officers nor was he acquainted with any reason that they carried a
grudge against him. Thus, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of
the lower courts convicting Galido of illegal possession of dangerous
drugs. People of the Philippines v. James Galido y Noble, G.R. No.
192231, February 13, 2013.

DANGEROUS
DRUGS
ACT;
ILLEGAL
POSSESSION
OF
DANGEROUS DRUGS; ELEMENTS; ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE.
In a prosecution for illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the
following facts must be proven with moral certainty: (1) that the
accused is in possession of the object identified as prohibited or
regulated drug; (2) that such possession is not authorized by law; and
(3) that the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug.
Accused concedes that frisking passengers at the airport is a
standard procedure but assails the conduct of Soriano and PO1
Trota-Bartolome in singling him out by making him stretch out his
arms and empty his pockets. He believes such meticulous search was
unnecessary because, as Soriano himself testified, there was no beep
sound when petitioner walked past through the metal detector and
hence nothing suspicious was indicated by that initial security check.
In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that prosecution has
satisfactorily established that airport security officers found in the
person of accused the marijuana fruiting tops, an illegal substance,
contained in rolled paper sticks during the final security check at the
airports pre-departure area. Accuseds reluctance to show the
contents of his short pants pocket after the friskers hand felt the
rolled papers containing marijuana, and his nervous demeanor
aroused the suspicion of the arresting officers that he was indeed
carrying an item or material subject to confiscation by the said
authorities. The search of the contents of petitioners short pants
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pockets being a valid search pursuant to routine airport security


procedure, the illegal substance (marijuana) seized from him was
therefore admissible in evidence. Don Djowel Sales y Abalahin v. People
of the Philippines, G.R. No. 191023, February 6, 2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS


DRUGS; ELEMENTS. The elements necessary to successfully
prosecute an illegal sale of drugs case are (1) the identity of the buyer
and the seller, the object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery
of the thing sold and the payment therefor. The prosecution must
establish that the illegal sale of the dangerous drugs actually took
place together with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti or
the dangerous drugs seized in evidence. In this case, the prosecution
was able to establish the above elements. Accused Manalao was
positively identified by PO1 Solarta, who knew him even before the
operation, as the one who sold the seized shabu subject of this case
to the poseur-buyer. Manalao was caught in flagrante delicto in the
entrapment operation conducted by the PNP of Tubod, Lanao del
Norte. Moreover, the corpus delicti of the crime was also established
with certainty and conclusiveness. People of the Philippines v. Malik
Manalao y Alauya, G.R. No. 187496, February 6, 2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS


DRUGS; ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS DRUGS;
ELEMENTS. As found by the lower courts, the prosecution proved
beyond reasonable doubt the elements of illegal sale of dangerous
drugs: (1) the accused sold and delivered a prohibited drug to another
and (2) knew that what was sold and delivered was a prohibited drug;
and illegal possession of dangerous drugs: (1) the accused is in
possession of the object identified as a prohibited or regulatory drug;
(2) such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) the accused
freely and consciously possessed the said drugs. Manifest on record is
thatthe buy-bust transaction between the police operatives and Diwa

CRIMINAL LAW

24

was unequivocally established by the prosecution, and it was so


found by both lower courts. After being identified by the informant,
Diwa was approached by PO3 Galvez for the purchase of marijuana.
Diwa, after ascertaining the quantity to be purchased and accepting
the marked money from PO3 Galvez, handed him a portion of
marijuana from the bunch wrapped in newspaper, contained in the
yellow SM Supermarket plastic bag. The contents thereof were sent
to the Physical Sciences Division, and after examination, confirmed to
be marijuana, a dangerous drug. People of the Philippines v. Magsalin
Diwa y Gutierrez, G.R. No. 194253, February 27, 2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; ILLEGAL SALE OF SHABU. To establish


the crime of illegal sale of shabu, the prosecution must prove beyond
reasonable doubt (a) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the
identity of the object and the consideration of the sale; and (b) the
delivery of the thing sold and of the payment for the thing. It simply
requires the consummation of the selling transaction, which happens
at the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. If a police
officer goes through the operation as a buyer, the crime is
consummated when the police officer makes an offer to buy that is
accepted by the accused, and there is an ensuing exchange between
them involving the delivery of the dangerous drugs to the police
officer. Should the accused raise the defense of frame-up and
extortion, the same must be established with clear and convincing
evidence because the fact that frame-up and extortion could be easily
concocted renders such defenses hard to believe. In this case, the
accused merely put up self-serving denials. If indeed the accused was
merely a victim of frame-up and extortion, there was no reason for
him and his brother not to have formally charged the police officers
with the severely penalized offense of planting of evidence under
section 2915 of R.A. 9165 and extortion. Therefore, the Supreme
Court rendered the defenses of frame-up and extortion implausible.
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People of the Philippines v. Noel Bartolome y Bajo, G.R. No. 191726,


February 6, 2013.

DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; ILLEGAL SALE OF DRUGS; ELEMENTS.


What is material is proof that the transaction or sale actually took
place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of the
corpus delicti. The commission of illegal sale merely consummates
the selling transaction, which happens the moment the buyer receives
the drug from the seller. As long as the police officer went through the
operation as a buyer, whose offer was accepted by seller, followed by
the delivery of the dangerous drugs to the former, the crime is already
consummated. In this case, the prosecution has adequately proven all
the elements constituting sale of illegal drug. This is evident from the
testimony of PO1 Domingo, who identified in open court the white
crystalline substance contained in the plastic sachet as the one
handed by Langcua to him during the buy-bust operation. The
substance
yielded
positive
result
for
methamphetamine
hydrochloride, a dangerous drug, as evidenced by the Chemistry
Report given by PSI Cayabyab. People of the Philippines v. Saiben
Langcua y Daimla, G.R. No. 190343, February 6, 2013.

P.D. 1612 (ANTI-FENCING LAW); PRESENTATION OF SALES


INVOICE OR RECEIPT PROVIDES PROOF OF A LEGITIMATE
TRANSACTION WHICH IS DISPUTABLE. The accused was charged
with violation of P.D. 1612, otherwise known as the Anti-Fencing
Law, after he was found, in a buy-bust operation, to have possessed
13 of the 38 Firestone tires stolen from the owner AA. In his defense,
accused alleged that he bought the tires from a certain store named
Gold Link, as evidenced by a sales invoice issued in his name. The
Supreme Court ruled that the defense of legitimate transaction is
disputable and has in fact been disputed in this case. The validity of
the issuance of the receipt was disputed, and the prosecution was
able to prove that Gold Link and its address were fictitious. Ong failed
to overcome the evidence presented by the prosecution and to prove

CRIMINAL LAW

25

the legitimacy of the transaction. Thus, he was unable to rebut the


prima facie presumption under section 5 of P.D. 1612. Jaime Ong y
Ong v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 190475, April 10,
2013.
R. A. 6426; DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OF 1972; THE CRIME OF
UNLAWFUL SALE OF MARIJUANA NECESSARILY INCLUDES THE
CRIME OF UNLAWFUL POSSESSION THEREOF. The accused
invoked on appeal his constitutional right to be informed of the
nature and cause of the accusation against him because the trial
court convicted him for the crime of unlawful possession of marijuana
under section 8 of R.A. 6426, although the information had charged
him for unlawful sale of marijuana under section 4 of R.A. 6426. The
Supreme Court held that the crime of illegal sale of marijuana implied
prior possession of the marijuana. As such, the crime of illegal sale
included or absorbed the crime of illegal possession. The right of the
accused to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation
against him was not violated simply because the information had
precisely charged him with selling, delivering, giving away and
distributing more or less 750 grams of dried marijuana leaves. Thus,
he had been sufficiently given notice that he was also to be held to
account for possessing more or less 750 grams of dried marijuana
leaves. People of the Philippines v. Chad Manansala y Lagman, G.R. No.
175939, April 3, 2013.

R.A. 9165; DANGEROUS DRUGS LAW; CHAIN OF CUSTODY MUST


BE PROVED FOR A CHARGE OF ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS
DRUGS TO SUCCEED. The Supreme Court reversed the conviction of
the accused where the prosecution failed to prove the chain of
custody of the dangerous drugs alleged to have been sold by the
accused to the poseur buyer. Although the police officer testified that
he had marked the sachet of shabu with his own initials following
arrest of the accused, he did not explain, either in his court testimony
or in the joint affidavit of arrest, whether his marking had been done
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in the presence of the accused, or done immediately upon the arrest


of the accused. Nor did he show by testimony or otherwise who had
taken custody of the sachet of shabu after he had done his marking,
and who had subsequently brought the sachet of shabu to the police
station, and, still later on, to the laboratory. Given the possibility of
just anyone bringing any quantity of shabu to the laboratory for
examination, there is now no assurance that the quantity presented
here as evidence was the same article that had been the subject of the
sale by the accused. The indeterminateness of the identities of the
individuals who could have handled the sachet of shabu after the
police officers marking broke the chain of custody, and tainted the
integrity of the shabu ultimately presented as evidence to the trial
court. People of the Philippines v. Alberto Gonzales y Santos aka Takyo,
G.R. No. 182417, April 3, 2013.

R.A. NO. 9165; DANGEROUS DRUGS LAW; PRESENCE OF THE


BARANGAY CAPTAIN OR ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL NOT
REQUIRED DURING THE BUY-BUST OPERATION, BUT ONLY
DURING THE PHYSICAL INVENTORY CONDUCTED IMMEDIATELY
THEREAFTER. The accused argued on appeal that the trial court
failed to consider the procedural flaws committed by the arresting
officers in the seizure and custody of drugs as embodied in Section
21, paragraph 1, Article II, of R.A. 9165. Among others, accused
alleged that the barangay captain, was not present during the alleged
buy-bust operation. He was only asked to sign the inventory of the
seized items shortly after his arrival at the scene of the buy-bust
operation. Thus, he has no personal knowledge as to whether the
drugs allegedly seized from the accused were indeed recovered from
them. The Supreme Court ruled that it is enough that the barangay
captain is present during the physical inventory immediately
conducted after the seizure and confiscation of the drugs and he
signs the copies of the inventory and is given a copy thereof. Also, the
barangay captain, not only positively identified by both accused, but
also identified the items contained in the inventory receipt. Such

CRIMINAL LAW

26

testimony clearly established compliance with the requirement of


Section 21 with regard to the presence and participation of the elected
public official. People of the Philippines v. Gerry Octavio y Florendo
and Reynaldo Cario y Martir, G.R. No. 199219, April 3, 2013.

R.A. 9165; DANGEROUS DRUGS LAW; WHERE NONCOMPLIANCE


OF THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY RULE IS JUSTIFIED. The accused
argued that the chain of custody of the illegal drug, which was
confiscated upon her arrest, was not strictly followed. Specifically, the
illegal drug was marked only in the police station, not in the place
where the buy-bust operation took place. The prosecution explained
that the police officers did not have the opportunity to mark the illegal
drug in the place where accused was arrested because the latter had
become hysterical and had caused a commotion. The Supreme Court
ruled that while the procedural guidelines laid out in section 21(1),
Article II of R.A. 9165 were not strictly complied with, the integrity
and the evidentiary value of the illegal drugs used in evidence in this
case were duly preserved in consonance with the chain of custody
rule. The arresting officer was justified in marking the seized plastic
sachet of shabu at the police station, instead of at the scene of the
buy-bust operation because he had no choice but to immediately
extricate himself and the accused from the crime scene in order to
forestall a potentially dangerous situation. Thereafter, the arresting
officer turned the illegal drug over to the investigating officer, who
then had it tested in the Crime Laboratory Office of the Manila Police
District. Substantial compliance with the procedural aspect of the
chain of custody rule does not necessarily render the seized drug
items inadmissible. The conviction of the accused was affirmed.
People of the Philippines v. Lolita Quesido y Badarang, G.R. No.
189351, April 10, 2013.

R.A. 9165; Dangerous Drugs Law; where seized items deemed


admissible in evidence despite failure of arresting officers to
comply strictly with the procedural requirements relative to the
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seizure and custody of the drugs. The accused argued on appeal


that the trial court failed to consider the procedural flaws committed
by the arresting officers in the seizure and custody of drugs as
embodied in section 21, paragraph 1, Article II, of R.A. 9165. Among
others, accused allege that no photograph was taken of the items
seized from them. In dismissing the appeal of the accused, the
Supreme Court held that even if the arresting officers failed to take a
photograph of the seized drugs as required, such procedural lapse is
not fatal and will not render the items seized inadmissible in
evidence. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the
integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would
be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the
accused. For as long as the chain of custody remains unbroken, as in
this case, even though the procedural requirements provided for in
section 21 of R.A. No. 9165 was not faithfully observed, the guilt of
the accused will not be affected. People of the Philippines v. Gerry
Octavio y Florendo and Reynaldo Cario y Martir, G.R. No. 199219,
April 3, 2013.

ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH; E.O. NO. 1, SERIES OF 1986; THE MERE


HOLDING OF A POSITION IN THE MARCOS ADMINISTRATION
DID NOT NECESSARILY MAKE THE HOLDER A CLOSE
ASSOCIATE OF MARCOS. There are two concurring elements that
must be present before assets or properties can be considered as illgotten wealth, namely: (a) they must have originated from the
government itself, and (b) they must have been taken by former
President Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, and close
associates by illegal means. As can be gleaned from the above,
evidentiary substantiation of the allegations of how the wealth was
illegally acquired and by whom was necessary. For that purpose, the
mere holding of a position in the Marcos administration did not
necessarily make the holder a close associate within the context of
E.O. No.1. Indeed, a prima facie showing must be made to show that
one unlawfully accumulated wealth by virtue of a close association or

CRIMINAL LAW

27

relation with President Marcos and/or his wife. It would not suffice,
then, that one served during the administration of President Marcos
as a government official or employee. In this case, the Republic
particularly insists that Luz Bakunawa served as the Social Secretary
or the Assistant Social Secretary of First Lady Marcos, and mentions
several other circumstances that indicated her close relationship with
the Marcoses. However, Luz Bakunawa maintains that she was not
First Lady Marcos Social Secretary, but a mere member of the staff of
the Social Secretary; and that the assets of the Bakunawas were
honestly earned and acquired well within the legitimate income of
their businesses. Thus, the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the
Sandiganbayan that the evidence of the Republic was able to
establish, at best, that Luz Bakunawa had been an employee in
Malacaang Palace during the Marcos administration, and did not
establish her having a close relationship with the Marcoses, or her
having abused her position or employment in order to amass the
assets subject of this case. Consequently, Luz Bakunawa could not be
considered a close associate or subordinate of the Marcoses within
the context of E.O. No. 1 and E.O. No. 2. Republic of the Philippines
represented by the Presidential Commission on Good Government v.
Luz Reyes Bakunawa, et al, G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013.

ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS DRUGS; CHAIN OF CUSTODY.


The Supreme Court here held that while there were indeed five
sachets of suspected shabu sold to the poseur-buyer, there were still
more broken links in the chain of custody. In this case, one broken
link was that of the turnover of the seized items from the buy-bust
team to the police investigator, SPO1 Doria. PO2 Dizon testified that
after he placed the marking on the five sachets of suspected shabu,
he turned them over to SPO1 Doria and the specimens were
submitted to the crime laboratory for examination. However, SPO1
Doria did not testify before the trial court so as to shed light on this
matter. Still another broken link was that involving the transfer of the
drug specimens from SPO1 Doria to the crime laboratory. P/Sr. Insp.
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Perez testified that the request for laboratory examination and drug
specimens were first received by PO2 Bagaoisan, the Duty Desk
Officer. The latter then called her to physically receive the same.
However, P/Sr. Insp. Perez stated that she did not actually see if it
was SPO1 Doria who transmitted the specimens. She merely relied on
the stamp of PO2 Bagaoisan. Furthermore, PO2 Bagaoisan was not
presented in court to prove that it was indeed SPO1 Doria who
delivered the drug specimens to the crime laboratory. In view of the
evident breaks in the chain of custody, very serious doubts arise as to
the identity of the seized illegal drugs in this case. Apparently, there
can be no absolute certainty if the sachets of shabu seized from the
informant were the very same drugs handed by accused-appellant, or,
later on, the same drugs transmitted to the crime laboratory and
eventually presented before the trial court. Accused-appellant was
thus acquitted of the crime charged. People of the Philippines v.
Rogelia Jardinel Pepino-Consulta, G.R. No. 191071, 28 August
2013.
ILLEGAL SALE OF DANGEROUS DRUGS; ELEMENTS. For the
prosecution of illegal sale of drugs to prosper, the following elements
must be proved: (1) the identity of the buyer and seller, the object,
and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and its
payment. What is material is the proof that the transaction actually
took place, coupled with the presentation before the court of the
prohibited or regulated drug or the corpus delicti. The prosecution
duly established the identity of accused-appellant as a drug seller or
pusher, through the testimonies of PO2 Ibaez, the poseur-buyer,
and PO3 Allauigan, as back-up officer. PO2 Ibaez testified that it
was to accused-appellant that he handed the marked Php100.00 bill
for the shabu that he bought on March 23, 2007; and that accusedappellant was the one who took out of his coin purse a plastic sachet
containing shabu. Both PO2 Ibaez and PO3 Allauigan identified
accused-appellant as the one they arrested during the buy-bust
operation. Indeed in the instant case, all the elements constituting

CRIMINAL LAW

28

the illegal sale of dangerous drug are present. The sale of shabu was
consummated. The alleged inconsistencies in the testimonies of the
prosecution witnesses are mere minor matters, which do not detract
from the fact that a buy-bust operation was conducted. People of the
Philippines v. Ryan Blanco y Sangkula, G.R. No. 193661, August 14,
2013.

RA 3019, SEC. 3(E); ELEMENTS. The elements of the crime charged


under section 3(e) of RA 3019 are as follows: 1. The accused must be
a public officer discharging administrative, judicial or official
functions; 2. He must have acted with manifest partiality, evident bad
faith or gross inexcusable negligence; and 3. His action caused any
undue injury to any party, including the government, or gave any
private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the
discharge of his functions. The Supreme Court held that the
Sandiganbayan correctly found the concurrence of the three
elements. First, petitioner, being the city engineer of Cebu, is
undisputedly a public officer. Second, the failure of petitioner to
validate the ownership of the land on which the canal was to be built
because of his unfounded belief that it was public land constitutes
gross inexcusable negligence. In his own testimony, petitioner
impliedly admitted that it fell squarely under his duties to check the
ownership of the land with the Register of Deeds. Yet he concluded
that it was public land based solely on his evaluation of its
appearance, i.e. that it looked swampy. Moreover, the undue injury to
private complainant was established. The cutting down of her palm
trees and the construction of the canal were all done without her
approval and consent. As a result, she lost income from the sale of
the palm leaves. She also lost control and use of a part of her land.
The damage to private complainant did not end with the canals
construction. Informal settlers dirtied her private property by using
the canal constructed thereon as their lavatory, washroom, and waste
disposal site. Antonio B. Sanchez v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No.
187340, August 14, 2013.

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ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT; SECTION 3(E)


OFFENSE; ELEMENTS. In all, the petitioner failed to demonstrate
that the Sandiganbayan committed reversible errors in finding him
guilty of the violating section 3(e) of R.A. 3019. For the aforecited
provision to lie against the petitioner, the following elements must
concur: 1) The accused must be a public officer discharging
administrative, judicial or official functions; 2) He must have acted
with manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable
negligence; and 3) That his action caused undue injury to any party,
including the government, or giving any private party unwarranted
benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his functions.
Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 may be committed either by dolo, as when
the accused acted with evident bad faith or manifest partiality, or by
culpa, as when the accused committed gross inexcusable negligence.
Jovito C. Plameras v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 187268,
September 4, 2013.

ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT; SECTION 3(E)


OFFENSE; ELEMENTS. As correctly observed by the Sandiganbayan,
certain established rules, regulations and policies of the Commission
on Audit and those mandated under the Local Government Code of
1991 were knowingly sidestepped and ignored by the petitioner which
enabled CKL Enterprises/Dela Cruz to successfully get full payment
for the school desks and armchairs, despite non-delivery an act or
omission evidencing bad faith and manifest partiality. It must be
borne to mind that any procurement or acquisition of supplies or
property by local government units shall be through competitive
public bidding. The petitioner admitted in his testimony that he is
aware of such requirement, however, he proceeded just the same due
to the alleged advice of the unnamed DECS representative that there
was already a negotiated contract a representation or
misrepresentation he willfully believed in without any verification. As
a Governor, he must know that negotiated contract can only be

CRIMINAL LAW

29

resorted to in case of failure of a public bidding. As it is, there is no


public bidding to speak of that has been conducted. Intentionally or
not, it is his duty to act in a circumspect manner to protect
government funds. To do otherwise is gross inexcusable negligence, at
the very least, especially so, that petitioner acted on his own initiative
and without authorization from the Provincial School Board. Jovito C.
Plameras v. People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 187268, September 4,
2013.

ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT; SECTION 3(E)


OFFENSE; ELEMENTS. The same thing can be said about the act of
petitioner in signing the sales invoice and the bank draft knowing
that such documents would cause the withdrawal by CKL
Enterprises/Dela Cruz of the corresponding amount covered by the
Irrevocable Domestic Letter of Credit. It must be noted that any
withdrawal with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) must be
accompanied by the appropriate document evidencing deliveries. In
signing the draft and sales invoice, petitioner made it possible for CKL
Enterprises/Dela Cruz to withdraw the entire P5,666,600.00 without
any delivery of the items. As the records would bear, the CKL
Enterprises Invoice dated 16 April 1997, contains the signature of the
accused as customer. Above the customers signature is the phrase:
Received and accepted the above items in good condition. The
significance of the customers signature on the invoice is that it
initiates the process of releasing the payment to the seller. This is all
that the LBP needs in order to release the money alloted for the
purchase. Unfortunately, despite receipt of payment, it was almost a
year after when delivery of the items was made on a piece meal basissome of which were even defective. The Court, therefore, was not
persuaded that petitioner deserves to be exonerated. On the contrary,
evidence of undue injury caused to the Province of Antique and giving
of unwarranted benefit, advantage or preference to CKL
Enterprises/DelaCruz
committed
through
gross
inexcusable

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negligence was proven beyond reasonable doubt. Jovito C. Plameras v.


People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 187268, September 4, 2013.

CHAIN OF CUSTODY RULE; LEGAL EFFECT OF FAILURE TO


PROVE CHAIN OF CUSTODY. The chain of custody rule is a method
of authenticating evidence which 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. In this
case, the Supreme Court found reasonable doubt on the evidence
presented to prove an unbroken chain of custody. First, it is not clear
from the evidence that the marking, which was done in the police
station, was made in the presence of the accused or his
representative. Thus, there is already a gap in determining whether
the specimens that entered into the chain were actually the ones
examined and offered in evidence. Second, the prosecution failed to
duly accomplish the Certificate of Inventory and to take photos of the
seized items pursuant to the law. There is nothing in the records that
would show at least an attempt to comply with this procedural
safeguard; neither was there any justifiable reason propounded for
failing to do so. Third, the Supreme Court found conflicting testimony
and glaring inconsistencies that would cast doubt on the integrity of
the handling of the seized drugs. The material inconsistency of who
actually received the specimens in the Crime Laboratory creates a
cloud of doubt as to whether the integrity and evidentiary value of the
seized items were preserved. The gaps in the chain of custody creates
a reasonable doubt as to whether the specimens seized from the
accused were the same specimens brought to the laboratory and
eventually offered in court as evidence. Without adequate proof of the
corpus delicti, the conviction cannot stand. People of the Philippines
v. Freddy Salonga y Afiado, G.R. No. 194948, September 2, 2013.

COMPREHENSIVE DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT; CHAIN OF


CUSTODY; A 45% DIFFERENCE IN THE REPORTED WEIGHT OF
THE DRUGS FROM THE TIME OF THE ARREST TO THE TIME OF
THE RECEIPT BY THE LABORATORY FOR TESTING IMPLIES

CRIMINAL LAW

30

TAMPERING OF EVIDENCE. The Court of Appeals said that the


chain of custody of the seized drugs does not appear to be unbroken.
The Supreme Court (SC) held otherwise. The PDEA report to the
Provincial Prosecutors Office, the booking sheet and arrest report, the
Certificate of Inventory, and the laboratory examination request all
put down the seized shabu as weighing 0.4 gram. The forensic
chemist reported and testified, however, that the police actually
submitted only 0.2204 gram of shabu for laboratory testing, short by
0.1796 gram from what the police inventoried. It therefore suffered a
loss of 45% or nearly half of the original weight. The prosecution has
three theories: only two chemists served the entire region giving rise
to possible error; the police and the crime laboratory used different
weighing scales; and the failure of the laboratory to take into account
the weight of the sachet container. But these are mere speculations
since none of those involved was willing to admit having committed
weighing error. Speculations cannot overcome the concrete evidence
that what was seized was not what was forensically tested. This
implies tampering with the prosecution evidence. Hence, because of
the compromised evidence, the SC did not affirm the conviction of
Pornillos. People of the Philippines v. Jovi Pornillos y Hallare, G.R. No.
201109, October 2, 2013.

BP 22; CIVIL ACTION DEEMED INSTITUTED IN THE CRIMINAL


CASE. With respect to criminal actions for violation of BP 22, it is
explicitly clear that the corresponding civil action is deemed included
and that a reservation to file such separately is not allowed. The rule
is that every act or omission punishable by law has its accompanying
civil liability. The civil aspect of every criminal case is based on the
principle that every person criminally liable is also civilly liable. If the
accused, however, is not found to be criminally liable, it does not
necessarily mean that he will not likewise be held civilly liable
because extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the
extinction of the civil action. This rule more specifically applies when
(a) the acquittal is based on reasonable doubt as only preponderance
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of evidence is required; (b) the court declares that the liability of the
accused is only civil; and (c) the civil liability of the accused does not
arise from or is not based upon the crime of which the accused was
acquitted. The civil action based on the delict is extinguished if there
is a finding in the final judgment in the criminal action that the act or
omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist or where
the accused did not commit the acts or omission imputed to him.
Nissan Gallery-Ortigas v. Purification F. Felipe, G.R. No. 199067,
November 11, 2013.

BP 22; CIVIL LIABILITY DESPITE ACQUITTAL. If the judgment is of


acquittal, the imposition of the civil liability will depend on whether or
not the act or omission from which it might arise exists. A person
acquitted of a criminal charge, however, is not necessarily civilly free
because the quantum of proof required in criminal prosecution (proof
beyond reasonable doubt) is greater than that required for civil
liability (mere preponderance of evidence). In order to be completely
free from civil liability, a persons acquittal must be based on the fact
he did not commit the offense. If the acquittal is based merely on
reasonable doubt, the accused may still be held civilly liable since
this does not mean he did not commit the act complained of. It may
only be that the facts proved did not constitute the offense charged.
Nissan Gallery-Ortigas v. Purification F. Felipe, G.R. No. 199067,
November 11, 2013.

BP 22; ELEMENTS. The essential elements of the offense of violation


of BP 22 are the following: (1) The making, drawing, and issuance of
any check to apply for account or for value; (2) The knowledge of the
maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue there were no
sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of
such check in full upon its presentment; and (3) The dishonor of the
check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or the
dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid
cause, ordered the drawee bank to stop payment. In this case, the

CRIMINAL LAW

31

first and third elements were duly proven during the trial. Among the
three (3) elements, the second element is the hardest to prove as it
involves a state of mind. Thus, Section 2 of BP 22 creates a
presumption of knowledge of insufficiency of funds which, however,
arises only after it is proved that the issuer had received a written
notice of dishonor and that within five (5) days from receipt thereof,
he failed to pay the amount of the check or to make arrangements for
its payment. Accused was acquitted because the element of notice of
dishonour was not sufficiently established. Nevertheless, the act or
omission from which her civil liability arose, which was the making or
the issuing of the subject worthless check, clearly existed. Her
acquittal from the criminal charge of BP 22 was based on reasonable
doubt and it did not relieve her of the corresponding civil liability.
Nissan Gallery-Ortigas v. Purification F. Felipe,G.R. No. 199067,
November 11, 2013.

R.A. 3019; ANTI-GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES ACT;


CAUSING UNDUE INJURY. Section 3(e) of R.A. 3019 requires the
prosecution to prove that the appointments of Dr. Posadas caused
undue injury to the government or gave him unwarranted benefits.
The Supreme Court has always interpreted undue injury as actual
damage. What is more, such actual damage must not only be
capable of proof; it must be actually proved with a reasonable degree
of certainty. A finding of undue injury cannot be based on flimsy
and non-substantial evidence or upon speculation, conjecture, or
guesswork. The element of undue injury cannot be presumed even
after the supposed wrong has been established. It must be proved as
one of the elements of the crime. Here, the majority assumed that the
payment to Dr. Posadas of P30,000.00 monthly as TMC Project
Director caused actual injury to the Government. The record shows,
however, that the P247,500.00 payment to him that the COA
Resident Auditor disallowed was deducted from his terminal leave
benefits. Dr. Roger R. Posadas and Dr. Rolando P. Dayco v.

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Sandiganbayan and People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 168951 & G.R.
No. 169000, November 27, 2013.

R.A. 7610; SEXUAL ABUSE; COVERAGE. R.A. 7610 defines and


penalizes child prostitution and other sexual abuse. Sexual abuse
includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement
or coercion of a child to engage in, or assist another person to engage
in, sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct or the molestation,
prostitution, or incest with children. Lascivious conduct means the
intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the
genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks, or the
introduction of any object into the genitalia, anus or mouth, of any
person, whether of the same or opposite sex, with an intent to abuse,
humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of
any person, bestiality, masturbation, lascivious exhibition of the
genitals or pubic area of a person. People of the Philippines v. Doney
Gaduyon y Tapispisan, G.R. No. 181473, November 11, 2013.

R.A. 7610; SEXUAL ABUSE; ELEMENTS. In Section 5(b), Article III


of R.A. 7610, the following requisites must concur: (1) the accused
commits the act of sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct; (2) the
act is performed with a child exploited in prostitution or subjected to
other sexual abuse; and (3) the child, whether male or female is below
eighteen (18) years of age. This paragraph punishes sexual
intercourse or lascivious conduct not only with a child exploited in
prostitution but also with a child subjected to other sexual abuse. It
covers not only a situation where a child is abused for profit but also
one in which a child, through coercion, intimidation or influence,
engages in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct. People of the
Philippines v. Doney Gaduyon y Tapispisan, G.R. No. 181473, November
11, 2013.

R.A. 9165; DANGEROUS DRUG ACT; CHAIN OF CUSTODY;


PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS. The law excuses non-compliance

CRIMINAL LAW

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under justifiable grounds. However, whatever justifiable grounds may


excuse the police officers involved in the buy-bust operation in this
case from complying with section 21 will remain unknown, because
appellant did not question during trial the safekeeping of the items
seized from him. Indeed, the police officers alleged violations of
sections 21 and 86 of R.A. 9165 were not raised before the trial court
but were instead raised for the first time on appeal. In no instance did
appellant least intimate at the trial court that there were lapses in the
safekeeping of seized items that affected their integrity and
evidentiary value. Objection to evidence cannot be raised for the first
time on appeal; when a party desires the court to reject the evidence
offered, he must so state in the form of objection. Without such
objection he cannot raise the question for the first time on appeal.
People of the Philippines v. Marilyn Santos, et al., G.R. No. 193190,
November 13, 2013.

R.A. 9165; DANGEROUS DRUG ACT; WHERE NON-COMPLIANCE


WITH MANDATORY CHAIN OF CUSTODY RULES MAY BE
EXCUSED. Non-compliance with section 21 does not necessarily
render the arrest illegal or the items seized inadmissible because
what is essential is that the integrity and evidentiary value of the
seized items are preserved which would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. Moreover,
despite the seemingly mandatory language used in the procedural
rule at issue, a perusal of section 21, Article II of the Implementing
Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9165 reveals the existence of a clause
which may render non-compliance with said procedural rule nonprejudicial to the prosecution of drug offenses. Essentially, section
21(1) of R.A. 9165 ensures that the chain of custody of the seized
drugs to be used in evidence must be complete and unbroken. In the
case at bar, appellants argument that the arresting officers involved
were not able to strictly comply with the procedural guidelines stated
in section 21(1) did not absolve her because, notwithstanding the
procedural error, the integrity and the evidentiary value of the illegal
Prof. Roland Ysrael R. Atienza | Latest Supreme Court Decisions

drugs used in this case were duly preserved and the chain of custody
of said evidence was shown to be unbroken. People of the Philippines

CRIMINAL LAW

v. Marissa Castillo y Alignay, G.R. No. 190180, November 27, 2013.

R.A. 9165; DANGEROUS DRUG ACT; SALE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS;


ELEMENTS. To secure a conviction for illegal sale of shabu, the
following essential elements must be established: (1) the identity of
the buyer and the seller, the object of the sale and the consideration;
and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment thereof. What
is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the
proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with
the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti. The seemingly
incompatible statements of PO2 Aninias and SPO2 Male did not
destroy their credibility. Brushing aside the alleged inconsistencies in
the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the Supreme Court
found that the testimonial evidence of the prosecution duly
established the fact that appellants sold to PO2 Aninias, the poseurbuyer, six heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets that contained
white crystalline substance that later tested positive for shabu. Thus,
the elements of the crime charged had been sufficiently established.
People of the Philippines v. Marilyn Santos, et al, G.R. No. 193190,
November 13, 2013.

Prof. Roland Ysrael R. Atienza | Latest Supreme Court Decisions

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