7/29/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 182

VOL. 182, FEBRUARY 12, 1990 91
People vs. Sahagun

*
G.R. No. 62024. February 12, 1990.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs.
GINA SAHAGUN y MENDOZA, accused-appellant.

Criminal Law; Dangerous Drugs Act; Identity of the poseur-
buyer is vital where accused denies having sold marijuana to
anyone. Failure to present the poseur-buyer, in the instant case, is
fatal to the prosecution.—The American serviceman who was
alleged to be the informer was not presented before the trial
court. Without his testimony, the conclusion of the court that the
accused was seen delivering marijuana wrapped in a tin foil to the
American is not supported by the evidence on hand. Who was
delivering the marijuana and who was selling it? The accused
pointed to the American as the one selling the prohibited goods.
Such testimony was not rebutted by the prosecution since the
American-informer was never presented as a witness. Captain
Arturo Castillo, the apprehending officer, was not in a position to
see or hear the goings-on at the table of the American and the
accused. The officer was five meters away from the two persons.
The place where the event took place was dimly lighted. And with
all that noise, it would be impossible for him to hear the
transactions happening at the table five meters away. There is
thus a hiatus to the evidence fatal to a finding of guilt. In the case
of People v. Ale, this Court held that the identity of the poseur-
buyer is vital where the accused denies having sold marijuana to
anyone. The failure to present the American is, to our mind, fatal
to the prosecution’s case for it is presumed that evidence wilfully
suppressed would be adverse if produced.

APPEAL from the decision of the then Court of First
Instance of Zambales and Olongapo City, Br. III. Panis, J.

The facts are stated in the opinion of the Court.
     The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee.
     Florante A. Miano for accused-appellant.

FERNAN, C.J.:

http://central.com.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015d8d59d646c2caa4f0003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 1/5

Sahagun Gina Sahagun was convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Zambales and Olongapo City.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015d8d59d646c2caa4f0003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 2/5 . Branch III. p. Dec. 5). 74655.” Petitioner Gina Sahagun was working as an entertainer at the Aztec Club in Olongapo City at the time of the alleged incident. 4 which according to the prosecution happened. 1981. for violation of Sec. deliver and give away to another and distribute one (1) aluminum tin foil of marijuana dried leaves weighing approximately fifteen (15) grams which is a prohibited drug. 1981. while seated three chairs (TSN. they conducted a surveillance inside the Club (TSN. p. p. 1981 between 11:35 and 12:00 o’clock. 4. “In the evening of August 6. without being lawfully authorized. 1988. p. 1981.7/29/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 182 Courts must be extra vigilant in trying drug charges lest an innocent person is made 1 to suffer the unusually severe penalties for drug offenses. Arturo Castillo. 1981. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.000.00)2 pesos. 3 The information against the accused reads: “That on or about the 6th day of August. G. 92 92 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED People vs. She now appeals for the reversal of this decision. he saw http://central. Commanding Officer of the Task Force Bagong Buhay Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit in Olongapo City received information from an unnamed American serviceman that marijuana is being used and being peddled at the Aztec Club in Olongapo City (TSN. as amended by Presidential Decree No. 1981 in the City of Olongapo. 21. Capt. Upon receiving the information.com. 1 People v. Republic Act No. _______________ * THIRD DIVISION. 1675) and sentenced to suffer imprisonment for life and to pay a fine of twenty thousand (P20. Dec. 21. 2) or five (5) meters from where the accused and his American serviceman informer were (TSN. unlawfully and knowingly attempt to sell. Taruc. 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. Philippines. 1981. the above-named accused. December 21. January 20.R. No. did then and there wilfully. 6). thus: “Two or three days before August 6. December 21. 1).

” _______________ 2 Rollo. The American asked if the same can be sold. she met an unnamed American customer. Castillo and his companion conducted a body search of the American serviceman informer. on the5 other hand. Without his testimony. “B-2”) from the American serviceman. the American drew from his pocket marijuana wrapped in tin foil and handed it to her. Who was delivering the marijuana and who was selling it? The accused pointed to the American as the one selling the prohibited goods. But she was brought to the CANU office. 2). She told the American that she was not. December 21. 1981.com. Castillo that the marijuana was shown to her by the American.7/29/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 182 accused handed (sic) to his American informer marijuana dried leaves wrapped in tin foil (Exh. The American asked her to hold it. The scene where the incident took place was dimly lighted (TSN. Such testimony was not rebutted by the http://central. FEBRUARY 12. 182. the conclusion of the court that the accused was seen delivering marijuana wrapped in a tin foil to the American is not supported by the evidence on hand. Sahagun Accused. While thus seated. Arturo Castillo arrested her. p. Capt. She told Capt. he. p. Capt. She joined the American at his table. 4 Rollo. the appellant questions said verdict. A careful scrutiny of the evidence shows that the guilt of the accused has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt. “B-1”).ph/sfsreader/session/0000015d8d59d646c2caa4f0003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 3/5 . 1. 1981. “While in the possession of the tin-foil. obviously drinking their drinks. The American serviceman who was alleged to be the informer was not presented before the trial court. In order to be sure. 1990 93 People vs. 64. presented the following version in her defense: “Inside the Aztec Bar at 11:00 o’clock in the evening of August 6. 93 VOL. She did not know where the American was when she was brought to the CANU office. The American ordered drinks for her and a beer for him (sic). 3 Records. p.” 6 Having been found guilty by the court a quo. 14. the American asked if he (sic) was selling marijuana. While thus talking. p. He thereupon arrested the accused and confiscated the marijuana (Exh.

1986. concur. Panis. Jr. fatal to the prosecution’s case for it is presumed that9 evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced.           Gutierrez. 65. And with all that noise. Feliciano.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015d8d59d646c2caa4f0003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 4/5 . There7 is thus a hiatus to the evidence fatal to a finding of guilt. The place where the event took place was dimly lighted. 145 SCRA 94 94 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED People vs. 6 Presided over by Judge Domingo D. WHEREFORE. Bidin and Cortés. Fernando. The officer was five meters away from the two persons. http://central. JJ.R. Ale. _______________ 5 Rollo. p. 66947. No. it would be impossible for him to hear the transactions happening at the table five meters away..com. was not in a position to see or hear the goings-on at the table of the American and the accused. 7 People v. then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral 10 certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. October 24. 11 one which will prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The prosecution’s evidence leaves much to be desired. Decision reversed. the appealed decision of the Regional Trial Court is reversed and the appellant is acquitted on the ground of failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Captain Arturo Castillo. SO ORDERED. Sahagun In the case of People v.7/29/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 182 prosecution since the American-informer was never presented as a witness. to our mind. the apprehending officer. The constitutional presumption of innocence stands until overthrown by strong and convincing evidence. G.8 this Court held that the identity of the poseur-buyer is vital where the accused denies having sold marijuana to anyone. one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt. If the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two or more explanations.. The failure to present the American is.

9 Rule 131. Sec. 1968. 8 145 SCRA 50. 95 © Copyright 2017 Central Book Supply.—There is no better proof of corpus delicti than appellant’s admission that they felt warm after smoking marijuana. 14 (par. http://central. July 5. 5(e). All rights reserved. Inc. Parayno.) ——o0o—— _______________ 151.ph/sfsreader/session/0000015d8d59d646c2caa4f0003600fb002c009e/t/?o=False 5/5 . L-24804. 2). Constitution. Pelotin. 10 People v. (People vs. Rules of Court.7/29/2017 SUPREME COURT REPORTS ANNOTATED VOLUME 182 Note. 24 SCRA 3. 169 SCRA 722. No. 11 Sec.com.