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PEOPLE v.

DE LOS REYES o he accompanied delos Reyes, to the Buenas Market in Cainta, Rizal, to collect
G.R. No. 174774/ AUG 31 2011 / LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J./CRIMPRO-PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE, some money
CRIMINAL RECORD/PSPAMBID o While they were inside their car, another car suddenly arrived, from which an
NATURE Appeal (Final Review) armed male passenger alighted and approached them.
PETITIONERS People of the Philippines o Four other armed men followed and poked their guns at accused-appellant
RESPONDENTS Rolando delos Reyes and Raymundo Reyes Rolando delos Reyes and Marlon David.
o The armed men, in civilian attire, were carrying an SM plastic shopping bag
SUMMARY. Delos Reyes, Reyes, de Claro, and Lantion-Tom were arrested for drug and questioned delos Reyes if he knew the owner of said plastic bag.
trafficking while parked at Whistlestop based on an anonymous tip. The Court held that the o Rolando delos Reyes denied any knowledge about the plastic bag. Marlon
police officers had no prior knowledge of the suspects identities and that nobody actually David was also asked and he answered that he knew nothing about the plastic
saw shabu being sold. bag.
DOCTRINE. "reliable information" alone, absent any overt act indicative of a felonious Emmanuel de Claro (Cocoy) and Lantion-Tom version:
enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers, are not sufficient to o they were with de Claros brother, Roberto and a friend, James, with the two
constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest remaining outside Whistlestop
o Lantion-Tom went to accompany Ms. Milan (Lantion-Toms accountant),
SUBSTANTIVE FACTS. while de Claro was left inside
Information version: o After Ms. Milan left, Lantion-Tom was suddenly surrounded by men who
o on 17 February 2000 a confidential informant called up relative to a narcotics introduced themselves as police officers and were arresting them for being
drug deal to commence at the vicinity of the parking area of Shangrila Plaza the source of shabu in a drug deal
Hotel, Mandaluyong City o Corroborated by Roberto de Claro (Emmanuel de Claros brother)
o about 2:00 p.m they strategically positioned themselves at the vicinity PO3 Santiago (one of the police officers who arrested Cocoy and Lantion-Tom admitted
parking area of said hotel that he did not actually see what was inside the plastic bag and that he did not even see
o that about 10:00 p.m., Reyes, on board a white Toyota Corolla, and delos Botong hand over such plastic bag to Mac-Mac.
Reyes, a.k.a. Botong, on board a red Toyota Corolla, arrived and proceeded SPO1 Lectura (leader of the team) initially denied that Marlon David was with Botong
inside Whistletop Bar and Restaurant. delos Reyes then called de Claro when the latter was arrested, but he later admitted that the police also arrested Marlon
through his cellular phone; David. SPO1 Lectura acknowledged that his team heavily relied on the information given
o delos Reyes and de Claro then proceeded to the latters parked Mazda car by the confidential informant in identifying the suspects in the illegal drug deal, who were
where Lantion-Tom was waiting; from the parked car, a box in transparent eventually arrested.
plastic bag was taken, which de Claro handed-over to delos Reyes; RTC: found accused-appellants guilty beyond reasonable doubt
o delos Reyes in turn handed the box in a plastic bag to Reyes; CA: Same
o The accused admitted having in their possession illegal drugs and the
recovered items containing ten (10) pcs. of shabu PROCEDURAL FACTS.
o Mandaluyong City found probable cause to indict accused-appellants, February 17, 2000: Rolando S. delos Reyes and Raymundo G. Reyes, Emmanuel de Claro,
together with Emmanuel de Claro, for violation of Republic Act No. 6425, and and Mary Jane Lantion-Tom (Lantion-Tom) were all arrested for illegal possession, sale,
resolved to continue the preliminary investigation in so far as Lantion-Tom delivery, distribution, and/or transportation of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu)
was concerned March 3, 2000 Resolution: The Office of the City Prosecutor of Mandaluyong City found
delos Reyes (Botong) version: probable cause to indict accused-appellants, together with Emmanuel de Claro, for
o He claims that on 17 February 2000, he went to Buenas Market, Manggahan, violation of Republic Act No. 6425, and resolved to continue the preliminary investigation
Pasig City, together with a neighbor, one Marlon David, to talk to Raymundo in so far as Lantion-Tom was concerned
Reyes (Mac-mac) who was to pay his indebtedness The Office of the City Prosecutor of Mandaluyong City, after preliminary investigation and
o while looking for a parking space, several men with firearms suddenly reinvestigation, recommended that the RTC drop accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes
appeared, with one shouting, buksan mo ang pintuan ng sasakyan at kung and Lantion-Tom from the criminal charge.
hindi babasagin ko ito March 7, 2000: accused-appellant Rolando delos Reyes, Emmanuel de Claro, and Lantion-
o He and Marlon David were forced out of their vehicle with one of the armed Tom, moved for a reinvestigation of their case before the RTC
men bringing out a plastic shopping bag of Shoe Mart, asking where the said
March 15, 2000: RTC granted Order
bag allegedly containing shabu came from, delos Reyes answered hindi ko
Prosecution filed a motion with leave of court to admit amended information
alam, and he and Marlon David were blindfolded when forcibly taken to the
April 4, 2000: RTC denied prosecutions motion
groups vehicle and continuously asked who the source of the shabu was
Marlon David (17-year-old high school student with Botong) version:
Sept 23, 2003: RTC found accused-appellants and Emmanuel de Claro guilty beyond A peace officer or a private person may, without warrant, arrest a person:
reasonable doubt o (a) when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is
Emmanuel de Claro, Robert delos Reyes and Reyes filed notice of appeal actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense (arrest in
Emmanuel de Claro moved to withdraw his notice of appeal, instead filing an Omnibus flagrante delicto);
Motion for Reconsideration and to Re-Open Proceedings o (b) when an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause
Emmanuel de Claro asked the RTC to review its judgment of conviction to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that
o pointed out that although these police officers testified that Lantion-Tom, the person to be arrested has committed it (arrest effected in hot
from the car, handed to him the plastic bag containing the box with sachets pursuit);
of shabu, the prosecution still dropped the criminal charges against Lantion- o (c) when the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a
Tom. penal establishment or a place where he is serving final judgment or is
o the prosecution failed to contradict his alibi that he, his wife, and his brother temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while
went to Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City to meet his wifes accountant, being transferred from one confinement to another (arrest of escaped
so they could attend to several documents pertaining to a business permit prisoners)
November 11, 2003: RTC granted Emmanuel de Claros motion to withdraw his notice of Citing People v Molina:
appeal and required the prosecution to comment to his motions for reconsideration o As applied to in flagrante delicto arrests, it is settled that "reliable
December 19, 2003: Prosecution filed its Comment/Opposition information" alone, absent any overt act indicative of a felonious
January 12 2004: RTC acquitted Emmanuel de Claro (OMG!) explicitly admitted that it enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting
erred in giving full faith and credit to the testimonies of prosecution witnesses SPO1 officers, are not sufficient to constitute probable cause that would
Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul, and in entirely rejecting the alibi of the defense justify an in flagrante delicto arrest
March 29, 2004: RTC forwarded case to SC o Clearly, to constitute a valid in flagrante delicto arrest, two requisites
November 2004: SC remanded case to CA must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act
July 12, 2006: CA sustained conviction, modified penalty to reclusion perpetua (the indicating that he has just committed, is actually committing, or is
police officers testimonies deserve credence than accused-appellants defenses of attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such overt act is done in the
denial and alibi, there being no evidence to rebut the presumption that the police presence or within the view of the arresting officer.
officers regularly performed their official duties inconsistent with de Claro acquittal) SPO1 Lectura, PO3 Santiago, and PO3 Yumul had no prior knowledge of the
HENCE, SC FINAL REVIEW suspects identities, and they completely relied on their confidential informant to
actually identify the suspects.
ISSUES & RATIO. None of the police officers actually saw what was inside that box.
1. WON the lower courts were inconsistent. YES. There is also no evidence that the confidential informant himself knew that the
RTC erred in ignoring the recommendation of the Office of the City Prosecutor of box contained shabu.
Mandaluyong City to drop delos Reyes and Lantion-Tom from the criminal charge No effort at all was taken to confirm that the arrested suspects actually knew that
CA erred in refusing to consider the acquittal of Emmanuel de Claro by the RTC the box or carton inside the white plastic bag, seized from their
Guided by the settled rule that where the inculpatory facts admit of several possession, contained shabu.
interpretations, one consistent with accused's innocence and another with his The police officers were unable to establish a cogent fact or circumstance that
guilt, the evidence thus adduced fail[ed] to meet the test of moral certainty would have reasonably invited their attention, as officers of the law, to suspect
the very same evidence were presented against Emmanuel de Claro and accused- that accused-appellants, Emmanuel de Claro, and Lantion-Tom has just
appellants; if the evidence is insufficient to convict the former, then it is also committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime,
insufficient to convict the latter. particularly, an illegal drug deal.
Lantion-Tom was never charged with any criminal involvement even when,
according to the prosecutions version of events, she was the first person to deliver DECISION.
the shabu. CA judgment REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Delos Reyes and Reyes are ACQUITTED on the
ground of reasonable doubt
2. RELEVANT!!: If the prosecutions version were true, did it establish probable cause?
NO.
Even assuming that the prosecutions version of the events were true, it still failed
to establish probable cause to justify the in flagrante delicto arrests of accused-
appellants and search of accused-appellants persons, incidental to their arrests,
resulting in the seizure of the shabu in accused-appellants possession