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PEOPLE vs COCO MARTI

January 18, 1991
Digest by Reiner Gallardo and Riel Cadano

Facts of the case
The case at bar is an APPEAL from a decision rendered by the Special Criminal Court of Manila
(RTC Branch XLIX) convicting the accused-appellant of violation of Section 21 (b), Article IV in relation to
Section 4, Article 11 and Section 2 (e) (i), Article 1 of Republic Act 6425, as amended, otherwise known
as the Dangerous Drugs Act.

On August 14, 1987, appellant and his wife went to the booth of Manila Packing and Export
Forwarders in Ermita, Manila, carrying with them four gift-wrapped packages. Anita Reyes, co-owner of
the establishment attended to the couple. Appellant informed Anita Reyes that the package is bound for
Zurich, Switzerland, addressed to Walter Fierz. Anita Reyes requested permission from the appellant to
inspect the packages. Appellant refused, and informed Mrs. Reyes that the packages only contain
cigarettes, books, and gloves. Anita no longer insisted on inspecting said packages.

Job Reyes, husband of Anita, and co-owner of the establishment, as part of standard operating
procedure, opened boxes for inspection. To his surprise, contents of the box reek of some peculiar odor.
With his interest piqued, he went through the contents of the package, in which he found dried leaves
covered in cellophane protruding out of the gloves. He secured some sample of the contents and had it
analyzed at the Narcotics Section of the National Bureau of Investigation. NBI, in response to the
potential involvement of drugs in the case, sent three officers and a photographer to Mr. Reyes’ office.

Upon further inspection facilitated by Mr. Reyes, it was discovered that all of the packages
contained illegal amounts of marijuana leaves. As such, NBI agents attempted to locate appellant but
failed in doing so. Appellant was invited by the agents to shed some light on the instant case. The
contents of the package were sent to the Forensic Chemistry Section where it was discovered that the
said package were marijuana flowering tops.

Information was filed against appellant for violation of RA 6425 known as Dangerous Drugs Act.
Court rendered the assailed decision.

Issues of the case
Whether the manner in which the evidence was obtained violated the constitutional rights against
unreasonable search and seizure and privacy of communication (Sec. 2 and 3, Art. III of the Constitution)

Whether the appellant’s rights under the constitution while under the custodial investigations were
observed

was informed of his rights. Section 2 and 3 of the Article III of the Constitution protects the individual from unlawful searches and seizures facilitated by the State.Arguments of the Court On the violation of constitutional rights against unreasonable search… In the absence of governmental interference. Appellant is found guilty beyond reasonable doubt. . However. and it is clear on record that the appellant himself refused to give any written testament while under investigation as testified on court. Decision Decision of the court a quo is affirmed. in the case at bar. the inspection was carried out by a private entity in his capacity as an administrator of the establishment to which appellant availed a service. On the manner of conduct of custodial officers… Records show that the appellant’s contention that he was not informed of his constitutional rights or that he gave statements without counsel is without merit. Appellant. upon arrest. it was part of the standard operating procedures of the said establishment. and that the cited provision of the Constitution does not cover this. the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be invoked against the State. As such.