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Today is Saturday, November 14, 2015

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 203028

January 15, 2014

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
JOSELITO BERAN y ZAPANTA @ "Jose", Accused-Appellant.
DECISION

REYES, J.:

On appeal is the Decision dated March 9, 2012 of the Court of Appeals CA) in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 04466 affirming the conviction of
accused-appellant Joselito Beran y Zapanta Beran) rendered by the Regional Trial Court RTC) of Manila, Branch 13, in a
Decision dated April 19, 2010 in Criminal Case No. 03-218039, for violation of Section 5, Article II of Republic Act R.A.) No. 9165,
otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, under an Information which reads, as follows:
1

2

The undersigned accuses JOSELITO BERAN y ZAPANTA @ JOSE of Viol. of Sec. 5 Art. II of Rep. Act No. 9165, committed as
ollows:

That on or about August 26, 2003, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the said accused, not having been authorized by law to sell,
rade, deliver or give away any dangerous drug, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly sell or offer for sale to a poseur
buyer one (1) pc. plastic sachet containing ZERO POINT ZERO THREE ZERO (0.030) gram of white crystalline substance known as
SHABU containing methylamphetamine hydrochloride, which is a dangerous drug.

Contrary to law.

3

At his arraignment on November 5, 2003, Beran pleaded not guilty to the offense charged, and trial followed.
The Facts

According to the prosecution, between three and four o'clock in the afternoon of August 26, 2003, a confidential informant (CI) went
o the District Anti-Illegal Drug (DAID) Office of the Western Police District (WPD) at the United Nations Avenue, Manila, and
approached Police Officer 3 (PO3) Rodolfo Enderina (Enderina) to report that a certain Joselito Beran, alias "Jose," a pedicab driver,
was selling prohibited drugs, particularly "shabu," in the vicinity of San Antonio Street in Tondo, Manila. P03 Enderina relayed the
nformation to Police Colonel Marcelino Pedroso, Chief of DAID-WPD, who then ordered him to form a buy-bust team to apprehend
4

he suspect. At around 5 :00 p.m., the buy-bust team, composed of PO3 Enderina, PO3 Hipolito Francia, PO3 Benito Decorion
Decorion), PO2 Ernie Reyes, PO2 Alexander Delos Santos (Delos Santos) and PO3 Knowme Sia (Sia), who was to act as the
poseur-buyer, arrived in Tondo on board an owner-type jeep and two scooters. In the jeep were PO3 Enderina, PO2 Delos Santos,
and the CI, while the rest of the team rode in the scooters. They parked near the Gat Andres Hospital and proceeded on foot towards
San Antonio Street. As arranged, PO3 Sia and the CI walked ahead of the others. PO3 Sia and the CI reached the target area first,
and there the CI saw Beran standing some 10 meters away near a ''poso" or deep-well.

After recognizing and pointing Beran to PO3 Sia, the CI approached him and the two men conversed briefly. Then the CI signaled to
PO3 Sia to join them, and he introduced PO3 Sia to Beran, who then asked the CI how much PO3 Sia was buying. The CI replied,
'piso lang," or P100, and Beran took out something from his pocket, a small, heat-sealed plastic sachet, which he then handed to
PO3 Sia. PO3 Sia took the sachet and pretended to examine it discretely, after which he indicated to Beran that he was satisfied with
ts content. He then took out a markedP100 bill which he handed to Beran; all this time the back-up members of the buy-bust team
were watching from strategic locations around the vicinity.

Thereupon, PO3 Sia executed the pre-arranged signal of touching his hair to signify to the back-up cops that the buy-bust sale of
shabu had been consummated, even as he then placed Beran under arrest. The back-up operatives quickly converged upon Beran,
with PO2 Delos Santos arriving first, to whom PO3 Sia then handed over the custody of Beran, while he kept the plastic sachet. The
buy-bust team brought Beran to the DAID-WPD office, where PO3 Sia marked the confiscated plastic sachet with the initials of
Beran, JB. He also recorded the incident in the police blotter, and accomplished the Booking Sheet and Arrest Report (Exhibit F and
F-1), and the Request for Laboratory Examination (Exhibit G and G-1. He later brought the seized plastic sachet to the WPD Crime
Laboratory for examination, where after testing it was found to contain the prohibited drug methylamphetamine hydrochloride or
shabu.
5

n his defense, Beran vehemently denied the above incident. Testifying alone in his defense, he asserted that on August 26, 2003 at
around 2:00 p.m., while he was resting alone upstairs in his house, five WPD policemen arrived and ordered him to come with them.
He resisted and asked why they were arresting him, but without apprising him of his constitutional rights they handcuffed and forcibly
boarded him in an owner-type jeep and brought him to the WPD Headquarters. There, two of his arrestors, PO3 Francia and PO3
Sia, demanded from him the amount of P20,000.00 in exchange for his release without any charge. But he could not produce the
amount they asked, and they trumped up a charge against him of illegal sale of shabu.
6

The trial of Beran took all of seven years to wind up, mainly on account of many postponements allegedly due to supervening
llnesses or reassignments of the subpoenaed arresting officers. The prosecution was able to present two witnesses, PO3 Francia
and PO3 Sia, but only PO3 Sia gave a witness account of the drug buy-bust itself. PO3 Francia admitted that he served as a mere
ook-out to prevent any intruder from interfering in the buy-bust operation, and that he did not witness the buy-bust transaction itself.
As for PO3 Decorion, also a member of the buy-bust team, the RTC per its Order dated July 29, 2009 agreed to dispense with his
estimony after the parties stipulated that as the designated driver of the buy-bust team, he did not see the actual exchange of drug
and money between Beran and PO3 Sia, nor did he witness the actual arrest of Beran by PO3 Sia.
7

Ruling of the RTC

On April 19, 2010, the RTC of Manila, Branch 13 rendered its judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:
8

THEREFORE premises considered and the prosecution having established to a moral certainty the guilt of the accused JOSELITO
BERAN y ZAPANTA JOSE of the crime charged, this Court in the absence of any aggravating circumstance hereby sentences the
Accused to LIFE IMPRISONMENT and to pay the fine of five hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00), without any subsidiary
mprisonment in case of insolvency.

n the service of his sentence, the actual confinement under detention during the pendency of this case shall be deducted from the
said prison term in accordance with Article 29 of the Revised Penal Code.

The evidence presented is ordered transferred to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for destruction.

SO ORDERED.

9

Beran went up to the CA to interpose the following alleged errors in the RTC decision, to wit:
I

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING [BERAN] DESPITE THE ILLEGALITY OF HIS ARREST AND THE
NADMISSIBILITY OF THE ALLEGED CONFISCATED PROHIBITED DRUG.
II.

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN FINDING [BERAN] GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT DESPITE THE
PROSECUTION'S FAILURE TO ESTABLISH THE IDENTITY OF THE PROHIBITED DRUG.
III.

THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING [BERAN] DESPITE THE POLICE OFFICERS' NON-COMPLIANCE WITH
SECTION21 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9165.
10

Ruling of the CA

n affirming in toto the RTC the CA ruled that Beran was caught in flagrante delicto as a result of a valid and legitimate buy-bust
operation, an entrapment to apprehend law breakers while in the act of executing their criminal plan. Relying solely on the testimony
of PO3 Sia, it found that Beran sold the prohibited drug shabu to an undercover buyer, PO3 Sia; that Beran was arrested at the
moment of the consummation of the sale transaction and immediately brought to the DAID-WPD along with the sachet of illegal drug
confiscated from him; that when the substance was subjected to chemical analysis by the WPD Drug Laboratory, the content thereof
was shown to be methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
11

The CA further held that the arrest of Beran by PO3 Sia without warrant was valid under Section 5(b) of Rule 113 of the Revised
Rules on Criminal Procedure, which provides that "a police officer or a private person may, without a warrant arrest a person when an
offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that
he person to be arrested has committed it." It also cited Section 5(a) of Rule 113, wherein it provides that "a police officer can arrest
a person without warrant when in his presence the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense."

Quoted below at length are pertinent portions of the testimony of PO3 Sia which according to the CA have proved beyond reasonable
doubt the material facts attending the buy-bust and establishing the guilt of Beran:

============================
DIRECT EXAMINATION
CONDUCTED BY
ACP LIBERTAD RASA ON WITNESS
PO3 KNOW ME SIA
============================

xxxx

xxxx Q: How did you know that there was that informant who arrived at your office giving information about drugs activities of a certain Beran? A: PO3 Rodolfo Enderina formed a team in DAID office. Q: What time of the day or the night was that? A: Between 3-4 pm of August 26 2003 ma am. Q: Did you know why Enderina formed a group at DAID? A: He relayed to us that we have an Anti-Illegal Drugs Operation. Q: That you will have an Anti-Illegal Drugs Operation where and against whom? A: Against one Joselito Beran alias Jose ma am. Q: As a matter of standard operating procedure what does an operative of SAID or DAID do before launching a buy-bust operation? A: First there must be an information to be received then there was a plan of operation and then the documents are required to be accomplished prior to the conduct of a buy-bust operation ma’am. ma'am. Q: Where? A: In the area of San Antonio Street Tondo Manila. . Q: And what did your team leader Rodolfo Enderina do as soon as he received that information? A: He formed his men and then he directed all of us and placed the confidential information for interrogation ma’am. ma'am. Q: Can you show it to the Court? A: It is with the custodial of DAID ma’am. Q: What documents if any were you required to prepare prior to your operation? A: Our dispatch record. Q: Was there anytime that you saw them in front at your office when he relayed the information to Enderina? A: Yes ma’am. Q: Do you have a copy of this dispatch record? A: Yes ma’am.

Q: Who supplied that P100. Rodolfo Enderina? A: During our briefing. Q: Who is your team leader? A: PO3 Rodolfo Enderina.00. ma’am. ma’am. ma’am. Q: What other documents aside from those already mentioned did you prepare? A: That s all. Q: What time did you proceed to San Antonio? xxxx . ma’am.xxxx ACP Rasa: Q: Aside from the dispatch record what other documents did you prepare? A: The buy-bust money. Q: What else? A: The marked money was marked by me and then during the briefing. Q: And what were the other instructions given to you by the team leader. however. Q: Do you have the buy-bust money with you? A: I will bring it on the next hearing ma’am. the buy-bust money. we cannot fax to the PDEA because the PDEA fax at that time was not fully operational. Q: How much buy-bust money did you prepare? A: P100. it was agreed that the pre-arranged signal was to touch my hair as indication that the deed was done. Ma’am. what other preparations did you do before launching on the operation of buybust against one Joselito Beran alias Jose? A: There was a preparation of Pre-Operation Report and Coordination Sheet. ma’am. Q: Aside from the dispatch record.00 buy-bust money? A: Our team leader. I was then chosen as the designated poseur-buyer. ma’am. ma am.

the confidential informant was the first who proceeded to the target place. Q: How did you scout or identify your target person? A: Upon arrival in the area of San Antonio. ma’am. ma'am. Q: And who took their scooters? A: PO3 Benito Decorion and PO2 Ernie Reyes. Q: How many vehicles did you use? A: We utilized one (1) owner type jeep and the others were on their respective motorcycle or scooter. PO3 Enderina grouped us and told us that at the area where we were going. xxxx Q: As soon as you had parked your vehicles. So how did you arrive at San Antonio Street? A: On foot. ma'am. what else happened? A: When we parked our vehicle. We were together.A: Around 5:00 of August 26. ma'am. Q: You were saying that. ma’am. the confidential informant went ahead of you? A: No. Ma’am. the confidential informant was the first who arrived and then in a few minutes later. Q: And the others were aboard on scooters? A: Yes. Q: Where did you first notice the presence of the accused? . the vehicles could not enter San Antonio Street and after that. ma’am. the confidential informant and PO1 (sic) Delos Santos. ma’am. the confidential informant pointed to one (1) male person in the area of San Antonio. ma’am. Q: One scooter? A: Two (2) scooters ma’am. ma'am. 2003. ma’am. Q: You already said that you already parked your vehicles. Q: Where did you park your vehicle? A: We parked in the area of Gat Andres Hospital. Q: Who were inside the owner type jeep? A: PO3 Rodolfo Enderina.

Q: What was the reply or the action of Beran? A: He told the CI magkano ba''. Piso means One Hundred Pesos.A: Near the alley. what else did you do? A: I approached them. ma'am. Q: Did you hear what the conversation was all about? A: No. ma'am. ma'am. ma am. about how far away were you following him? A: 3-4 meters. ma'am. Q: What else happened? A: After that. Q: When pointed to you. what happened after? . Q: After knowing that you were only interested to buy "piso''. what happened next? A: The CI signaled to me to come close to them. Q: After that conversation. Q: When you said the CI was ahead of you. then the CI introduced me as the buyer of the prospected illegal drugs. ma'am. ma'am. ma’am. ma am. ma'am. Q: What happened after you saw him standing? A: The CI went ahead of me to approach the suspect. ma'am. Q: What was the accused doing when he was pointed at by the confidential informant to you? A: He was spotted standing. in the middle of San Antonio where there is a "poso". how far were you from the accused or your target? A: Approximately 8-10 meters. Q: And what did the CI say? A: The CI told him piso lang . the CI and the subject were conversing. ma'am. Q: As soon as you were already with the group or with the CI and the target person. Q: Standing only? A: Yes.

A: After that Beran took out something from his pocket. Q: What did you do with that plastic that you bought from the accused Beran? A: immediately placed him (sic) in my custody. Q What was the pre-arranged signal agreed upon? A: Touching of the hair. Q: Who was able to recover that buy-bust money? A: Me. ma’am. ma’am. Q: What did you do after it was handed to you? A: discretely examined the contents of the plastic sachet and after that. Q: What happened next? A: The other back-up operatives arrived and PO2 Delos Santos was the first to respond x x x and I gave the suspect to him for custody. Q: Who brought that plastic sachet for the laboratory examination? A: Me. ma am. ma’am. Q: What did you do? A: gave the marked buy-bust money. the subject person demanded for the payment of said stuff. ma’am. ma’am. the pre-arranged signal was executed. Q: What was that? A: Beran showed me and the CI a small plastic sachet. ma’am. ma’am. Q: Who placed the marking on that plastic sachet? . Q After showing to you. ma’am. ma’am. ma’am. what else did Beran do with the plastic? A: The subject handed to me one (1) plastic sachet. Q: What happened after that? A: After that. ma’am. and later on it was marked and forwarded to WPD Drug Laboratory Office for aboratory examination.

ma'am. ma’am. Q: Where did you place the marking? A: At the office. and the pertinent documents were prepared. Q: Did you subject the accused for drug test? A: I cannot remember. ma’am. ma'am. Q: What was the result of the laboratory examination which you said you personally brought to the laboratory? A: It turned out to be positive for Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride. ma’am. Q: The buy-bust money and the dispatched report are also at your office.A: Me. Can you bring all of those? A: Yes. ma'am. . ma’am. ma'am. ma’am. ma'am. Q: Aside from this drugs (sic) which you said they requested and you personally brought for examination at the WPD Crime Laboratory. ma'am. Q: What did you use to mark it? A: I think it was a pentel pen. Q: If shown that plastic sachet. will you be able to identify it? A: Yes. Q: Why? A: I recognized the markings. Q What marking did you place? A JB. Q: Do you have a copy of the police blotter? A: Yes. we presented the case before the inquest fiscal. ma'am. but it's in the office. Q: What happened next after the examination? A: After preparing the documents. what other things did you do as soon as you arrived at the office? A: It was recorded it (sic) in our police blotter.

Q: Can you bring the result of the drug test? A: "Sa Crime Lab na lang po". Q: J? A: JB. Witness? A: I was the one who placed the marking on the alleged shabu. .Q: You did not prepare a request for drug test? A: I prepared the request for drug test. . x x x x. ma'am. BARING-TUVERA ==================================== FISCAL TUVERA: xxxx Q: Mr. Q: Will you still be able to identify the specimen if it will be shown to you again? A: Yes. ma'am. . (interrupted) Q: Will you be able to identify it? A: Yes. Q: And how will you be able to identify it. 12 ==================================== CONTINUATION OF DIRECT EXAMINATION CONDUCTED BY: FISCAL PURIFICACION A. you were asked by former Prosecutor Rasa if you will be able to identify the specimen which you said you bought from accused Joselito Beran. ma am. do you remember having said that? A: Yes. ma'am. I was the one who. Q: And what were the markings that you placed on the plastic sachet? A: It was marked JB ma am. ma'am. ma am. Witness. 2006. during your testimony on August 8. Q: And what was the result of the drug test? A: I do not know the result. Mr.

Q: In other words. Q: What did you use Mr. Q: And where did you place the markings Mr. 2003. I marked JB on the said plastic sachet. Q: At what time did you place the markings on the plastic sachet? A: After the arrest of the suspect when he was brought to our office for investigation. when did you place the markings? A: After 5 pm of August 23. Witness? A: On the plastic sachet. Q: I am showing you Mr.Q: And will you kindly tell us who placed the markings JB on the plastic sachet? A: I was the one who marked the specimen. how many plastic sachets did you buy from the accused? A: One (1) plastic sachet. Q: And at what place Mr. Witness? A: At the office. Q: You have it in your custody? A: But I did not bring it today. Mr. I am showing you a plastic sachet with markings JB. FISCAL TUVERA: We manifest Your Honor that [t]he plastic sachet was already marked as Exhibit B-1 for the prosecution. by the way. Witness. Witness in buying this shabu? A: We utilized P100 bill. . Witness? pause) Q: Nasa iyo ba yung P100 bill? A: I have it in my custody. Q: One plastic sachet only. Q: Do you have the genuine P100 bill with you now Mr. Witness a plastic sachet. will you kindly tell us if that is the same plastic sachet that you bought from the accused and subsequently marked at the police station? A: This is the plastic sachet subject of the sale.

13 Continuation of Direct-Examination of Witness PO3 Know me Sia by ACP Baring-Tuvera) xxxx ACP BARING-TUVERA Q: Mr. Witness. Q: Mr. COURT: Q: The money is attached to a blank sheet of paper. Will you write something about it. Witness? A: I only knew ma am that I have my hearing on Joselito Beran but I forgot to bring it. Witness. before you used that buy-bust money to buy shabu from the accused Mr. the case number? THE WITNESS A: Yes. x x x x. you are here today for the continuation of your direct-examination. your Honor. . May we know if you already brought with you the buy-bust money in connection with this case? THE WITNESS A: Yes. Witness.Q: Why did you not bring it today Mr. did you place markings on he P100 bill? A: Yes ma’am Q: And what were these markings did you place on the P100 bill? A: I marked DAID at the left portion of the buy-bust money. next scheduled hearing nalang po. ma’am. ma’am. Q: And what else did you do aside from placing markings on the P100 bill? A: The said money was then xeroxed for five (5) pieces and then the original was kept in our custody. ACP BARING-TUVERA Q: Will you kindly bring it out and show it to this Honorable Court so that the Court may be able to appreciate it? THE WITNESS A: Here.

my companions in the conduct of the buy-bust operation. you said that you were the one who placed the markings on this One Hundred Peso (P100.ACP BARING-TUVERA: Q: May I just have this identified. Q: I am showing to you Mr. Witness? THE WITNESS A: Yes. Witness.00) bill. xxxx ACP BARING-TUVERA Q: And who were present when you marked this plastic sachet at the office? THE WITNESS A: The arresting officers ma’am. will you be able to identify it again Mr. ma’am. Witness. THE COURT: Q: Who? THE WITNESS A: PO3 Rodolfo Enderina. THE COURT: Q: In the presence of your fellow officers? . your Honor? Mr. Will you kindly tell us on what part of this money did you place the markings? THE WITNESS A: I marked DAID at the left center portion of the buy-bust money. Q: And what markings did you place on the plastic sachet? A: JB. you said that you were the one -you were the poseur-buyer in this case. Witness -and how will you be able to identify it? A: I was the one who marked it. PO2 Hipolito Francia. ma’am. ma am. If you will be shown the item again. xxxx ACP BARING-TUVERA Q: Mr.

xxxx ACP BARING-TUVERA Q: After you have arrested or after the buy-bust operation Mr. PO3 Sia was asked why he omitted to mention in his affidavit his claimed marking of the confiscated sachet of shabu. He could not explain his oversight except to say that he "forgot to include a mention of the said fact. Q: Okay. the plastic sachet containing shabu. I also prepared the Referral for Inquest. ma’am. the Request for Drug Test and the Booking Sheet and Arrest Report. I was also the investigator. what else did you do? A: We prepared the laboratory examination. Q: Was the laboratory examination actually conducted on the plastic sachet that you submitted? A: Yes. do you remember having executed any document? THE WITNESS A: I executed the Affidavit of Poseur-Buyer. Witness. ma’am. Q: You were also the investigator. ma’am." 15 .THE WITNESS A: Yes. And after you prepared the request for laboratory examination. ma'am. Witness. ACP BARING-TUVERA Q: How about the police investigator. Your Honor. 14 On cross-examination. And after you placed the markings on that plastic sachet Mr. was he also present when you place this markings? THE WITNESS A: In that case ma’am. x x x x. Q: Who prepared the request for laboratory examination? A: I prepared it. what else happened? A: And then we submitted the said specimen to the crime laboratory for laboratory examination. ma’am. Q: And what was the result of the laboratory examination that was conducted on the specimen that you submitted? A: It yielded positive result for Methylamphetamine hydrochloride.

No. 9165 nonetheless explains the said term. Beran must be set free.Our Ruling According to the CA. Com. Such record of movements and custody of seized item shall include he identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of the seized item. and the secrecy that inevitably shrouds all drug deals. 409. 2d 335. a marked P100. the date and time when such transfer of ." 24 Although R. the need for entrapment procedures. the possibility of abuse is great. the courts have been exhorted to be extra vigilant in trying drug cases lest an innocent person is made to suffer the unusually severe penalties for drug offenses. 1." as follows: 23 In evidence.A. the lower court should have exercised the utmost diligence and prudence in deliberating upon accused-appellants' guilt. The crucial issue in this case is whether. and the seller.A. Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. and. The case of People v. the object of the sale and the consideration." Thus. Blacks Law Dictionary describes "chain of custody. PO3 Sia. the following elements are required to sustain Beran's conviction and these have been shown to be present in he case below. and such evidence goes to weight not to admissibility of evidence. Thus. and we rule that the prosecution failed to establish the very corpus delicti of the crime charged. Needless to state. No. from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic aboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. must be independently established beyond reasonable doubt. the use of shady characters as informants.00 bill confiscated in the possession of Beran. We find no unbroken chain of custody. cited in People of the Philippines v. elucidates and reminds us why: 18 19 20 21 22 By the very nature of anti-narcotics operations. every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be established. It should have given more serious consideration to the pros and cons of the evidence offered by both the defense and the State and many loose ends should have been settled by the trial court in determining the merits of the present case. Evidentiary gaps in the chain of custody of the confiscated plastic sachet cast reasonable doubt on its ntegrity. according to the CA. 9165 performs this function in buy-bust operations as it ensures that any doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are emoved. a complete narrative was built of an illegal sale of shabu leading to the arrest of Beran by PO3 Sia. the ease with which sticks of marijuana or grams of heroin can be planted in pockets or hands of unsuspecting provincial hicks. the evidence of the corpus delicti which is the dangerous drug itself. the one who offers real evidence. 16 We disagree. 232 N. In People v Pagaduan we ruled that proof beyond reasonable doubt in criminal prosecution for the sale of illegal drugs demands that unwavering exactitude be observed in establishing the corpus delicti the body of the crime whose core is the confiscated illicit drug. and the delivery of the hing sold and payment therefor.A. must account for the custody of the evidence from the moment in which it reaches his custody until the moment in which it is offered in evidence. 353 Mass. 17 t is well-settled that in the prosecution of cases involving the illegal sale or illegal possession of dangerous drugs. to establish the corpus delicti the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized drug have been preserved in an unbroken chain of custody. Series of 2002 which implements R. shabu contained in a heat-sealed plastic sachet handed by Beran to PO3 Sia. V. White. namely: the identity of the buyer and the seller. and the chain of custody requirement under R. Datu Not Abdul. as follows: 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. such as the narcotics in a trial of drug case. the consideration which PO3 Sia paid for the staged purchase. Thus. Beran. No. 9165 does not define the meaning of chain of custody. It held that the prosecution was able to establish the following facts: the identities of the poseurbuyer. the object of the sale.E. Tan.

9165 the dangerous drug itself constitutes the very corpus delicti and that to sustain a conviction the identity and integrity of the drug must definitely be shown to have been preserved: 26 The dangerous drug itself. as thus dispel unnecessary doubts as to the identity of the evidence. otherwise. although they knew these procedures were intended to 29 30 . No. constitutes the very corpus delicti of the offense and in sustaining a conviction under Republic Act No. Thus. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). he prosecution did not bother to explain why they failed to observe them. No. the following procedures shall be observed by the apprehending officers. in case of warrantless seizures. Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R. immediately after seizure and confiscation of the illegal item.A. To be admissible. further that noncompliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. the prosecution must establish by records or testimony the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit. evidence must definitely show that the illegal drug presented in court is the same illegal drug actually ecovered from the accused-appellant. Provided. or under a search warrant. x x x x.A. and easily open to tampering. and these gaps compe us to rule that reasonable doubt exists as to the identity of the very corpus of the offense herein charged. Dela Rosa we ruled that the prosecution must establish by records or testimony the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice. notwithstanding that they were supposed to have been conducting a planned sting operation. In the instant case. The purpose of the requirement of proof of the chain of custody is to ensure that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized drug are preserved. or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. 28 n People v. to wit: xxxx (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. and all the way to the time it was offered in evidence. Worse. from the time it came into the possession of the police officers until it was tested in the laboratory to determine its composition. or his/her representative or counsel. whichever is practicable. Alcuizar. In People v. that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. to remove any doubt or uncertainty on the identity and integrity of the seized drug. (Citation omitted) 27 Article II. immediately after seizure and confiscation. 9165 provides that to properly preserve the ntegrity and evidentiary value of the illegal drugs seized pursuant to a buy-bust operation. 25 A review of the facts of this case will readily make evident that the appellate decision failed to take note of vital gaps in the recording by the apprehending officers of authorized movements and custody of the seized shabu as we shall point out. his representative or counsel. from the time it came into the possession of the police officers. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. it is not gratuitous to state that they took no efforts whatsoever to observe even a modicum of the above procedures. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. not readily identifiable. until it was tested in the laboratory to determine its composition. the identity and integrity of the corpus delicti must definitely be shown to have been preserved. physically inventory and photograph he same in the presence of the accused. the sachet of shabu ecovered from Beran. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided. and all the way to the time it is offered in evidence. from the testimony of PO3 Sia it is clear that the apprehending operatives did not. and the final disposition. we reiterated the rule that under R. ndeed. the prosecution for possession under Republic Act No. and an elected public official. the shabu in this case. 9165 fails. This equirement necessarily arises from the illegal drug's unique characteristic that renders it indistinct. alteration or substitution either by accident or otherwise. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. 9165.custody were made in the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence.

Of the six-man buy-bust team. ma'am. your Honor. I acted as alalay or back-up. FISCAL: Redirect. Malayo po kasi ako. Witness? A.preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the item seized. and PO3 Francia himself twice stated that he did not witness the actual buy-bust sale as it was taking-place: On Cross-examination of PO3 Francia by Atty. none of the other witnesses of the prosecution could corroborate the culpatory narrative of PO3 Sia at any of its material points to create the successive links in the custody of the seized drug. Anne Geraldine Agar) xxxx Q: And what was your participation in this case. Q: Did you act as alalay on that day? A. you were one of those appointed to form a team? A: Yes. ma'am. Yes.AGAR: Nothing further. ATTY. you were only as alalay ? . Moreover. ma’am. Your Honor. COURT: Did you see what happened while you were acting as alalay or back-up? WITNESS: None.. Q: P03 Francia. Mr. COURT: Proceed Fiscal. Q: And you said. your Honor. only PO3 Sia and PO3 Francia estified in court. eh . COURT: Wala pala.

A. Morales. we acquitted the accused due to the failure of the buy-bust team to photograph and inventory the seized items or to give justifiable grounds for their non-observance of the required procedures. No. and People v. People v. in such a way that every person who ouched it would describe how and from whom it was received. where it was and what happened to it while in the possession of the witness. No. 9165. Section 21(a) of the IRR of R. we are now called upon to correct this error. Q: From where you were. n People v. In People v. Q: As a back-up." ma’am. dela Cruz. As the Court of last resort. in Mallillin v. neither did PO3 Francia corroborate PO3 Sia's claim that he and PO3 Enderina were present when he marked the subject sachet at the precinct. In all these cases. ma’am. Denoman. Gutierrez. ma’am. where we found that the prosecution adequately established the unbroken links in the chain of custody of the confiscated 43 . the accused was acquitted because "no physical inventory was ever made. ma’am.A. 9165 and its implementing rules. where the police without ustifiable grounds did not inventory or photograph the seized items. were you able to see the pre-arranged signal by the poseur-buyer? xxxx A: No. and despite the buy-bust eam s unexplained non-observance of the procedures laid down in Article II. Unlike in People of the Philippines v. We reiterated the same ruling in People v." We issued the same ruling in Bondad Jr. Garcia. Q: And what was your last act at that time? A: "Umalalay. ma’am. back-up. 31 ncidentally. ma’am. v.A: Yes. Q: Was there any incident or intruder that stopped you from arresting the accused? A: None. and no photograph of the seized items was taken under the circumstances required by R. Q: How far were you positioned from the poseur-buyer? A: More than 5-7 meters. 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 Further. No. the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. we stressed the importance of complying with the required mandatory procedures in Section 21 of R. Partoza. 41 42 The RTC and CA both convicted Beran on the basis alone of the uncorroborated testimony of PO3 Sia. from the moment the object seized was picked up to the time it was offered in evidence. People. People v. I did not see. ma’am.A. Erlinda Mali y Quimno a k a Linda". Q: What does an alalay or back-up do? A: We are there to prevent any intruder that may prevent our operation. 9165 concerning the preservation of the chain of custody of confiscated drugs in a buy-bust operation. People we emphasized that the chain of custody rule requires that there be testimony about every link in the chain. People v. Robles. when did you come to see that the deal was consummated? A: When my companions moved to Know me Sia to assist him.

vis-a-vis the physical inventory and photograph. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. hus: (a) x x x Provided. as it is more in keeping with the law's intent of preserving their integrity and evidentiary value. that the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. whichever is practicable. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. Concerning the marking of evidence seized in a buy-bust operation or under a search warrant. What Section 21 of R. or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. Thus. it must be noted that there are distinctions as to time and place under Section 21 of R A No.A. whereas in seizures covered by search warrants. the physical inventory and photograph must be conducted in the place where the search warrant was served. the confiscated shabu was not (1) marked in the presence of Beran (2) immediately upon confiscation. 9165 and its implementing rule do not expressly specify is the matter of marking of the seized items in warrantless seizures to ensure that the evidence seized upon apprehension is the same evidence subjected to inventory and photography when these activities are undertaken at the police station rather than at the place of arrest. and thus the integrity and evidentiary value of the drug seized has not been preserved. in case of warrantless seizures. immediately after seizure and confiscation. in warrantless seizures such as a buy-bust operation the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending officer/team. the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the nearest police station or office of the apprehending officer/team. 9165. Consistency with the "chain of custody" rule requires that the marking of the seized items—to truly ensure that they are the same items that enter the chain and are eventually the ones offered in evidence should be done (1) in the presence of the apprehended violator (2) immediately upon confiscation. in the instant appeal we rule that the chain of custody has not been established at all. nothing prevents the apprehending officer/team from immediately conducting the physical inventory and photography of the tems at the place where they were seized. Contrary to the settled rule in a buy-bust operation. physically inventory and photograph the same. and of protecting as well the apprehending officers from harassment suits based on planting of evidence under Section 29 and on allegations of . On the other hand. 9165 states that "the apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall." Thus. whichever is practicable. the physical inventory and photograph must be conducted in the place of the search warrant." the second sentence makes a distinction between warrantless seizures and seizures by virtue of a warrant.A. consistent with the "chain of custody" rule. No. whichever is practicable. No. n seizures covered by search warrants. In People v. Provided. however. the venues of the physical inventory and photography of the seized items differ and depend on whether the seizure was made by virtue of a search warrant or through a warrantless seizure such as a buy-bust operation. Sanchez the Court held that: 44 Physical inventory and photograph equirement under Section 21 vis-à-vis "marking" of seized evidence While the first sentence of Section 21 (a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.drug. further that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. in case of warrantless seizures such as a buy-bust operation. This step initiates the process of protecting innocent persons from dubious and concocted searches. and the apprehending officers were able to preserve the integrity and evidentiary value of the item seized and justified their non-compliance with the above procedures.

an unbroken chain becomes ndispensable and essential in the prosecution of drug cases owing to its susceptibility to alteration. none of the buybust team attested that they saw him take custody of the confiscated shabu and later mark the sachet at the DAID-WPD office.A. but that person was not presented to affirm this fact. as the investigator of the case. No. as well as impliedly admitted that Beran was not then present. whichever is practicable. tampering. 569 SCRA 194). witnesses. and proof of inventory by imposing on the apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs the duty to immediately after seizure and confiscation. PO3 Sia admitted that he marked the sachet of shabu only at the DAID-WPD precinct. the marking of the drugs seized without warrant must be done "immediately upon confiscation" and in the presence of the accused. 175832." Moreover." Although RA 9165 is silent on the effect of non-compliance with Section 21(1). 9165. t has been held that "while a perfect chain of custody is almost always impossible to achieve. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. As noted by the Court which is worth stating: 47 1âwphi1 RA 9165 is silent on when and where marking should be done.obbery or theft. On the other hand. All these leave us with no conclusion but that there is serious doubt that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized item have not been fatally compromised. PO3 Sia claimed that he personally took the drug to the aboratory for testing.A. first. or his/her representative or counsel. No. 9165 must be explained in erms of their justifiable grounds. In People v. No. or at the nearest police station or at the office of the apprehending officer/team. thus: "the physical inventory x x x shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. Also. its implementing guidelines provide that "non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. in case of warrantless seizures" (Section 21(a) of Implementing Rules and Regulations). physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. Indeed. and PO3 Sia took a scooter with another teammate. The concern with narrowing the window of opportunity for tampering with evidence found legislative expression in Section 21(1) of RA 9165 on the inventory of seized dangerous drugs and paraphernalia by putting in place a three-tiered requirement on the time. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. but there is no showing who the laboratory technician was who received the drug from him. and the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence seized must be shown to have been preserved. its implementing rules provide guidelines on the nventory of the seized drugs. thus casting serious doubt upon the value of the said links to prove he corpus delicti. Coreche. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). without explaining how he preserved his exclusive custody hereof overnight. (Citations omitted and emphases in the original) 45 t needs no elaboration that the immediate marking of the item seized in a buy-bust operation in the presence of the accused is ndispensable to establish its identity in court. The records also show that he submitted the sachet to the laboratory only on the next day. Sanchez G. So even granting that P03 Sia did mark the same sachet at the precinct.R. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. we drew a distinction between marking and inventory and held that consistent with the chain of custody rule. and then as he was transporting it to the precinct. 15 October 2008. we explained that the above-cited rules are intended to narrow the window of opportunity for tampering with evidence. when he confiscated it from Beran without anyone observing him do so and without marking the subject sachet at the place of apprehension. as expressed in Section 21(1) of R. several kilometers from the buy-bust scene. contamination and even substitution and exchange. 46 Lapses in the strict compliance with he requirements of Section 21 of R. who could then have attested as to his exclusive custody of the subject drug." We have interpreted this provision to mean that the prosecution bears the burden of proving . the operatives rode in separate vehicles on the trip back to the WPD. n People v. breaks in the chain of custody had already taken place.

A. 25 February 2009. the foregoing premises considered. SO ORDERED. the Decision dated March 9. Then. VILLARAMA. And as we already noted. de Guzman. id. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Director of the Bureau of Corrections. or why the marking of the seized item was not made at the place of seizure in the presence of Beran.justifiable cause" (People v. as required by the Implementing Rules in case of warrantless arrests. 48 n Sanchez. ndeed. BIENVENIDO L.R. 04466 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. in Almorfe. PO3 Sia claimed that he personally transported the shabu to the WPD station. we recognized that under varied field conditions the strict compliance with the requirements of Section 21 of R. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. the prosecution did not bother to offer an explanation for why an inventory and photograph of the seized evidence was not made either in the place of seizure and arrest or at the police station." But we added that the prosecution bears the burden of proving justifiable cause. and we ruled that under the implementing guidelines of the said Section "non-compliance with hese requirements under justifiable grounds. such as the immediate marking thereof upon seizure. Muntinlupa City for immediate implementation. G. 53 WHEREFORE. Associate Justice LUCAS P.A. 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. 9165 may not always be possible." 49 Thus. Garcia. Joselito Beran y Zapanta is hereby ACQUITTED of the charge of violation of Section 5. JR. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items.R. the very identity of the subject shabu cannot be established with certainty by the testimony alone of PO3 Sia since the rules nsist upon independent proof of its identity. For failure of the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 50 51 52 n the present case. along with his lack of mention of the laboratory technician or officer who received the sachet from him. but without anyone present. No. and that the integrity and value of the seized evidence had nonetheless been preserved. he charge that the subject drug may have been tampered with or substituted is inevitable. 173480. Sanchez. REYES Associate Justice WE CONCUR: MARIA LOURDES P. 9165. In view of his self-serving admission that he marked the sachet only at the precinct. because the Court cannot presume what these grounds are or that they even exist. 580 SCRA 259). No. who is then also directed to report to this Court he action he has taken within five (5) days from his receipt of this Decision. and therefore presumably he etained custody of the subject sachet overnight.. BERSMAIN Associate Justice . People v. we stressed that for the above-saving clause to apply. the record shows that PO3 Sia submitted the sachet of shabu for laboratory examination only the next day. CR-HC No. Article II of Republic Act No. yet other than his lone testimony there is no other evidence of his exclusive and uninterrupted custody during the interval from seizure and transportation to turn over at the WPD. SERENO Chief Justice Chairperson TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO Associate Justice MARTIN S. His immediate RELEASE rom detention is hereby ORDERED unless he is being held for another lawful cause. the prosecution must explain the reasons behind the procedural lapses. we emphasized that the justifiable ground for non-compliance must be proven as a fact. In People v.

2013.R. 10 CA rollo. . pp. 2005. Gonzales. 504. p. p 3. 7 Records. 8 Id. August 8. But a second prosecution witness. April 26. Jr. 3-16. SERENO Chief Justice Footnotes Penned by Associate Justice Leoncia R. CA rollo.. Dimagiba. G. 9 Id. 578 SCRA 147. Article VIII of the Constitution. 13 TSN.C E R TI F I C ATI O N Pursuant to Section 13. 6 Id.R. G. 2008. 3-10. 164580. Abdulwahid and Marlene Gonzales-Sison. said on cross-examination that the time was more or less 2:00 p. February 6. records. pp. June 26. 186137. pp. 513 (2002). 2008. 4 5 CA rollo. at 163. July 16. 3 Id. concurring. at 1. 2009. 96-123. pp. at 39. 2006. People. 15 Id. MARIA LOURDES P.A. 159-163. Jurado. 35. 1 2 Issued by Acting Presiding Judge Cicero D. at 13. p. 152. 11 Cruz v.m. with Associate Justice Hakim S. 16 People v. 17 People v. at 159-163. pp. pp. 14 TSN. PO3 Hipolito Francia. July 15. I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division. 12 TSN. 430 Phil. TSN. No.. 137. 68-71. No. Abdul. 3-6.

647 SCRA431. 186137. June 26. (c) A certification of the forensic laboratory examination results. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. -The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. at 322. and controlled precursors and essential chemicals does not allow the completion of testing within the time frame. and controlled precursors and essential chemicals. for proper disposition in the following manner: 28 (a) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. controlled precurses and essential chemicals. 627 SCRA 308. 235. 21 401 Phil. Instruments/ Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. Dela Rosa. 19 G. (b) Within twenty-four (24) hours upon confiscation/seizure of dangerous drugs. 2010. 179029. G. and through the PDEA shall within twenty-four (24) hours thereafter. the Court shall. No. at 322. plant sources of dangerous drugs. (d) After the filing of the criminal case. conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). 20 Id. No. which shall be done under oath by the forensic laboratory examiner. or his/her representative or counsel. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated and/or surrendered. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment. 172873. G. shall be issued within twenty-four (24) hours after the receipt of the subject item/s: Provided.R. plant sources of dangerous drugs. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. including the instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment. No.R. 640 SCRA 635. 24 Id. however. The entire Section reads: Sec. at 437. January 28. at 323. April 6. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. 26 G. 2011. 2010. plant sources of dangerous drugs. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. that a final certification shall be issued on the completed forensic laboratory examination on the same within the next twenty-four (24) hours. Morales. That when the volume of the dangerous drugs. 2013. 185166. 25 People v. 21. plant sources of dangerous drugs. a partial laboratory examination report shall be provisionally issued stating therein the quantities of dangerous drugs still to be examined by the forensic laboratory: Provided. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. 23 Supra note 19. within seventy-two (72) hours.R. 22 G. 653. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. the same shall be submitted to the PDEA Forensic Laboratory for a qualitative and quantitative examination. No. 27 Id. 189980. 259 (2000). in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were . 2011.R. immediately after seizure and confiscation. March 19. 616 SCRA223. No. August 9.R. proceed with the destruction or burning of the same. Seized and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs.18 People v. seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs.

2011. No. a representative from the media and the DOJ. be burned or destroyed. 1) Within twenty-four (24) hours from the effectivity of this Act. September 3.confiscated and/or seized. 598 SCRA 92.2) Pending the organization of the PDEA. or his/her representative or counsel. and h. No. the representative sample/s shall be kept to a minimum quantity as determined by the Board. In case the said offender or accused refuses or fails to appoint a representative after due notice in writing to the accused or his/her counsel within seventy-two (72) hours before the actual burning or destruction of the evidence in question. February 25. disposition. the custody. In cases of seizures where no person is apprehended and no criminal case is filed. (e) The Board shall then issue a sworn certification as to the fact of destruction or burning of the subject item/s which. 31 TSN. 33 G. pp. used or recycled for legitimate purposes: Provider. 30 Id. as determined by the Board. 580 SCRA 259. (g) After the promulgation and judgment in the criminal case wherein the representative sample/s was presented as evidence in court. that a representative sample. the PDEA may order the immediate destruction or burning of sized dangerous drugs and controlled precursors and essential chemicals under guidelines set by the Board. 4-6. together with the representative sample/s in the custody of the PDEA. January 26.R. in turn. at 653. Department of Health (DOH) and the accused and/or his/her counsel. and (h) Transitory Provision: h. 2009. The Board shall draw up the guidelines on the manner of proper disposition and destruction of such item/s which shall be borne by the offender: Provided. in the presence of representatives of the Court. 2005. No. the Secretary of Justice shall appoint a member of the public attorney's office to represent the former. 640 SCRA 635. dangerous drugs defined herein which are presently in possession of law enforcement agencies shall. .R. and burning or destruction of seized/surrendered dangerous drugs provided under this Section shall be implemented by the DOH. 34 Id. DOJ. shall be submitted to the court having jurisdiction over the case. 158 (2008). further." 29 G. with leave of court. In all instances. at 269.R. That those item/s of lawful commerce. duly weighed and recorded is retained. 173480. April 26. shall be donated. 35 594 Phil. civil society groups and any elected public official. 179213. (f) The alleged offender or his/her representative or counsel shall be allowed to personally observe all of the above proceedings and his/her presence shall not constitute an admission of guilt. 32 Supra note 18. shall request the court for leave to turn over the said representative sample/s to the PDEA for proper disposition and destruction within twenty-four (24) hours from receipt of the same. 185166. 36 G. 2009. the trial prosecutor shall inform the Board of the final termination of the case and.

46 People v. No. No. Almorfe. at 358. at 232. No. 259 (2008). 2010. at 240-241. 214 (2008). at 662. No.R. 576 (2008). 2009. G. 616 SCRA 652. 2009. 49 Supra note 44. 587 SCRA 809. 61-62. 182418. 171732. 182528. December 11.R. 206738. 181831. id. 177220. 44 590 Phil.Arellano Law Foundation Today is Saturday. 51 G. 596 SCRA 350. 595 SCRA257.R. The Lawphil Project . 2015 . 142. March 29. Coreche.R. 2010. 48 See Footnote 16 in People v. 2009. 50 Supra note 46. 586 SCRA 647. March 26. 40 589 Phil.R. April 24. p. 52 Id. at 60. 43 G. No. 186498. 617 SCRA 52. 38 G. May 8. 47 G.R. at 587. 2013.37 G. No. August 14. 45 Id.August 14. 42 Id. 41 576 Phil. 2009. November 14.R. 39 G. 53 Records. No.

G.R. No. 199901

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
FIRST DIVISION
October 9, 2013

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee,
vs.
GARYZALDY GUZON, Accused-Appellant.
DECISION

REYES, J.:

This is an appeal from the Decision1 dated June 29 2010 of the Court of Appeals CA) in CA-G.R. CR HC No. 02890, which affirmed
he Decision2 dated June 15, 2007 of the Regional Trial Court RTC) of Laoag City, Branch 13 in Criminal Case No. 11968-13, finding
accused-appellant Garyzaldy Guzon Guzon) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of illegal sale of shabu.
The facts

Guzon was accused of violating Section 5, Article II of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous
Drugs Act of 2002, in an Information3 dated November 23, 2005, the accusatory portion of which reads:

That on or about November 22, 2005 at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, in the municipality of San Nicolas, province of Ilocos Norte,
Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
eloniously sell one (1) heat-sealed plastic sachet of methamphetamine hydrochloride otherwise known as "shabu", a dangerous
drug, weighing 0.06 gram to a police asset of PNP San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, who posed as buyer in a buy[-]bust operation without
authority to do so.

CONTRARY TO LAW.4

Upon arraignment, Guzon entered a plea of "not guilty." 5 After pre- trial, trial on the merits ensued.
Version of the Prosecution

PO2 Elyzer Tuzon (PO2 Tuzon) testified for the prosecution. He claimed that on November 22, 2005, at around 11:00 o’clock in the
morning, he was on duty at the police station of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, when he received a telephone call from an unknown tipper
hat Guzon was engaged in drug-pushing activity at Nalupta Street, Barangay 3, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. PO2 Tuzon relayed the
nformation to Officer-In-Charge Chief Police Inspector Jerico Baldeo (OIC Baldeo), who ordered PO2 Tuzon and PO3 Cesar Manuel
PO3 Manuel) to verify the report. When PO2 Tuzon and PO3 Manuel failed to find Guzon at Nalupta Street, OIC Baldeo instructed
hem to seek the aid of an asset. 6

After an unnamed asset identified Guzon’s location, the police planned a buy-bust operation. PO2 Tuzon gave marked money to the
asset designated to be the poseur-buyer of shabu. The asset was instructed to remove his cap to signal that he had received the
shabu from Guzon.7

The buy-bust operation ensued at Nalupta Street, where the asset approached Guzon . From afar, PO2 Tuzon saw the asset hand
hree (3) marked P100.00 bills to Guzon, who then handed something to the asset.8 After the asset removed his cap, the police ran

owards Guzon to arrest him . PO3 Manuel recovered the marked P100 bills from Guzon, while PO2 Tuzon received from the asset
he item purchased from Guzon.9 Guzon was brought to the San Nicolas Police Station, where PO2 Tuzon prepared a
Certification/Inventory of Seized/Confiscated Items 10, marked the seized sachet with his initials "EAT",11 and then delivered the sachet
o the police crime laboratory for chemical examination. 12 The sachet was received by PO3 Nolie Domingo (PO3 Domingo). 13

Given a stipulation by the prosecution and the defense during the pre- trial, PO3 Domingo and Police Senior Inspector Mary Ann
Cayabyab (PSI Cayabyab), the Forensic Chemical Officer of the Ilocos Norte Provincial Crime Laboratory Office who conducted the
chemical examination, no longer testified in court. The RTC’s pre-trial Order 14 provides:

The parties stipulated on the gist of the testimony of PO3 Nolie Domingo to the effect that as per request for laboratory examination,
he was the one who received the specimen from Elyzer Tuzon and that he delivered the same to PSI Mary Ann Cayabyab. They also
stipulated on the testimony of PSI Cayabyab to the effect that after receiving the said specimen and found the specimen to be shabu,
hus, she issued her initial report and confirmatory report under Chemistry Report No. D-090-2005 which were marked as Exhibits F
and G, respectively. They further agreed that said forensic chemical officer and PO3 Domingo could identify the said specimen and
he labels as appearing therein. The defense admitted the proffer without admitting that the specimen came from the accused. The
estimonies of PO3 Nolie Domingo and PSI Mary Ann Cayabyab were therefore dispensed with. x x x. 15

The Initial Laboratory Report16 and Chemistry Report17 referred to in the pre-trial Order both state that the specimen, weighing 0.06
grams, that was submitted to the crime laboratory for examination contained methamphetamine hydrochloride, otherwise known as
shabu.
Version of the Defense

The defense presented the testimonies of Guzon, his friend Jesus Guira, Jr. (Guira) and brother Edwin Guzon (Edwin).

Guzon denied the charge against him. He claimed that on the early afternoon of November 22, 2005, he had a drinking spree with
Guira at the latter’s house in Barangay San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. 18 At past 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, his brother Edwin arrived
and told him that PO3 Manuel wanted to talk to him. Guzon approached PO3 Manuel, who invited him to the municipal hall but would
not say the reason therefor.19 Guzon insisted that the matter be instead discussed near Guira’s house, but PO3 Manuel declined.
Thereafter, PO2 Tuzon arrived20 and upon his prodding, Guzon agreed to go with them to the municipal hall. 21 Only PO2 Tuzon went
with Guzon inside the municipal hall. 22

PO2 Tuzon later brought Guzon to a police camp in Laoag City. While on board a patrol car on their way to the camp, PO2 Tuzon
ealized that he forgot the shabu in his office drawer so they went back to the municipal hall. Thereafter, they headed back to the
police camp where, upon their arrival, PO2 Tuzon handcuffed Guzon before proceeding to the camp’s second floor. 23

While at the second floor, PO2 Tuzon took a sachet from his pocket then handed it to a desk officer. Guzon was instructed by a
woman to fill a small bottle with his urine. After he complied, PO2 Tuzon brought him back to San Nicolas. 24

On the morning of November 23, 2005, Guzon was brought by PO2 Tuzon, PO3 Manuel and another policeman to a place south of
he City Hall of Laoag, near the corner of the Laoag-Solsona terminal. There, Guzon saw PO3 Manuel take out three P100.00 bills
rom his wallet then hand them to PO2 Tuzon. PO2 Tuzon left and when he returned, he handed photocopies of the P100.00 bills to
PO3 Manuel.25

Guira and Edwin also testified for Guzon’s defense. Guira claimed that at about 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon on November 22, 2005,
he was having a drinking session outside his house with Guzon and several other persons. 26 At around 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon,
Edwin arrived to inform Guzon that PO3 Manuel was looking for him. 27 Guzon then left the place with PO3 Manuel, PO2 Tuzon and
one George.28 Edwin’s testimony also corroborated the account of Guzon, having testified that on November 22, 2005, he was asked
by PO3 Manuel on the whereabouts of Guzon. 29 When he saw his brother at Guira’s house, he approached him to say that PO3

Manuel was looking for him.30

The testimony of one Ronnie Dimaya was dispensed with after the prosecution admitted that the gist of his testimony would be
merely corroborative of the testimonies of Guira and Guzon. 31
The RTC’s Ruling

On June 15, 2007, the RTC rendered its Decision 32 finding Guzon guilty as charged. The dispositive portion of its Decision reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered finding accused Garyzaldy Guzon GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt as charged of
llegal sale of shabu and is therefore sentenced to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P500,000.00.

The contraband subject hereof is hereby confiscated, the same to be disposed of as the law prescribes.

SO ORDERED.33

Feeling aggrieved, Guzon appealed to the CA. Notwithstanding the RTC’s findings, he denied the charge against him. He also
questioned the credibility of PO2 Tuzon as a witness for the prosecution and the police officers’ non-compliance with the chain of
custody rule in handling the confiscated shabu.
The CA’s Ruling

On June 29, 2010, the CA rendered its Decision34 denying the appeal. It reasoned that Guzon’s defenses of denial and frame-up are
common and could easily be fabricated; they could not prevail over the positive identification of the accused by the police officer who
estified for the prosecution.

n affirming Guzon’s conviction, the CA also cited the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty by the police
operatives who conducted the buy-bust operation. As to the issue of chain of custody, the CA rejected Guzon’s argument, and
maintained that based on the evidence, the integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated shabu were preserved.

Hence, this appeal.

The Present Petition

Guzon seeks his acquittal mainly on the basis of the prosecution’s failure to establish the chain of custody of the subject drug. He
argues35 that: (1) the evidence allegedly seized from Guzon could have been planted; it was not immediately marked at the place of
seizure; (2) there were no photographs and physical inventory of the confiscated drug; (3) the prosecution failed to offer justification
or the absence of photographs and inventory; (4) the asset who acted as the poseur-buyer was not identified; and (5) the
prosecution failed to establish that the integrity of the seized item was sufficiently preserved through an unbroken chain of custody.
This Court’s Ruling

The appeal is meritorious. The Court acquits Guzon for the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In Reyes
v. CA,36 the Court emphasized that a "conviction must stand on the strength of the prosecution’s evidence, not on the weakness of the
defense which the accused put up. Evidence proving the guilt of the accused must always be beyond reasonable doubt. If the
evidence of guilt falls short of this requirement, the Court will not allow the accused to be deprived of his liberty. His acquittal should
come as a matter of course."37

n the instant case, Guzon was accused of violating Section 5, Article II of R.A. No. 9165 which prohibits the sale of illegal drugs. The

In each case. 40 A buy-bust operation is a legally effective and proven procedure."41 As in all drugs cases. courts are nonetheless eminded to thoroughly evaluate and differentiate those errors that constitute a simple procedural lapse from those that amount to a . controlled precursors and essential chemicals. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. hat the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided. x x x x (Emphasis ours) The rule includes the proviso that procedural lapses in the handling of the seized drugs are not ipso facto fatal to the prosecution’s cause. as it is essential that the prohibited drug confiscated or recovered from the suspect is the very same substance offered in court as exhibit. physically nventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. particularly Section 21 thereof. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). immediately after seizure and confiscation. compliance with the chain of custody rule is crucial in any prosecution that follows such operation. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. but also of proving the corpus delicti .elements of the crime include: (a) the identities of the buyer and the seller. 42 The ule is imperative. Seized. Chain of custody means the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs or controlled chemicals rom the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. in the handling of seized substances. and (b) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment for the thing. Bautista39 that in drug-related prosecutions he State bears the burden not only of proving these elements of the offense under R. or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team. 9165. further provides the following guidelines in the custody and control of confiscated drugs: xxxx a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. for apprehending drug peddlers and distributors. No. provided that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are preserved. eads in part: Sec. x x x x (Emphasis ours) The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of R. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. 9165. No. and that the identity of said drug is established with the same unwavering exactitude as that requisite to make a finding of guilt. the object of the sale. seized and/or surrendered. and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice DOJ). 38 The Court explained in People v. No. For one.A. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. the body of the crime. 21. immediately after seizure and confiscation. whichever is practicable . that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. or his/her representative or counsel. sanctioned by law.A. in case of warrantless seizures. Section 21 of R.43 To eliminate doubt. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. ― The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. or his/her representative or counsel. The dangerous drug is itself the very corpus delicti of the violation of the law. upon which Guzon anchors his appeal. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. further. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. 9165. plant sources of dangerous drugs. some safeguards for compliance by law enforcement officers are established by law and jurisprudence. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. and the consideration. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items . Provided. for proper disposition in he following manner: 1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall.A. and even abuse.

the Court explained hat the failure to comply with the indispensable requirement of corpus delicti happens not only when it is missing. there were several lapses in the law enforcers’ handling of the seized item which. tampering. alteration or tampering—without regard to whether the same is advertent or otherwise not—dictates the level of strictness in the application of the chain of custody rule. 49 (Citation omitted and emphasis ours) Here. or when a witness has failed to observe its uniqueness. contamination and even substitution and exchange.A. While testimony about a perfect chain is not always the standard because it is almost always impossible to obtain." or contamination of evidence. IRR of R. when aken in light of the several other lapses in the chain of custody that attend the present case. the exhibit’s level of susceptibility to fungibility.A. "planting. an unbroken chain of custody becomes indispensable and essential when the item of real evidence is not distinctive and is not readily identifiable. or his/her representative or counsel. 51 such circumstance. the Court has determined that such lapses and doubt mar the instant case. No. from the moment the item was picked up to the time it is offered into evidence. by itself. the inventory must be made "in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom the items were confiscated and/or seized. where it was and what happened to it while in the witness’ possession. mpair the integrity of the chain of custody and render the confiscated items inadmissible in evidence." These requirements are reiterated in Section 21. the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. render the standards of chain of custody seriously breached. the buy-bust team failed to fully comply with the requirements under Section 21 of R. Although . a representative from the media and the Department of Justice. No. systematic. In other words. or when its condition at the time of testing or trial is critical.gross.47 Upon review. forms part of a gross. but also where here are substantial gaps in the chain of custody of the seized drugs which raise doubts on the authenticity of the evidence presented in court. when taken collectively. Non-compliant with such rules. to wit: Crucial in proving chain of custody is the marking of the seized drugs or other related items immediately after they are seized from he accused. Under the law. The marking of the evidence serves to separate the marked evidence from the corpus of all other similar or related evidence from the time they are seized from the accused until they are disposed at the end of criminal proceedings. 9165 for its preparation and execution. the police officers who took part in the buy-bust operation failed to mark the seized item immediately after its confiscation from Guzon.52 sufficient to create reasonable doubt as to the culpability of the accused. in such a way that every person who ouched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was received. 9165. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. systematic. obviating switching. Coreche 48 the importance in the chain of custody of the immediate marking of an item that is seized from an accused. First. 46(Citations omitted and emphasis supplied) As Guzon correctly pointed out in his Supplemental Brief. instead of immediately marking the subject drug upon its confiscation. thus it is vital that the seized contraband are immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimens will use the markings as reference. or deliberate disregard of the safeguards that are drawn by the law. however. The same standard ikewise obtains in case the evidence is susceptible to alteration. the chain of custody rule 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. It would include testimony about every ink in the chain. In a line of cases. People 45 wherein the Court held: As a method of authenticating evidence. the Certification/Inventory of Seized/Confiscated Items53 in this case only bears the signatures of PO3 Manuel and PO2 Tuzon as apprehending officers. Marking after seizure is the starting point in the custodial link. The Court explained in People v. The Court has determined that although a physical inventory of the items seized during the buy-bust operation forms part of the case ecords. These witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same. or deliberate disregard of the safeguards that are drawn by the law 44 for the protection of the corpus delicti. PO2 Tuzon marked it with his initials "EAT" only upon arrival at the police station. The strict demands and significant value of the chain of custody rule were emphasized in the oft-cited Malillin v.50 While the failure of arresting officers to mark the seized items at the place of arrest does not.

2005 entry in the San Nicolas Municipal Police Station’s Temporary Police Blotter. D-090200563 issued by PSI Cayabyab likewise provides the following details: SPECIMEN SUBMITTED: A – One (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic bag with markings containing 0. the Memorandum60requesting for laboratory examination signed by OIC Baldeo and which reads in part: EXHIBIT: a) One (1) piece of small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing crystalline substance suspected to be shabu weighing more or less . which is also required under Section 21 of R. xxxx The above enumerated and described items were properly marked with capital letters EAT representing the name Elyzer Agarma Tuzon who was one of the apprehending police officers x x x. The saving clause in Section 21. there was an evident disregard on their part of the established legal requirements. magnified by the prosecution’s failure to explain the deficiencies during the trial. 57 (Emphasis ours) The fact that the item sold by Guzon to the police asset weighed only 0. 9165 fails to remedy the lapses and save the prosecution’s case.he Certification indicates the name of Guzon under the section "With Conformity".06 gram of white crystalline substance.A. t appears. even including the plastic sachet that contained the substance.56 Equally important. There is also no proof that a copy of the inventory was received by any of the persons enumerated under the law. however. as provided in a Certification 59 dated November 22. No.01 gram including plastic sachet marked hereto as exhibit EAT. the September 22. 9165 and its IRR must be adequately explained. and that examined by PSI Cayabyab. specifically at 0. casts doubt on whether the tem claimed to have been sold by Guzon to the police asset was the same item that was brought for examination by the police crime aboratory and eventually presented in court as evidence. excluding its plastic container. We refer to the inventory prepared by PO3 Manuel and PO2 Tuzon on the items that were confiscated after the buy-bust operation: One (1) piece small heat[-]sealed plastic sachet containing white crystalline granules believed to be methamphetamine hydrochloride ocally known as "SHABU". and third. Their breach of the chain of custody rule. No. second.01 gram is provided in several other documents: first. The prosecution failed in this regard. 9165. the specimen submitted to the police crime laboratory weighed only 0.06 gram. forms part of the case records. We have emphasized in People v.01 gram including plastic material. 2005 issued by OIC Baldeo.A. Garcia54 that the saving clause applies only where the prosecution recognized the procedural lapses. Taking into account the several rules and requirements that were not ollowed by the law enforcers.A. no photograph of the seized item. Chemistry Report No. Besides these deficiencies in the preparation of the inventory. it includes neither his signature nor of any other person who is allowed by law to witness the required inventory.01 gram. in the Joint Affidavit58 dated November 22. As further proof that the chain of custody rule was breached in this case. No. The Initial Laboratory Report 62prepared by PSI Cayabyab indicates that he specimen examined weighed more.61(Emphasis ours) Clearly. and hereafter cited justifiable grounds. the prosecution must establish that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized item are properly preserved. IRR of R. weighing more or less .55 Failure to follow the procedure mandated under R. xxx . 2005 executed by PO3 Manuel and PO2 Tuzon. the Court points out the discrepancy in the weight of the tem that was supposedly seized following the buy-bust operation. that the specimen examined by PSI Cayabyab of the police crime laboratory differed from the specimen allegedly seized by the police and brought for examination.

it was unlikely for PO2 Tuzon to have heard the conversations between the alleged buyer and seller. as any aint of irregularity affects the whole performance and should make the presumption unavailable.68 "Proof of the corpus delicti in a buy-bust situation requires not only the actual existence of the transacted drugs but also he certainty that the drugs examined and presented in court were the very ones seized." 66 The Court is mindful of the stipulations that were entered into by the parties during the pre-trial 67 to the effect that: (a) PO3 Domingo eceived the specimen from PO2 Tuzon and then delivered it to PSI Cayabyab. PO3 Domingo and PSI Cayabyab could have provided the clarification. hearsay. the prosecution must show that the integrity of the corpus delicti has been preserved. merely address the matter of the specimen’s transfer from one police officer to the next. The doubt is resolved in Guzon’s favor. (b) PSI Cayabyab received the specimen and when she found the specimen to be shabu . or at most. These bare stipulations. the determination in this case of whether the rationale for the chain of custody rule was duly satisfied necessitated a more ntensive inquiry. the Court finds merit in Guzon’s argument that the non-presentation of the poseur-buyer to the witness stand was fatal to the prosecution’s cause.e. Given the considerable difference between the specimen’s weight upon its seizure and its weight at the time of its examination.64 (Emphasis ours) Clearly from the foregoing. 71 In the instant case. the item that was allegedly obtained by the police from Guzon during the buy-bust operation differed or. he and PO3 Manuel were positioned about 20 meters away from Guzon and the poseur-buyer. at he very least. The testimony of PO2 Tuzon offered no explanation for the difference. True enough. ultimately. his testimony provided that he and PO3 Manuel merely relied on an agreed signal. made no specific reference to such markings. she issued her initial and confirmatory reports.xxxx REMARKS: Weight does not include plastic container. the poseur-buyer’s removal of his cap. as may be derived from he supposed actions of Guzon and the poseur-buyer. Although PO2 Tuzon estified during the trial on the supposed sale. without offering any explanation as to the specimen’s condition during the ransfers. This is crucial in drugs cases because the evidence involved – the seized chemical – is not readily identifiable by sight or touch and can easily be tampered with or substituted.. xxx. BALUCIO: . was the witness competent to prove such fact. a civilian. remained unaddressed by the prosecution. to indicate that the sale had been consummated. being information that was merely relayed to him by the alleged poseur-buyer. and an indication of the safeguards that were employed to prevent any tampering or substitution. Her reports. It failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the integrity and evidentiary value of the substance claimed to be seized during the buy-bust operation was preserved. the prosecution must convincingly prove that the transaction or sale actually transpired. Given the 20-meter distance. how each person made sure that the item was not tampered with or substituted. PO2 Tuzon even admitted: ATTY. the poseur-buyer in the buy-bust operation. however. The prosecution’s failure to do so was fatal to its case. however.06g of white crystalline substance. n drugs cases. but their testimonies were dispensed with following the parties’ agreement during the pre-trial. This is a condition sine qua non for conviction since drugs are the main subject of the illegal sale constituting the crime and their existence and identification must be proven for the crime to exist. the detail provided in the Information. and (c) PSI Cayabyab and PO3 Domingo could dentify the specimen and the labels appearing thereon. We emphasize that in a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs."69 The flagrant lapses committed in handling the alleged confiscated drug in violation of the chain of custody requirement even effectively negate the presumption of regularity in the performance of the police officers’ duties. given the testimony of PO2 Tuzon that at time the supposed sale happened. as they merely described the subject specimen as one (1)-heat-sealed transparent plastic bag with markings containing 0. such information he could offer was based only on conjecture. i. On cross-examination. with the seized item’s weight being a mere 16% of the examined specimen’s weight. 65 The identity of the item examined by PSI Cayabyab could have also been verified from the markings "EAT" that was made by PO2 Tuzon on the plastic sachet. The variance in the weight of the seized tem vis-à-vis the examined specimen and. 70 n addition to the foregoing. as the Court rules on his acquittal. was no longer in its original condition when examined in the crime laboratory.

Pascua was not privy to the conversation between Lim and the accused. He was merely watching from a distance and he only saw the actions of the two. 2007 of the Regional Trial Court of Laoag City. we said – We agree with the appellant’s contention that the non-presentation of Boy Lim. Sgt. Olaes75.72 n the absence of neither the poseur-buyer’s nor of any eyewitness’ testimony on the transaction. you were at a distance far away from the alleged transaction. This ailure constitutes a fatal flaw in the prosecution’s evidence since the so-called (poseur-buyer) who was never presented as a witness x x x is the best witness for the prosecution x x x. sir. Sgt. CR HC No. the prosecution’s case fails. who admitted that he was seven (7) to eight (8) meters away from where the actual transaction took place. The Court held. 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Since appellant insisted that he was forced by Lim to buy the marijuana. 11968-13.Q And Mr. viz : 1âwphi1 n People v. Yabut is further instructive – Well established is the rule that when the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two (2) or more explanations. could not be deemed an eyewitness to the crime. in Criminal Case No. Sec. Pascua had no personal knowledge of the transaction that ranspired between Lim and the appellant. the Court REVERSES and SETS ASIDE the Decision dated June 29. Polizon. In this regard this Court has ruled that when here is such a divergence of accounts – x x x it becomes incumbent upon the prosecution to rebut appellant’s allegation by presenting x x x the alleged poseur. 76 While the Court. hence. when you allegedly arrived at the target place. accused-appellant’s version of the circumstances eading to his apprehension constitutes a total denial of the prosecution’s allegations. This it ailed to do giving rise to the presumption that evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse if produced (Rule 131. The ruling in People v. then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty and is not sufficient to support a conviction. Witness. who hen was the only person who had personal knowledge of the transaction.R.buyer. Witness? A Yes. sir. it was supposedly witnessed only by the poseur-buyer. there being some other eyewitness who is competent to testify on the sale transaction.73 the Court explained that the failure of the prosecution to present in court the alleged poseur-buyer is fatal to its case. 02890. Branch 13. and ACQUITS accused-appellant GARYZALDY GUZON of the crime charged in Criminal Case No. Q And that if any transaction have been (sic) transpired at that time. in several instances. the police officer. In the present case. In People v. sir. is it not? A More or less twenty (20) meters. the alleged poseur-buyer. Witness? A Yes. 11968-13 on . 77 WHEREFORE. since the alleged sale transaction happened inside the accused’s house. Q And you did not also see if what was being handed at that time was shabu Mr. it was essential hat Lim should have been presented to rebut accused’s testimony. Tadepa. you did not hear it Mr. Said the Court in that case. 74 (Emphasis ours) The Court also ruled in People v. that the non-presentation of the poseur-buyer was fatal to the prosecution’s case. As pointed out by the appellant. 5 [e]). has affirmed an accused’s conviction notwithstanding the non-presentation of the poseur-buyer n the buy-bust operation. weakens the prosecution’s evidence. such failure is excusable only when the poseur-buyer’s testimony is merely corroborative. one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt. which affirmed the Decision dated June 15.

at 9-10. SERENO Chief Justice Footnotes * Acting member per Special Order No. unless he is detained for some other lawful cause. 4 Id. SO ORDERED. 7 Id. with Associate Justices Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Celia C Librea-Leagogo. 2013. Article VIII of the Constitution. 8-9. at 9.he ground of reasonable doubt. LEONEN* Associate Justice C E R TI F I C ATI O N Pursuant to Section 13. MARIA LOURDES P. REYES Associate Justice WE CONCUR: MARIA LOURDES P. 1545 Revised) dated September 16. 2006. 27-41. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO Associate Justice LUCAS P. 6 TSN. BERSAMIN Associate Justice MARVIC MARIO VICTOR F. BIENVENIDO L. Penned by Associate Justice Michael P. I certify that the conclusions n the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division. CA rollo pp. 2-14. rollo pp. 1 2 Issued by Presiding Judge Philip G. concurring. A. 3-6. at 5-6. SERENO Chief Justice Chairperson TERESITA J. A. February 28. 3 Id. 5 Id. . Elbinias. Salvador. at 27. pp. The Director of the Bureau of Corrections is hereby ORDERED to immediately release Garyzaldy Guzon from custody.

28 Id. at 15. 20 Id. 5. 24. at 7. 54. August 3. at 8.8 Id. 19 Id. p. at 7. 29 TSN. p. at 12. p. 14 Records. p. 3. 27 Id. at 16. at 5-7. p. 2006. 25 Id. at 14-15. at 8. 23 Id. 21 Id. 17 Id. pp. February 28. 22 Id. 2006. 12 Id. August 15. at 17-18. 18 TSN. 24 Id. 11 TSN. . 13 Id. 2006. 13. 16 CA rollo. 31 TSN. 2006. 3-4. at 6-7. 4. 2006. 10 Records. p. 30 Id. 9 Id. at 55. September 7. 4. at 15-16. 26 TSN. 10. September 18. p. at 11. 15 Id. at 12.

687 SCRA 336.R. 641 (2003). 190321. 2011.R. Obeso. citing People v. at 47-49. . 199. People v. July 13. People v. 365. supra note 44. citing People v. G. 2012. 596 SCRA 350. Lorenzo. 180177.R. Remigio.R. at 531-532. 2009. August 14. 198051. 27-41 33 Id. 184760. p. at 355. No.32 CA rollo. 400. Umipang. No. G. 2012. 663 SCRA 260. 41 42 People v. People. 2010.R. 2-14. 654 SCRA 188. December 10. 2012. at 164-165. at 587-588. Chua Uy. 53 CA rollo. 193003. citing Imson v. Villanueva. No. 189277. 46 Id. G. No. Dumaplin.R. 355. Mantalaba. 671 SCRA 324. 687 SCRA 631. at 41. G. 2012. 653 SCRA 826. supra note 44. February 22. 998. January 18. 44 People v. 177320.R. pp. No. 596 SCRA 350. Relato. April 25. G. 2009. citing People v. p. 355-356. No. Umipang.R. 52 Id. 38 39 G. 536 Phil. 619 SCRA 389. at 351. G. 35 Id. 1004 (2006). 36 G. April 23. No. 29. 625. 45 576 Phil. People v. 270. Umipang. pp. 576 (2008). G. 85 (2000). 40 Id. August 14. People v. 2012. No. 666 SCRA 518. G. 186227. No. No. 34 Rollo. 2011. 43 People v. April 18. December 5. 37 Id. 670 SCRA 148.R. 50 CA rollo. 173794. July 20. at 357.R. 51 People v. 70. People v. 460 Phil. 182528. 384 Phil.R. No. 2012. 182528. 47 48 G. 52. Coreche. 49 Id.

54 G.R. People v. Mendoza. citing People v. No. 231 (1995). 656 SCRA 616. at 95. 1992. 82263. No. 768-769. citing People v. 57 Records. at 24. Nandi. citing People v. 175832. 76547. 62 Id. . June 26. emphasis ours. 2010. 580 SCRA 259. 569 SCRA 194. Yabut . 2009. 1990. 2010. 19. 613 SCRA 763.R. 2011. February 25. 186387. 84917.R. 555 Phil. January 19. 60 Id. 2010.R. 2006. 610 SCRA 295. 74 75 G. 55 Id. February 26. Polizon . G. at 11. May 9. 58 Id. at 11. Peralta. 63 Id. 59 Id. 303. No. 64 Id. 130. 214 SCRA 56 and People v. 65 Id. No.R. supra note 38.R. September 18. August 31. at 404. 9. 73 314 Phil. 5. at 272. 706 (2007). 210 SCRA 394. G. 174198.R. G. Sanchez. 625 SCRA 123. 173472. 66 Id. 71 People v. at 24. Zaida Kamad . G. 173480. Id. Orteza.R. at 239-240. No. p. G. Lorenzo. July 30. 68 People v. No. at 10. 69 70 People v. 188905. 56 People v. No. 1992. G. 67 Id. 76 Id. at 7. 72 TSN. 2008. 188 SCRA 91. p. October 15. 628.R. G. 700. July 13. at 19. at 3-4. 61 Id. No. No.

supra note 71. 2007 Decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Uy. vs. 2014 PEOPLE OF THE PIDLIPPINES. Accused-Appellant.Arellano Law Foundation G. . 190623 Today is Saturday. People v. 471 Phil. an Information for violation of Section 11. Laguna in Criminal Case No. DECISION DEL CASTILLO. San Pedro.C. appellant Rommel Araza y Sagun (Araza) assails the October 14. 392 Phil. No. 03164 which affirmed the December 11.R. ROMMEL ARAZA y SAGUN. 9165 (RA 9165) otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was filed against Araza. 786 (2000). weighing zero point zero six (0. Province of Laguna. November 14. 2003. Branch 93. the accusatory portion of which reads as follows: 3 That on or about August 28. did then and there willfully. 2009 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG. 773.R. Republic Act No. 2015 Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION November 17. 1 2 Factual Antecedents On August 15.See People v. No. 3829-SPL finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal possession of shabu. Article II. Orteza. 77 The Lawphil Project ." a dangerous drug. Ambrosio. unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession. citing People v. J. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court the said accused. not being authorized by law. 241 (2004).: n this appeal. control and custody one (1) small heat-sealed transparent plasticsachet containing METHAMPHETAMINE HYDROCHLORIDE commonly known as "shabu. Plaintiff-Appellee. 2002.06) gram. CR-H. at 709. inthe Municipality of San Pedro.

While confiscating said machine. Huelgas as Exhibits "B-5". PO1 Talacca saw nine persons. but her testimony was dispensed with after the defense agreed o the following stipulations: 1) Chemistry Report No.m. 4) findingsas Exhibit "B-3". D-2028-02 as Exhibit "B". Araza pleaded "not guilty. the Court herebysentences accused ROMMEL ARAZA y SAGUN to suffer an indeterminate penalty of imprisonment rom twelve (12) years and one (1) day as minimum to fifteen (15)years as maximum and to pay a fine in the amount of P300. Huelgas). 12) the plastic sachet as Exhibit "D-1". 7) the request for laboratory examination as Exhibit "C". sniffing shabuor engaging in a pot session inside the house of Sacdo. including Araza. The dispositive portion of the December 11. 4 During arraignment. 3) the specimen submitted as Exhibit "B-2". Recovered from the pocket of Araza was a small heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance which PO1 Talacca suspected to be shabu. Jaarmy Bolus-Romero. is hereby directed to mmediately transmit the 0.00.CONTRARY TO LAW. Insp. PO1 Talacca immediately seized said sachet and brought Araza and his companions to the police station." Thereafter. The 0. 2) the name of suspect Rommel Araza ySagun as Exhibit "B-1". He turned over the said sachet to the chief investigator. Atty. 5) conclusion as Exhibit "B-4". Insp. Costs against accused. The RTC rejected Araza’s alibi as a feeble defense that cannot prevail over the positive estimony of PO1 Talacca. It gave credence to the estimony of PO1 Talacca since he is presumed to have regularly performed his duties and there was no evidence that he had any motive to falsely testify against Araza.06 [gram] of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride "shabu"to the Dangerous Drugs Board for proper disposition. The prosecution was supposed to alsopresent Police Senior Inspector Donna Villa Huelgas (P/Sr. Branch Clerk of Court. 11) the halfsize white envelope as Exhibit "D". PO1 Talacca confiscated his wallet that contained coins then ook him to the police station and charged him with illegal possession of prohibited drugs. He arrested and frisked them. the Forensic Chemist who examined the confiscated white crystalline substance." 6 Version of the Defense The defense presented a completely different version of the incident. trial ensued. of August 28. 10) the stamp mark as Exhibit "C-3". Araza testified that he was sleeping inside a room in the house of Sacdo when PO1 Talacca suddenly woke him up and frisked him. BarangayTanods and several members of the barangay council in confiscating a video karera machine inside the house of a certain Alejandro Sacdo (Sacdo). who marked the same with the initials "RSA" in his presence.PO1 Talacca accompanied the Barangay Chairman. Larry Cabrera (Cabrera). 8 . SO ORDERED. and 13) the small heat-sealed plastic sachets as Exhibit D-1-A. 2002. Ruling of the Regional Trial Court The RTC ruled thatthe prosecution was able toestablish the guilt of Araza beyond reasonable doubt.000. 2007 Decision of the RTC reads: 7 WHEREFORE.06 gram of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride "shabu" which constitutes the instrument in the commission of the crime is confiscated and forfeited in favor of the government. 9) the evidence submitted as Exhibit "C-2". 5 Version of the Prosecution The prosecution presented Police Officer 1 Edmund Talacca (PO1 Talacca) who testified as follows: At around 8:00 p. 6) the name and signature of P/Sr. 8) the name of suspect Rommel Araza ySagun as Exhibit "C-1".

He posited that the shabu is inadmissible in evidence since it was illegally seized. in Criminal Case No. Hence." 15 16 The prosecution satisfied the foregoing elements during trial. having been taken from his pocket and not as an incident of an arrest in flagrante delicto. He claimed that the possibility of tampering. Laguna. Araza imputes error upon the RTC and CA in upholding the validity of his warrantless arrest and in finding that the procedure for the custody and control of prohibited drugs was complied with. The arresting officer. is punishable under [RA 9165]. positively identified Arazaas the person caught in possession of the shabu presented in court. this appeal where Araza seeks for his acquittal. The elements that must be established in the successful prosecution of a dangerous drugs case are: "(1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug. SO ORDERED. (2) such possession is not authorized by law. 14 Our Ruling The appeal is unmeritorious. Araza highlighted PO1 Talacca’s admission under oath that the shabuwas confiscated from his pocket and not in plain view. The offense of illegal possession of dangerous drugs has been established. He stated that the shabuwas validly confiscated after Araza was arrested in flagrante delicto sniffing shabuin the company of other people. 9 10 Ruling of the Court of Appeals n his brief. Relevant portions of his testimony are as follows: Q Do you recall where you were on August 28. the prosecution was able to establish the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized item.It also held that he could no longer question the chain of custody for failing o raise the same during trial." "Mere possession x x x of a prohibited drug. Araza likewise argued that the rule on chain of custody was not properly adhered to since here was no evidence that a physical inventory of the shabu was conducted in the presence ofany elected local government official and the media. Besides. 3829-SPL. and (3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug. is hereby AFFIRMED. Branch 93. alteration or substitution of the substance may have been present since he investigating officer who marked the seized shabuin the police station and the person who delivered the same to the crime aboratory were not presented during the trial. 11 The CA. Issues On February 15. San Pedro. the CA issued its assailed Decision with the following dispositive portion: 12 WHEREFORE. the entire records of the casewere forwarded to the CA.Araza filed a notice of appeal which was approved bythe RTC. the parties weredirected to file their respective supplemental briefs but both of them opted to just adopt the brief they submitted before the CA. the assailed Decisiondated 11 December 2007 of the Regional Trial Court. without legal authority. Thus. 2002 at around 8:00 o’clock in the evening? . It ruled that Araza was estopped from assailing the legality of his arrest for his failure to move o quash the Information against him prior to arraignment. 2010. however. was not impressed. PO1 Talacca. 13 Hence. Fourth Judicial Region.

Langgam. was inside that house? A There were all in all nine persons. found one small heat[-]sealed plastic sachet [on] him. if any. Q What did you do next? A After we [took down their names and pertinent details] in the blotter. ma’am. some members of he barangay council and members of the barangay tanod. he was present. Langgam to conduct a confiscation of video karera in he house of Alejandro Sacdo. what did you do next? A We brought them to the barangay hall of Brgy. it is our standard operating procedure to search each suspect and when I searched Mr. the barangay officials and the tanods and we immediately [entered] the house and arrested these nine people. I was with the barangay chairman of Brgy. what happened next? A When we arrested the nine persons. all of them were brought to the police station for investigation . Q You referred to Mr. who else. Laguna. if he is in court right now. ma’am. San Pedro. Q Was Alejandro Sacdo inside his house then? A Yes. Q What did you do when you saw that there was a video karera machine inside the house? A The barangay chairman and [the] members of our group immediately confiscated the video karera machine. xxxx Q When you arrived at the house ofAlejandro Sacdo. Q What were they doing? A They were inside the house of Alejandro Sacdo sniffing shabu. [W]e went to Brgy. Araza. Q After that. Rommel Araza y Sagun as the one from whom you were able to confiscate a small heat[-]sealed plastic [sachet]. including Alejandro Sacdo. ma’am. Q After you arrested the nine people. xxxx Q Aside from Alejandro Sacdo.A Yes.including Alejandro Sacdo. Langgam. what happened? A We [went directly] to the house ofAlejandro Sacdo [where] we found a video karera. there he is (witness pointing to a man seated inside the courtroom who identified himself as Rommel Araza y Sagun) Q After you arrested the nine persons including Alejandro Sacdo and herein accused Araza and after confiscating from him the small heat[-] sealed plastic sachet. Police Officer Mendoza. will you beable to identify him? A Yes. what did you do? A I called the attention of our companions.

jurisprudence dictates that "the illegal arrest of an accused is not sufficient cause for setting aside a valid udgment rendered upon a sufficient complaint after a trial free from error. must be given weight. Arazais already estopped from assailing any irregularity in his arrest after he failed to raise this issue or to move for the quashal of the Information on this ground before his arraignment. Hetherefore posits that he was not apprehended in flagrante delicto and the ensuing warrantless arrest was invalid. Warrantless search incidental to a lawful arrest. "buttressed by the presumption hat they have regularly performed their duties in the absence of convincing proof to the contrary. the sachet allegedly seized from him isnot admissible in evidence against him being the fruit of a poisonous tree. Q Where were you then when the police investigator put the markings on the specimen? A I was in front of him. Moreover. The narration of the incident by a police officer. D-2028-02 confirmed that a qualitative examination conducted on the specimen inside the plastic sachet seized from Araza yielded positive result for methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. Such an argument is unworthy of credence since objections to a warrant of arrest or the procedure by which the court acquired urisdiction over the person of the accused must be manifested prior to entering his plea. ma’am. Q What did you do with the specimen you confiscated from Araza? A I gave it to our chief investigator. This constitutional prohibition." His estimony.and proper filing of case against them. He is. Officer Larry Cabrera. admits of the following exceptions: 23 24 1. the physical evidence and the facts stipulated upon during trial wereconsistent with each other. Chemistry Report No. The Constitution states that failureto secure a judicial warrant prior to the actual search and consequent seizure would ender it unreasonable and any evidence obtained therefrom shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. deemed to have waived any defect he believes to have existed during his arrest and effectively submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the RTC. Araza calls attention to the admission of PO1 Talacca that the shabuwas confiscated from his pocket and was not in plain view. the objection is deemed waived.however. It will not even negate the validity of the conviction of the accused. it is crucial to ascertain whether the search that yielded the alleged contraband was lawful. . Araza did not object to the alleged irregularity of his arrest before or during his arraignment. ma’am. Araza also failed to adduce evidence showing thathe had legal authority to possess the seized drugs. for proper [marking] of the specimen and for them to deliver the same to the crime laboratory for examination. Circumstances when warrantless search and subsequent seizure are valid. Moreover. As to the admissibility of the shabuseized from Araza. 19 An accused cannot assail any irregularity in the manner of his arrest after arraignment. it was RSA which stands for the name of Rommel Araza y Sagun. 17 18 We find the statement of PO1 Talacca tobe credible. therefore. Q Did you see what markings were placed on the specimen? A Yes. Thus. Otherwise." 20 21 22 Here. He even actively participated in the proceedings before the RTC. there is no reason to disturb the findings of the RTC as affirmed by the CA. In other words.

Stop and Frisk. PO1 Talacca testified that he saw Araza and his companions sniffing substance that seemed to be shabu inside the premises where a video karera machine was being confiscated by the barangay officials for whom he provided security. Consented warrantless search. in his presence. or is attempting to commit an offense. and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs. and 7. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. 5. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. – A peace officer or a private person may. as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated. Conversely. Section 5. Article II of Republic Act No. Upon searching the person of Araza. 6. seized and/orsurrendered. without a warrant. the person to be arrested has committed. Rule 113 of the Rules of Court provides in part: Sec. 4. Araza and the seized item were then brought to the police station. 3. Hence. when lawful. controlled precursors and essential chemicals. Arazawas clearly apprehended inflagrante delictoas he was then committing a crime (sniffing shabu) in he presence of PO1 Talacca. He thus entered the room. Araza hinges his claim for acquittal on the failure of the police officers to submit a pre-coordination report and physicalinventory of the seized dangerous drug. or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. arrest a person: (a) When. – The PDEA shall take charge and have custody of all dangerous drugs. is an exception to the constitutional prohibition on warrantless search and seizure. PO1 Talacca recovered from him a plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance.2. the warrantless search that followed was undoubtedly incidental to a lawful arrest. Arrest without warrant. 5. 9165 is not fatal. Seized. (b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it. And having been lawfully arrested. Search of a moving vehicle. 21. He cites Section 21(1). is actually committing. plant sources of dangerous drugs. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. Exigent and emergency circumstances. the white crystalline substance insidethe sachet was found positive for shabu. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. After a aboratory examination. his warrantless arrest is valid pursuant to Section 5(a) of the above-quoted Rule 113 of the Rules of Court. 25 n this case. Art. there is sufficient evidence to prove that the warrantless search of Araza was effected as an incident to a lawful arrest. which as mentioned. for proper disposition in . effected their arrest and conducted a body search on them. II of RA 9165. and (c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he isserving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending. Search of evidence in "plain view". which provides: Sec. Failure to comply with Section 21. Customs search. Considering the foregoing. the shabuseized rom Araza is admissible in evidence toprove his guilt of the offense charged.

" Here. that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. or at the nearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/ team. "To be admissible. physically nventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused. Section 1(b) of Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. Such record of movements and custody of [the] seized item shall include the identity and signature of the person who held temporary custody of the seized item. (Emphasis supplied) Araza’s contention that there must be compliance with a pre-coordination report has no legal basis since nowhere is itstated in the oregoing provision that this is an essential procedural requisite. He puts forward the possibility that the evidence may have been tampered. the prosecution must show by records or testimony. and the final disposition. failure by the prosecution to prove that the police officers conducted the required physical inventory of the seized shabudoes not immediately result in the unlawful arrest of an accused or render inadmissible in evidence the items seized. Further. Provided. immediately after seizure and confiscation. and/or substituted as would affectits identity and integrity. the date and time when such transfer of custody were made n the course of safekeeping and use in court as evidence. altered. 26 The chain of custody has not been broken. He argues that the non-presentation of the investigating officer and the person who delivered the specimen to the police crime laboratory creates serious doubt that the alleged shabuconfiscated from him was the same one marked. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items. 1. A pre-coordination report is also not needed when an accused is apprehended inflagrante delicto for obvious reason. Araza likewise contends thatthe prosecution failed to properly establish the chain of custody of evidence. forwarded to he crime laboratory for examination. and this adversely affected ts admissibility. in case of warrantless seizures. However. defines chain of custody as "the duly recorded authorized movements and custody of seized drugs orcontrolled chemicals or plant sources of dangerous drugs or aboratory equipment of each stage.he following manner: 1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized." The chain of custody requirement ensures the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items such that doubts as to the identity of the evidence are eliminated. it has beenheld time and again that failure to strictly comply with aforesaid procedure will not render an arrest illegal or the seized items inadmissible in evidence. Series of 2002. or his/her representative or counsel. and later presented as evidence in court. or his/her representative or counsel. from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof: Provided. hat the physical inventory and photograph shall be conducted at the place where the search warrant is served. further. implementing RA 9165. the continuous whereabouts of the exhibit at least between the time it came into possession of the police officers and until it was tested in 27 . physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice DOJ). Substantial compliance is sufficientas provided under Section 21(a) of the Implementing Rules and Regulationsof RA 9165. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. "What is essential is he preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). as the same would be utilized in the determination of he guilt orinnocence of the accused. immediately after seizure and confiscation. whichever is practicable. viz: a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. the records reveal that the police officers substantially complied with the process of preserving the integrity of the seized shabu. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof.

he laboratory to determine its composition up to the time it was offered in evidence."

28

Here, the prosecution proved the chain of custody of the seized shabuas follows: After arresting Araza for possession of a sachet of
suspected shabu, PO1 Talacca brought him and the confiscated item to the police station. The said sachet was turned over to the
chief investigator, Cabrera, who marked it with the initials "RSA" in front of PO1 Talacca. A request for laboratory examination of the
contents of said sachet was delivered, together with the sachet of suspected shabu, to the PNP Crime Laboratory in Calamba,
Laguna. Forensic Chemist P/Sr. Insp. Huelgas examined the contents ofthe sachet with markings "RSA" and prepared Chemistry
Report No. D-2028-02, confirming that the specimen tested positive for shabu. During the trial, this result was submitted to the RTC
as Exhibit "D" and stipulated on by both parties. The marked sachet of shabuwas also presented in evidence and identified by PO1
Talacca.
29

Araza’s contention that the investigating officer who received the seized drug in the police station and the person who delivered the
same to the crime laboratory should have been presented to establish an unbroken chain of custody fails to impress. It is not
necessary to present all persons who came into contact with the seized drug to testify in court. "As long as the chain of custody of
he seized drug was clearly established to have not been broken and the prosecution did not fail to identify properly the drugs seized,
t is not indispensable that each and every person who came into possession of the drugs should take the witness stand." The nonpresentation as witnesses of the evidence custodian and the officer on duty is not a crucial point against the prosecution since it has
he discretion as to how to present its case and the right tochoose whom it wishes to present as witnesses.
30

31

32

Based on the foregoing findings, the chain of custody of the seized substance was not broken. The suspected illegal drug
confiscated from Araza was the same substance presented and identified in court. There is therefore no reason to disturb the findings
of the RTC, as affirmed by the CA, that he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal possession of a dangerous drug.
1âwphi1

Proper Penalty

Section 11, Article II of RA 9165, provides:

Sec. 11. Possession qf' Dangerous Drugs. - The penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five hundred thousand
pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten million pesos (P10,000,000.00) shall be imposed upon any person who, unless authorized by law, shall
possess any dangerous drug in the following quantities, regardless of the degree of purity thereof;
xxxx

Otherwise, if the quantity involved is less than the foregoing quantities, the penalties shall be graduated as follows:
xxxx

3) Imprisonment of twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twenty (20) years and a fine ranging from Three hundred thousand
P300,000.00) pesos to Four hundred thousand pesos (P400,000.00), if the quantities of dangerous drugs are less than five (5)
grams of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride, marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil, methamphetamine
hydrochloride or "shabu," or other dangerous drugs such as, but not limited to MDMA or "ecstasy," PMA, TMA, LSD, GHB, and those
similarly designed or newly introduced drugs and their derivatives, without having any therapeutic value or if the quantity possessed
s far beyond therapeutic requirements; or less than three hundred (300) grams of marijuana x x x. (Emphasis supplied)

Araza was found guilty of possessing 0.06 gram of shabu, or less than five grams of the dangerous drug, without any legal authority.
Under these circumstances, the penalty of imprisonment imposed by the RTC and affinned by the CA, which is twelve (12) years and
one (1) day as minimum to fifteen (15) years as maximum, is within the range provided by RA 9165. Thus, the Court finds the same,
as well as the payment of fine of P300,000.00 in order. WHEREFORE, the appeal is DISMISSED. The Decision dated October 14,
2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-H.C. No. 03164 is AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

JOSE CATRAL MENDOZA
Associate Justice
MARVIC M.V.F. LEONEN
Associate Justice
ATT E S TATI O N

attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the
opinion of the Court's Division.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson
C E R TI F I C ATI O N

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the
above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
CA rollo, pp. 82-91; penned by Associate Justice Japar B. Dimaampao and concurred in by Associate Justices
Bienvenido L. Reyes (now a Member of this Court) and Antonio L. Villamor.
1

2

Records, pp. 102-104; penned by Judge Francisco Dizon Paño.

3

Id. at 1.

4

Id.

5

Id. at 16.

6

Id. at 56.

7

Id. at 102-104.

8

Id. at 103-104.

9

Id. at 108.

10

Id. at 109.

11

CA rollo, pp. at 26-40.

12

Id. at 82-91.

13

Id. at 90.

14

See Brief for the Accused-Appellant, id. at 26-40.

15

People v. Partoza, G.R. No. 182418, May 8, 2009, 587 SCRA 809, 816.

16

People v. Mariacos, G.R. No. 188611, June 21, 2010, 621 SCRA 327, 344-345.

17

TSN, February 18, 2004, pp. 3-4.

18

Records, p. 9.

19

People v. Llanita, G.R. No. 189817, October 3, 2012, 682 SCRA 288, 300-301.

20

Sy v. People, G.R. No. 182178, August 15, 2011, 655 SCRA 395, 403-404.

21

Id. at 404.

22

Id.

23

Id.

24

CONSTITUTION, Article III, Sections 2 and 3 (2).

25

Sy v. People, supra note 20 at 405.

26

People v. Guiara, G.R. No. 186497, September 17, 2009, 600 SCRA 310, 329.

27

People v. Llanita, supra note 19 at 304.

28

Id.

29

Records, p. 56.

R..versus - THE G. Plaintiff-Appellee.... VELASCO.. No. JR.. 595. June 18.30 People v. Chairperson. 607 Phil. JJ.. 186131........ 2011..: .....-x DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO..... G. 662 SCRA 574...... .. 640 (2009)....... No.. J...... NACHURA... The Lawphil Project . Accused-Appellants. 31 Id.. Hernandez. and PERALTA.. RASHAMIA HERNANDEZ y SANTOS and GRACE Promulgated: KATIPUNAN y CRUZ.Arellano Law Foundation THIRD DIVISION PEOPLE OF PHILIPPINES. December 14. 32 People v. 617. CHICO-NAZARIO. 2009 x . J.R... Amansec.... 184804 Present: YNARES-SANTIAGO.

in the City of Manila. pleaded Not Guilty to the charge. Article II of Republic Act No. did then and there willfully. dated 26 May 2008. 9165. deliver. No. Trial on the merits thereafter ensued. affirming in toto the Decision. produced the following narrative: . committed as follows: That on or about January 14. Philippines.047) gram of white crystalline substance known as SHABU containing methylamphetamine hydrochloride.C. CR-H. The records of the case bear the following facts: On 19 January 2004. Their testimonies. not being authorized by law to sell. assisted by counsel de oficio. which is a dangerous drug. trade. an Information[3] was filed before the RTC against appellants for illegal sale of shabu under Section 5. Cruz Manila Police Station 3. in Criminal Case No. Article II of Republic Act No. 9165. 5 Article II [of] Republic Act [No. 02465. finding accused-appellants Rashamia Hernandez y Santos and Grace Katipunan y Cruz guilty of illegal sale of shabu under Section 5. of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC).For review is the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Branch 2. otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. Sta. appellants. both of whom are members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and assigned at the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs Unit of Central Market. When arraigned on 13 February 2004. The prosecution presented as witnesses Police Officer 2 Gloybell Dimacali (PO2 Dimacali) and Police Officer 2 Joenardine Carandang (PO2 Carandang). 04-222804.[2] dated 14 August 2006. taken together. The accusatory portion of the information reads: The undersigned accuses RASHAMIA HERNANDEZ y SANTOS and GRACE KATIPUNAN y CRUZ of Violation of SEC. or give away any dangerous drug. unlawfully and knowingly sell or offer for sale One (1) heat sealed transparent plastic sachet containing ZERO POINT ZERO FOUR SEVEN (0. 2004.R. the said accused. and imposing upon them the penalty of life imprisonment. conspiring and confederating together and mutually helping each other.] 9165.

Tiu (Inspector Tiu). Tondo. Appellant Katipunan told appellant Hernandez. Sta. PO2 Dimacali and the informant approached appellants who were then inside the house. Manila. were immediately brought to the police station. Solis Street. PO2 Napoleon Osias and PO2 Marvin Flores would act as backup during the buy-bust operation. head of SAID.m. and recovered from her the buy-bust money. Appellant Hernandez ran away but the back-up team chased and caught her. the drug trafficking activities of a certain Larry and appellants in Callejon Flores. Appellant Hernandez brought out from her pocket one transparent plastic sachet containing shabu and handed it to appellant Katipunan. went to the house of Larry at Callejon Flores..[5] Appellants. The team agreed that PO2 Dimacali would act as the poseur-buyer. in turn. as well as the transparent plastic sachet of shabu and the buybust money recovered from them. . Tondo. Inspector Tiu gave PO2 Dimacali two onehundred peso bills to be utilized as buy-bust money. Inspector Tiu formed a team and planned a buy-bust operation. the plastic sachet of shaburecovered from appellants was marked by PO2 Dimacali with GKC (initials for Grace Katipunan Cruz. PO2 Dimacali marked the monies with SAID. a certain PO2 Leonard Cipriano. while PO2 Carandang. the full name of appellant Katipunan) and submitted it. Thereupon.. gave it to appellant Hernandez. and PO2 Dimacali. together with the informant. The latter then gave the plastic sachet to PO2 Dimacali. an informant went to the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs (SAID) Unit of Central Market. Manila. Akin na ang natitira mong isa. At this juncture. Upon arriving thereat. PO2 Dimacali introduced himself as a police officer and held the hands of appellant Katipunan. Solis Street. PO2 Dimacali told appellant Katipunan that he would buy two hundred pesos worth of shabu. PO2 Dimacali removed his bull cap as a pre-arranged signal to his backup team.[4] At about 8:00 p. at around 6:00 p. PO2 Dimacali and the informant proceeded inside Larrys house while the rest of the team positioned themselves outside the house.m. PO2 Dimacali handed the buy-bust money to appellant Katipunan who. Cruz Manila Police Station 3 (police station) and reported to Police Chief Inspector Jimmy A. together with the buy-bust money.On 14 January 2004. the team.

and a certain Reynaldo Soriano (Soriano) -. Later that day. When she asked the reason for their arrest. Appellant Hernandez testified that she visited appellant Katipunan at the latters house in Tondo. The males introduced themselves as policemen.were brought to the police station. Maria Victoria Hernandez (Victoria) and Marileth Jacob (Marileth) to refute the foregoing accusations. sumama na lang kayo. she fell asleep inside the said house. but was released two days after the arrest. Upon being weighed. on the afternoon of 14 January 2004.N. the defense proffered the testimonies of appellants and their corroborating witnesses namely.[12] For its part.[6] The prosecution also adduced documentary and object evidence to buttress the testimonies of its witnesses. PO2 Carandang and PO2 Cipriano (Exhibit E). to wit: (1) letter-request for laboratory examination (Exhibit A). She stood up and saw male persons inside the house arresting appellant Katipunan. Avenue.to Inspector Tiu. Appellants denied any liability and claimed that they were framed. she. one of the male persons retorted.[9] (4) buy-bust money (Exhibit D). for laboratory examination. At around 8:00 p. U.appellant Katipunans alleged uncle who was with them inside the house during the arrest -. Soriano was beaten up by the policemen in the said station. she was awakened by a commotion inside the same house.[11] and (6) preoperation/coordination sheet (Exhibit F). appellant Katipunan. the plastic sachet contained 0. She was also apprehended.[8] (3) chemistry report of PNP Forensic Chemist Macapagal (Exhibit C).047 gram of shabu. Ermita. The plastic sachet of shabu recovered from appellants was forwarded to the PNP Crime Laboratory of the Western Police District. Huwag na lang kayong magmatapang.. Macapagal found the contents thereof to be positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. PNP Forensic Chemist Judycel A.[7] (2) one transparent plastic sachet of shabu (Exhibit B). Manila.m.[13] . Subsequently. Manila.[10] (5) affidavit of apprehension executed by PO2 Dimacali.

At about 8:00 p. The dispositive portion of the RTC Decision reads: WHEREFORE. she. Solis Street. that she went to the police station and found appellant Hernandez therein. They were also ordered to pay a fine of P500.000.m.00 in exchange for her freedom. that on the following day. These persons entered through the window. Tondo Manila on 14 January 2004. Soriano was subsequently released from detention. The policemen demanded from her P50. Manila.[15] Marileth. that she looked for appellant Hernandez in her relatives house and in the nightclub where the latter worked as Guest Relations Officer. at about 4:00 p. ransacked the house. but this was not blottered. Cruz.. At about 5:00 p. Thereafter. 9165 and imposing upon them the penalty of life imprisonment. that on 14 January 2004. and told her that they were looking for Larry. Rashamia Hernandez y Santos and Grace Katipunan y Cruz. friend and neighbor of appellant Katipunan. and that appellant Hernandez was not a drug pusher. She reported the incident to the police. from the foregoing. she arrived home but could not find appellant Hernandez.Appellant Katipunan declared she was in her house at 1022 Callejon Flores.] 9165.m. appellant Hernandez and Soriano were arrested and forcibly brought to the police station.. 5 Article II of Republic Act [No.. appellant Hernandez arrived at her house. Sta.000. she was informed by a friend that appellant Hernandez was arrested.[16] After trial.00. while watching television inside her house with Soriano. the RTC rendered a Decision finding appellants guilty of violating Section 5. Article II of Republic Act No. she saw four males destroying the window of her house. GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Sec.m.[14] Victoria. finding both accused. narrated that she lived in the same house with appellant Hernandez at 2109 Pista Street. mother of appellant Hernandez. but she refused to accede. judgment is hereby rendered. because he gave money and a television set to the police officers. but to no avail. they are hereby sentenced each to life imprisonment and . stated that four males entered appellant Katipunans house during the incident by destroying its window.

is directed to turn over with dispatch and upon proper receipt the said specimen to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for proper disposal in accordance with the law and rules.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay costs. II. In the case at bar. thus: WHEREFORE.[17] Aggrieved. In prosecutions for illegal sale of shabu.[19] In their Brief. appellants appealed to the Court of Appeals. the following essential elements must be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller.[18] Appellants filed a Notice of Appeal on 11 June 2008. in the light of the foregoing.[20] appellants assigned the following errors: I. what is material is the proof that the transaction or sale actually took place. the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision affirming in toto the RTC Decision. The assailed decision of the court a quo is AFFIRMED. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANTS OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE PROSECUTIONS FAILURE TO PROVE THEIR GUILT BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. the appeal is DISMISSED for lack of merit.000.to pay a fine of P500. and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment thereof. To secure a conviction for illegal sale of shabu. On 26 May 2008. coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti as evidence. THE TRIAL COURT GRAVELY ERRED IN CONVICTING THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANTS OF THE CRIME CHARGED DESPITE THE PROSECUTIONS FAILURE TO ESTABLISH THE IDENTITY OF THE PROHIBITED DRUG CONSTITUTING THE CORPUS DELICTI OF THE OFFENSE. accompanied by the Branch Sheriff. The specimen is forfeited in favor of the government and the Branch Clerk of Court. the object of the sale and the consideration. the prosecution was .

Q Now. Q Who furnished you of these particular names. sir. Q Aside from these names. what other details submitted by this informant? A The informant gave information attended by our Chief. sir. Pros. what was your participation in this police operation against Rashamia Hernandez and Grace Katipunan? Witness: I was the poseur-buyer in this operation. His positive identification of appellants and direct account of the transaction are clear. Q What time? A At about 6:00 p. these target persons? A Our CI. sir.able to establish through testimonial. who was the target person of this operation? A A certain Larry. sir. Solis Street. documentary and object evidence the said elements. Q Now. Grace and Mia. thus: Asst. what was the response of this Police Commander? . when was (sic) this operation took (sic) place? A On January 14. Yap: Police Officer Dimacali. the poseur-buyer.m. Mia and Grace. Q When? A Personally appeared in our office on January 14. Q So. testified that appellants sold to him shabu during a legitimate buy-bust operation. Manila.. Q Where? A Along Callejon Flores.. SAID regarding the illegal drug activities of certain Larry. 2004 at 8:00 p.m. sir.[21] PO2 Dimacali. Tondo.

00 by Major Tiu. Q What was the assignment of these Cipriano and Carandang? A Back up and arresting officers. sir. Q Now. Q When? . Q What happened next. PO1 Carandang. Mr. sir. sir. what portion of the bill it was marked? A Below the seal of the money.00 bill for? A For our buy bust operation. Q What was that P200. you mentioned about a photocopy of the bill. Q In relation to that bill. Q When was that? A Past 6:00 of January 14. Q Who made that machine copy? A I. sir. Can you recognize that bill? A Yes. Witness? A We were given P200. Q How were you able to identify that that is the same money bill used? A I put marking on the buy-bust money describing the name of our office and have it xeroxed. Q What were the tasks? A Back up operatives and I was tasked as poseur-buyer. myself and I was given a specific assignment. Q What happened after the team was formed? A We were briefed and we were tasked by Major Tiu. sir. sir. sir. sir.A Major Tiu formed a team composed of PO1 Cipriano. sir. sir.

Q Tell us. faithful reproduction. why this evidence in your possession? A I was subpoenaed so I got the records in our office. Caing: Admitted. Asst. Yap: Your Honor. sir. Q Can you produce that. Asst. COURT: Mark them. sir. Asst. Yap: We ask to be marked as Exhibit E. Atty. Pros. Q Where is the genuine money bill now? A In my possession.A After the briefing made by Major Tiu. your Honor. Witness? A Yes. Yap: Show to us the marking of these two bills? Witness: Here. Asst. Pros. sir. Pros. Mr. sir. Yap: So. Pros. what happened next after receipt of the money? Witness: . below the seal Central Bank of the money. I ask counsel to stipulate the xerox copy with the genuine money if the same faithful reproduction. and Exhibit E-1.

sir. sir. Q Where was the informant at that time? A He was with me. Q So. sir. sir. kukuha ako ng halagang dalawang piso. she told to a woman there by the name Mia that Akin na ang natitira mong isa. Q What means of transportation did you take? A Revo car of Cipriano. what exactly did you do? A The confidential informant and I walked towards the house of a certain Larry. Q Now. sir. Q What happened when you arrived in that place? A We approached a pregnant woman Grace and told her that we will buy shabu. upon reaching thereat. Q Who uttered that words? A Grace. Q It was directed to whom? . what was the response of Grace? A Without replying. Q What exactly did you do or say to her? A Grace. Q What part? Describe to us the house of a certain Larry? A It is made of wood and there is a (sic) stairs and composed of two small rooms.We waited till night and then we proceeded to the target area with the confidential informant. Q So. who identified this pregnant woman by the name of Grace? A The confidential informant told me that the person can be easily identified because she is pregnant and her name is Grace. Q How far is that from your station? A It takes about 25 to 30 minutes.

what happened to the P200. sir. sir. Q How about you? What did you do? A I already held Grace. Q What was that given to Grace by Mia? A A small transparent plastic sachet. .00 bills? What happened to it? A Cipriano recovered the money from Mia. Q Where was Mia at that time? A She was halfway of the stairs. sir. Q Prior to your raising of bull cap.00 bill? A It was recovered by PO2 Cipriano.A To Mia. sir. sir. sir. sir. xxxx Q How about the P200. sir. they ran away and my co-police officers chased them. what did you do after that? A I introduced myself as police officer. Q What happened thereafter when Grace received the same? A I gave a pre-arranged signal by removing my bull cap. When Mia heard the word pulis. Q So. Q What happened when she said that to Mia? A Mia brought out a sachet and handed it to Grace and Grace handed it to me. sir. Q How about Rashamia? What happened to her? A Rashamia was arrested by Cipriano. Q When? A After the transaction.

(also tapped her shoulder. when asked and answered the name of Grace Katipunan. sir. sir. Yap: How about Rashamia Hernandez? Witness: This one. because the item that I bought from her was already in my possession. one of the accused in this case) Q Now. sir. sir. you mentioned about Grace. Can you identify her if she is in the Courtroom now? A Yes. when asked and gave her name Rashamia Hernandez. sir. Q How about the plastic sachet? A The same. Clerk of Court: Witness stepped down from the witness stand and approached to a woman inside the Courtroom and tapped her shoulder. Q Now. Q How about the buy-bust money? . sir.Q So. sir. sir. Q How about Grace? What was recovered from her? A None. Asst. Q Please do so ? A Yes. where did you bring these two persons? A We brought them to our station. Pros. Q Where did you submit the same? A In the office of Major Tiu. what was recovered from Rashamia? A The buy-bust money.

Q Please tell us if you can recognize this transparent plastic sachet submitted to Major Tiu? A Yes. sir. sir. Q What is the initial? A GKC. sir. Q When did you put this marking? A In our office. The RTC and the Court of Appeals found . Q To your knowledge. Q When? A When we brought them to our station. Q After this marking. sir.A The same. sir. sir. Q What is the meaning of that GKC? A Grace Katipunan Cruz. sir.[22] PO2 Carandang corroborated the aforesaid testimony of PO2 Dimacali on relevant points. sir. what happened to this plastic sachet? A We made a request for laboratory examination. Q What is your basis in telling us today? A I put the marking the initial of Grace Katipunan.[23] The foregoing testimonies are consistent with the documentary and object evidence submitted by the prosecution. what was the result? A Gave positive result.

concerted action. to wit: (1) when PO2 Dimacali told appellant Katipunan that he would buy two hundred pesos worth of shabu. method.[24] the chemistry report of PNP Forensic Chemist Macapagal confirming that the plastic sachet sold by appellants to PO2 Dimacali contained 0. The prosecution adduced as its documentary and object evidence the transparent plastic sachet of shabu sold by appellants to PO2 Dimacali during the buy-bust operation. This is more true if such findings . (4) When PO2 Dimacali introduced himself as a police officer and announced the arrest.the testimonies of PO2 Dimacali and PO2 Carandang to be credible. gave it to appellant Hernandez. (3) after receiving the plastic sachet of shabu from appellant Katipunan. appellants are liable as co-principals regardless of their participation. because trial courts have the advantage of observing the demeanor of the witnesses as they testify. and community of interests. and (5) the buy-bust money was recovered from the possession of appellant Hernandez. [26] Conspiracy may be deduced from the mode. (2) appellant Hernandez immediately brought out from her pocket one plastic sachet containing shabu and handed it to appellant Katipunan.[27] It is clear from the testimony of PO2 Dimacali that appellants were of one mind in selling shabu to him as shown by their series of overt acts during the transaction. and manner in which the offense was perpetrated. or inferred from the acts of the accused themselves when such acts point to a joint purpose and design. [29] The rule is that the findings of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect. Both courts also found no ill motive on their part to testify against appellants.[25] and the marked money used during the buy-bust operation.047 gram of shabu. in turn. PO2 Dimacali handed the buy-bust money to the former who.[28] No other logical conclusion would follow from the appellants concerted action except that they had a common purpose and community of interest. Conspiracy having been established. appellant Katipunan told appellant Hernandez to give her (appellant Katipunan) one sachet of shabu. appellants tried to escape.

[34] Further. Their testimonies. Appellants denied they sold shabu to PO2 Dimacali during the buy-bust operation and claimed that the arresting officers tried to extort money from them in exchange for their freedom. When the trial courts findings have been affirmed by the appellate court.[31] In order to prosper. In short. This inaction clearly betrays appellants claim of frame-up. for it can easily be concocted and is a common and standard defense ploy in prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. hence negating any improper motive on the part of the arresting officers. said findings are generally binding upon this Court. appellants miserably failed to present any evidence in support of their claims. PO2 Carandang and the rest of the back-up team prior to their arrest and could not state any reason why they were arrested and charged with selling shabu. therefore. appellants have not filed a single complaint for frame-up or extortion against the arresting officers.[32] In the case before us. Aside from their self-serving assertions. [30] To rebut the overwhelming evidence for the prosecution. The defense of denial and frame-up has been invariably viewed by this Court with disfavor. Appellants admitted that they did not know PO2 Dimacali. . They were not present in the crime scene during the transaction. the courts shall uphold the presumption that they have performed their duties regularly. appellants interposed the defense of denial and frame-up. they have no personal knowledge of what actually transpired during the actual buy-bust operation.were affirmed by the appellate court. their testimonies refer only to peripheral matters and not to the actual buy-bust transaction itself. the defense of denial and frame-up must be proved with strong and convincing evidence. [33] When the police officers involved in the buy-bust operation have no ill motive to testify against the accused. However. It is true that Victoria and Marileth testified in behalf of appellants. no plausible proof was presented to bolster their allegations. deserve scant consideration.

(2) no inventory or identifying mark was made at the crime scene. 9165. 21. viz: ARTICLE II UNLAWFUL ACTS AND PENALTIES xxxx SEC. and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs.Given the foregoing circumstances. nonetheless. immediately after seizure and confiscation. the positive and credible testimonies of the prosecution witnesses prevail over the defense of denial and frame-up of appellants. Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. Article II of Republic Act No. xxxx (1) The apprehending team having initial custody of all dangerous drugs shall. or his/her representative or counsel. Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. and (4) Inspector Tiu was not presented as a witness to corroborate PO2 Dimacalis testimony that the latter turned over to the former the seized transparent plastic sachet . Custody and Disposition of Confiscated. (3) the confiscated drug was belatedly marked by PO2 Dimacali at the police station. Appellants also contended that the prosecution failed to establish the identity of the prohibited drug allegedly seized from them based on the following reasons: (1) PO2 Dimacali. Appellants. PO2 Carandang and the rest of the back-up team did not write their initials on the one transparent plastic sachet allegedly containing shabu immediately after recovering the same from appellants. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. Seized. Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). averred that the buy-bust team did not comply with the procedure in the custody of seized/confiscated dangerous drugs as provided under Section 21.

Indeed.[35] It should be noted that appellants tried to raise the buy-bust teams alleged non-compliance with Section 21. Maria. Moreover. 9165 is not fatal and will not render an accuseds arrest illegal or the items seized/confiscated from him inadmissible. Article II of Republic Act No. (Emphases supplied. he must so state in the form of objection.of shabu after appellants arrest. Objection to evidence cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. It is too late in the day for them to do so. Sta. the integrity of the drug seized from appellants was preserved. Thus. we held: The law excuses non-compliance under justifiable grounds. there is doubt on whether the specimen examined by PNP Forensic Chemist Macapagal and eventually submitted to the RTC was the same specimen recovered from appellants.) Moreover. when a party desires the court to reject the evidence offered. 9165 for the first time on appeal. he cannot raise the question for the first time on appeal. Records disclosed that after PO2 Dimacali confiscated the one transparent plastic sachet containing shabu from appellants. the police officers alleged violations of Sections 21 and 86 of Republic Act No. they cannot do. In People v. . whatever justifiable grounds may excuse the police officers involved in the buybust operation in this case from complying with Section 21 will remain unknown. The chain of custody of the drug subject matter of the instant case was shown not to have been broken. the alleged buy-bust operation and buy-bust money was not recorded in the police blotter. as the same would be utilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. This. 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. What is of utmost importance is the preservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items. Without such objection.[38] In the case at bar. we have held in several cases[37] that non-compliance with Section 21.[36] in which the very same issue was raised. Article II of Republic Act No. because appellant did not question during trial the safekeeping of the items seized from him. 9165 were not raised before the trial court but were instead raised for the first time on appeal. he immediately brought the same to the police station where he marked it GKC and turned it over to Inspector Tiu. However.

The fact that Inspector Tiu was not presented as a witness to corroborate PO2 Dimacalis testimony does not warrant appellants acquittal of the crime . Hence.047 gram of shabu.N. Ermita. U. PO2 Dimacali positively identified it as the one he bought from appellants in the buy-bust operation. for laboratory examination. Avenue. or proof that the evidence has been tampered with. and that the latter properly discharged their duties. Appellants in this case bear the burden of showing that the evidence was tampered or meddled with to overcome a presumption that there was regularity in the handling of exhibits by public officers. there is no doubt that the plastic sachet marked GKC submitted for laboratory examination and later on found to be positive for shabu was the same one sold by appellants to PO2 Dimacali during the buy-bust operation. PNP Forensic Chemist Macapagal found it to be positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. were admitted by the defense. the identity of the drug recovered from appellants has been duly preserved and established by the prosecution. [41] Upon being weighed. and genuineness of the said chemistry report. as well as the qualifications of PNP Forensic Chemist Macapagal as an expert witness.[46] Clearly. [45] Further. Manila.[40] After a qualitative examination conducted on the contents of the plastic sachet marked GKC. ill will.[43] The plastic sachet containing 0.047 gram of shabu had the marking GKC as attested by PNP Forensic Chemist Macapagal in her chemistry report. Besides. due execution.[42] When the prosecution presented the plastic sachet of shabu marked GKC.[47] Appellants failed to produce convincing proof that the evidence submitted by the prosecution had been tampered with. PO2 Dimacali categorically declared during the trial that he put the GKC marking on the one transparent plastic sachet of shabu recovered from appellants. the plastic sachet was determined to be containing 0.[39] The latter then forwarded the said plastic sachet of shabu marked GKC to the PNP Crime Laboratory of the Western Police District.[44] The existence. the integrity of the evidence is presumed to be preserved unless there is a showing of bad faith.

we shall now ascertain the penalties imposable on them. Since appellants violation of Section 5.The buy-bust operation conducted on appellants was duly recorded in the police blotter. 9165 was duly established by the prosecutions evidence. and PO3 Alamia. . Not all people who came into contact with the seized drugs are required to testify in court. as shown in the PreOperation/Coordination Sheet made and signed by Inspector Tiu.[48] we ruled: After a thorough review of the records of this case we find that the chain of custody of the seized substance was not broken and that the prosecution did not fail to identify properly the drugs seized in this case. the only elements necessary to consummate the crime is proof that the illicit transaction took place. suffice it to state that neither law nor jurisprudence requires that the buy-bust money be entered in the police blotter. Appellants assertion that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses were fabricated because the alleged buy-bust operation and buy-bust money were not recorded in the police blotter is unmeritorious. the evidence custodian.[50] At any rate. it is not indispensable that each and every person who came into possession of the drugs should take the witness stand. the officer on duty. Zeng Hua Dian. is not a crucial point against the prosecution. In People v. the non-recording of the buy-bust operation and buybust money in the police blotter is not essential. The matter of presentation of witnesses by the prosecution is not for the court to decide. 9165 or in any rule implementing the same that imposes such a requirement. coupled with the presentation in court of the dangerous drug seized as evidence. Article II of Republic Act No. There is nothing in Republic Act No. [49] With regard to the non-recording of the buy-bust money in the police blotter. Both were satisfactorily proved in the present case. The non-presentation as witnesses of other persons such as SPO1 Grafia.charged. The prosecution has the discretion as to how to present its case and it has the right to choose whom it wishes to present as witnesses. As earlier discussed. since they are not elements in the illegal sale of dangerous drugs. As long as the chain of custody of the seized drug was clearly established to have not been broken and the prosecution did not fail to identify properly the drugs seized.

000.00 on each of the appellants. Thus. 9346 entitled.Under Section 5. dated 26 May 2008. Article II of Republic Act No. No. MINITA V. is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.000. CHICO-NAZARIO Associate Justice WE CONCUR: CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO Associate Justice Chairperson . WHEREFORE. carries with it the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500.00).C.000. 9165. regardless of its quantity and purity.R. SO ORDERED. only life imprisonment and fine shall be imposed. however. the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the unauthorized sale of shabu. An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines.000.00) to Ten Million Pesos (P10. Pursuant. 02465. CR-H. the RTC and the Court of Appeals were correct in imposing the penalty of life imprisonment and fine of P500. after due deliberation. to the enactment of Republic Act No.

. Third Division C E R T I F I C AT I O N Pursuant to Article VIII. PERALTA Associate Justice AT T E S TAT I O N I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. VELASCO. Section 13 of the Constitution. CONSUELO YNARES-SANTIAGO Associate Justice Chairperson. Associate Justice ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA Associate Justice DIOSDADO M. JR. and the Division Chairmans Attestation. it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.PRESBITERO J.

Santiago. 440. [18] Rollo. . [17] CA rollo. p. pp. Gonzales-Sison. at 443. [7] Records. 15-22. Rollo. supra note 21 at 444. Bijasa. p. [29] People v. 23 February 2007. 468-469. [35] CA rollo. 556 SCRA 421. 21 November 2005. concurring. G. [5] Id. TSN.R. [23] TSN. [13] TSN. No. 2-6. 288. 3 April 2007. 23. No. G. No.R. pp. [33] TSN. [4] TSN. 2-8. [14] TSN. People v. pp. [30] People v. 22 May 2006. No. pp. 260. Santiago. 204. [11] Id. pp. 3-9. at 9. Santiago. G. No.REYNATO S. [22] TSN. 28 July 2008. [27] Aquino v. supra note 21 at 217. pp. 13. 108-109. 173795.R. 30 August 2005. 23. at 7-9. 560 SCRA 430. id. [21] People v. Villanueva. 18 March 2005. 7 August 2006. pp. People v. No. 147782. pp. [36] G. at 4.R. [28] TSN. at 2-3. 212. at 2-7. at 455. 20 September 2005. 4. 1. 172116. 18 March 2005. 449. PUNO Chief Justice [1] Penned by Associate Justice Amelita G. 2-7.R. 3-9. [3] Records. 179940. Naquita. 171019. supra note 21 at 217. [8] Id. Soriano. pp. at 10. 178876. [24] Records. [25] Id. 2-7. 552 SCRA 627. People v. 516 SCRA 621. [15] TSN. 25 June 2008. 41-47. 180511. [31] People v. No. Tagle and Marlene B. People v. Tolentino with Associate Justices Lucenito N. 506 SCRA 280. Concepcion. 6-7. pp. 21-22. p. 8 February 2007. p. Paiste. 28 November 2007. at 2-3. 515 SCRA 187. TSN. 520 SCRA 458. [2] Penned by Judge Alejandro G. [9] Records. 2-4. pp. Naquita. [19] CA rollo. id. pp. [20] Id. 23 April 2008. 20 September 2005. CA rollo. 27 June 2008. [26] Id. G. 30 August 2005. p.R. at 33-48. [34] People v. G. 18 March 2005. Nicolas. 30 October 2006. 12.R. 21 November 2005. at 224. 2-18. 633-634. 17. [16] TSN. People v. Santiago. [12] Id. p. id. 539 SCRA 198. G. [32] Id. Del Monte. People v. Naquita. Concepcion. pp. 2-13. p. 175326. 170234. G. 637-638. pp. 555 SCRA 255. People v. No. [10] Id. G.R.R. No. [6] Id. People v.

4. People v. charged appellant and his coaccused as follows: [2] The undersigned accuses the above-named accused of the crime of Murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. No.: This is an appeal from the decision dated January 5. 174773. Miranda.[37] People v. p. finding appellant Pedro Cabrera. JR. [1] The amended information. with treachery. JR. 26 September 2008. 32. [44] Records. People v. 566 SCRA 571. Naquita. 18 March 2005. People v. Jr. appellee. at 8-9. accused. alias Toti (at large). 30 August 2005. DECISION QUISUMBING. 34. supra note 21 at 636. 181747. People v. TSN. at 4 and 23. supra note 30 at 441. Del Monte. [50] People v. SECOND DIVISION [G. Concepcion. Danilo Cabrera. [41] Id. unlawfully and feloniously attacked. 14 June 2004. dated August 21. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. p. [49] Records. 30 August 2005.R. of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. PEDRO CABRERA. supra note 21 at 448. 10. [48] G. p. [46] Id. remains at large. No. confederating and helping one another. Appellants co-accused. conspiring. alias Onyong and DANILO CABRERA. 7-8. 2003] PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. supra note 21 at 222. No. Concepcion. Philippines. 1999. in the City of Davao. 2 October 2007. TSN. 595. alias Toti. 138266. 985-95. G. 432 SCRA 25. vs. in Criminal Case No. 18 March 2005. 12. the above-mentioned accused. 534 SCRA 552. alias Onyong guilty of murder and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua. willfully. [39] TSN.R. [45] Id. supra note 30 at 436-437. [47] People v. committed as follows: That on or about November 22. Santiago.R. appellant. alias Onyong. pp. 12. 145348. [38] Id.. [43] TSN. PEDRO CABRERA. G.. assaulted and . J. at 23. 568-569. p. April 30. 8.R.. p. 4 and 23. 1992. pp. [40] Records. armed with a bladed weapon and with intent to kill. Agulay. No. Branch 9. 1995. [42] Id.

Two male bystanders helped her bring the wounded Leopoldo to the San Pedro Hospital where Leopoldo was pronounced dead on arrival. the co-accused Danilo Cabrera. Benedicto Aguilus. Crodua. the accused mistaking Leopoldo for a certain Muki who appears to be their enemy. according to Shirley.. Leopoldo Alvarado. Appellant and another brother. she could not offer a possible reason why appellant and his brother stabbed and killed Leopoldo. Shirley saw the appellant and his co-accused standing at the front gate. Davao City. and she was afraid of the accused who were known hawod in their place. Shirley cried. [7] [8] . he pleaded not guilty. [5] According to Shirley she had her father. Trial ensued. To this amended information. She did not return at that time as she was then eight and a half months pregnant with Leopoldos lovechild. She was told by the police officer on duty to come back the following day to provide the real names of the culprits. She was with her boyfriend. she observed that there was a gathering in the nearby house of appellants mother because it was the first death anniversary of Conrado Cabrera. Dr. Contrary to law. Shirley and Leopoldo were crossing the junction of Jacinto and Quirino Streets. But as they were passing the Cabreras house. Thereafter. she replied. Muki apparently had features similar to Leopoldos. She identified the assailants as the Cabrera brothers. Asked who did the stabbing. a brother of appellant. Pedro Cabrera.stabbed one Leopoldo Alvarado thereby inflicting upon the latter stabbed wounds which caused his death. But she said that it could have been a case of mistaken identity. [3] Shirley Aguilus testified that on November 22. when appellant suddenly came from behind and stabbed Leopoldo.. our neighbors. were there in the celebration. Assisted by counsel. admitted that a certain Muki Yparraguire was the suspect in the killing of appellants other brother a year earlier. arm in arm. after Shirley Aguilus and her boyfriend Leopoldo Alvarado had dinner and watched TV. 1992. as well as several documents. [4] At nine oclock that evening. he was stabbed anew in the stomach by co-accused Danilo Cabrera. Shirley said she saw appellant and his co-accused leave together toward a gasoline station. and SPO3 Josefa F. Arellano Street. Jr. The Cabreras lived only a house away from the Aguilus residence. Jr. As it later surfaced in appellants own testimony. walking side by side. notified by telephone and together from the San Pedro Hospital they went to the San Pedro Police Station to have the stabbing incident blottered. was The prosecution adduced evidence consisting of the testimonies of Shirley Aguilus. Benedicto Aguilus. arraigned. they left her fathers house to return to where she was staying with a sister in Buhangin. she decided to pay her father a visit at 1055 C. only appellant Pedro Cabrera. [6] When asked. Bakit nyo kami ginaganito wala kaming kasalanan sa inyo? Leopoldo retreated to the Central Bank Building area where. Danilo Ledesma. Davao City. On their way coming from her work. Shocked. whom she only knew by their nicknames.

witness Benedicto Aguilus and his daughter Shirley went to the San Pedro Police Station to report the incident. The blotter was presented in evidence as Exhibit C. He denied knowing their neighbor. [10] Witness Dr. a medical officer. doing his job. he presented his brother. Cabrera. He testified that around 15 to 20 minutes after Shirley and Leopoldo left his residence at 1055 C.000. he has a business firm in Quezon City. As stated in his necropsy report.. He testified that he did not kill the victim and that he did not know the person named Leopoldo Alvarado. 1992. also a brother of the appellant. engaged in the buy and sell of home decors. According to the witness. Witness Alaton said he even had a drinking spree with appellant at the Headquarters of the National Equifrilibricum. corroborated the testimony of his daughter. paintings. According to witness Ruben Cabrera. he failed to show any record of appellants employment. showing the events on the night of November 22. came to inform him that Shirley called from the hospital and had requested Benedicto to come over. 1992. [11] [12] Finally. Jr. [14] [15] . his brothers. Danilo Ledesma. In the death certificate of Leopoldo Alvarado. On November 22. Arellano St. Ruben Cabrera. Alaton testified that appellant could not have been the assailant of Leopoldo Alvarado because on November 22. Forthwith. Ledesma indicated the cause of death as hemorrhage. a religious organization of which he is a member. he was in Manila employed as a helper in the business of his brother. [9] Shirleys father. he was at work. a certain Romeo Tambio. to corroborate his testimony. he was with appellant making deliveries. Cabrera. and Ricarte P. Thus. from 1989 to April of 1995. He said that sometime in 1989. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte assured her of his assistance early in 1995. When asked on cross-examination. also testified.Lastly. he hired his brother Pedro Cabrera. earning P1. as employer he had no listing of his employees but he could memorize their faces. a janitor at the Emmanuel Baptist Church. he went to the San Pedro Hospital and saw her daughter crying. 1992. According to him. SPO3 Josefa F. [13] Defense witness Ricarte P. that he was the brother-in-law of Renato Cabrera. Jr. It turned out. furnitures. 1992. She told him that Leopoldo was stabbed by the brothers Onyong and Toti Cabrera. Ruben and Leonardo A. carpets. secondary to stab wound of the chest. Crodua testified on the due execution of the report in the police blotter.. however.. He added that on November 22. To substantiate his claim he offered in exhibit his Equifrilibricum World Religion membership card. jars. he conducted the autopsy on the victim. Shirley Aguilus. as kargador.00 a month. According to appellant. appellant Pedro A. Dr. appellant was in Manila. 1992. As proof of his employment. the day of the alleged murder. Benedicto Aguilus. who died of stab wounds on November 22. so she came forward to execute an affidavit which led to the prosecution of the accused. Alaton testified and presented documentary evidence. For the defense. and other objects. severe. marked as Exhibits 1-11. according to the witness Shirley Aguilus. Appellant invoked the defense of denial and alibi. he testified that the victim sustained three (3) stab wounds.

died on November 22. in this wise: [19] THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING THE ACCUSEDAPPELLANT. appellant comes to this Court assigning as lone error the failure of the trial court to acquit him. the other accused. and a sister died on December 21. JR. Shirley Aguilus. finding the accused PEDRO CABRERA. In this connection. 248 of the Revised Penal Code.Another brother of appellant. [20] The resolution of this appeal hinges on the credibility of the prosecutions witnesses. 1991. [16] [17] The trial court disbelieved the defense but gave credence to the testimony of eyewitness Shirley Aguilus and other witnesses for the prosecution. is hereby held in abeyance and archived until he is brought to the jurisdiction of this Court. Accordingly. the court rendered judgment as follows: WHEREFORE. 1992. he is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment of RECLUSION PERPETUA. to suffer the accessory penalties attendant thereto and to indemnify the heirs of Leopoldo Alvarado in the amount of P50. His immediate confinement at the National Penitentiary is hereby ordered. He points out that contradictions in the latters testimony cannot be appreciated as mere mistakes. Cabrera. Conrado Cabrera. But one of their brothers. Costs de oficio. The case against DANILO CABRERA alias Toti. He corrected Ruben Cabreras testimony as to these dates. but constitute deliberate falsehood. namely Leonardo A. thus impairing her credibility as a witness and the weight of her testimony. [21] On record are the pertinent contents of the police blotter.00. as defined in Art. was presented on the witness stand. . Issue alias warrant for his arrest.000. appellant claims that Shirleys statement on the night of the incident as borne in the police blotter contradicts her testimony on the witness stand four years later as regards the identity of the malefactor. [18] Aggrieved. He stated that the appellant was one of fifteen siblings. to wit: 2145H For record MOC informed this Office thru telephone ICOW stabbed victim rushed to San Pedro Hospital. Appellant seeks to discredit the testimony of the prosecutions eyewitness. SO ORDERED. guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of MURDER qualified by treachery. particularly the eyewitness.. Specifically.

identifying appellant as one of the assailants. Bajada.While at this office the wife of the victim averred that she can identify the suspect if seen again. in her testimony Shirley positively identified appellant as one of the assailants on the night of November 22. The fact that Shirley did not give the full names of the assailants to the desk officer as directed does not detract from her credibility since she had given their nicknames as her neighbors. 1992 transpired at the vicinity of Central Bank. married. his conviction should be sustained. the statements made by Shirley Aguilus appearing in the police blotter immediately after the stabbing incident are admissible as part of the res gestae. 25 years old. AC Jeep Driver. and that her testimony later. Davao City. 23 For the appellee.. Initial investigation dsclosed that victim together with his wife one SHIRLEY ALVARADO were walking along aforementioned place when the unidentified suspects without any apparent reason nor provocation followed them and stabbed the victim twice. 1992. along San Roque St. 24 . According to the OSG. who sustained two stabbed wounds in the left and right breast and left arm. 22 According to appellant. along Jacinto Stabbing In-Ext. Case Ref to HAS. 2210H Returned re.PO3 Ballenas and PO3 Jackaria with members of Wagon Bravo led by Pacumbaba left this station to verify.. he was declared dead on arrival by attending physician. The victim identified as one cident LEOPOLDO ALVARADO Y FERNANDEZ. says the OSG. Victim was rushed to San Pedro Hospital for treatment. That suspect after the incident hurriedly boarded Alpa PU Minica color white and fled to unknown direction. Davao City. He contends that the phraseology she can identify suspect if seen again presents a factual impression that Shirley Aguilus never knew of the identity of the assailants at the time of the stabbing. hence. However. Davao del Sur. the Office of the Solicitor General argues that appellants logic is faulty and his contention bereft of merit. native of Bansalan. is a mere concoction raising doubt as to the truth of her testimony. presently resident of Care of Montajes Art and sign.Peace officers mentioned in the immediate preceding Item 2145H item returned this office with info that stabbing incident Nov 22.

her failure to do so will not impair her credibility. and (3) that the statements must concern the occurrence in question and its immediate attending circumstances. 27 Citing People v. there is absolutely no need for the application of the rule on res gestae. appellant makes it appear that the statements made by Shirley as borne by the police blotter are inconsistent with her statements on the witness stand. is misplaced. 29 30 . Appellant contends also that the omission by Shirley to identify assailants is part of the res gestae. Hence. the rule on res gestae applies when the declarant himself did not testify provided that the testimony of the witness who heard the declarant complies with the following requisites: (1) that the principal act. his defense changed tack and began to attack the credibility of the prosecutions eyewitness. the credibility of the witness. The initial reluctance of witnesses to volunteer information about a criminal case and their unwillingness to be involved in criminal investigations due to fear of reprisal is common and has been judicially declared not to affect credibility. Divina. it should be noted that during trial. appellants defense vigorously interposed denial and alibi. which brings the case beyond the application of theres gestae rule. 25 26 As found by the trial court: [E]ntr[ies] in the police blotter about the suspects being unidentified will not help the cause of the accused. even granting in arguendo that Shirley failed to identify the accused to the police when she reported the incident. Besides. however. It could be that the Desk Officer simply did not consider the nicknames a sufficient identification of the accused and so wrote unidentified in the police blotter because the accused were not identified by their proper names. She was categorical in her testimony that she did identify the accused not by their names but by their nicknames. the trial court continued 28 The rule is well established that the failure to reveal or disclose at once the identity of the accused does not necessarily affect much less impair. Since Shirley Aguilus herself testified. Such reliance on the rule on res gestae. (2) the statements were made before the declarant had the time to contrive or devise a falsehood. After trial. however. it is well settled that entries in the police blotter should not be given undue significance or probative value as they are not evidence of the truth of their contents but merely of the fact that they were recorded. To impeach the credibility of eyewitness Shirley Aguilus. they do not constitute conclusive proof. As already explained by this Court in an earlier case. an appreciable amount of time had elapsed from the time of the alleged killing and the making of the statements at the police station.At the outset. It does not mean that Shirley Aguilus failed to identify the accused when she reported to the police. Besides. be a startling occurrence. the res gestae. and it should have been afforded evidentiary weight by the trial court to show the inconsistency of her statements. Further.

and she feared the Cabreras who are notorious troublemakers in their neighborhood. unmistakably show the intent to kill Leopoldo. however. 32 33 Appellant makes much about the alleged inconsistency in Shirleys police statement that the suspects hurriedly boarded a white-colored Alpha PU minica and fled to an unknown direction. Thus. It is settled. 31 According to appellant. Such perceived contradiction refers only to a minor matter that does not touch upon the elements of the crime committed. sometimes from either partial suggestions or for want of suggestion or inquiries. Such initial reluctance is insufficient to affect credibility. Casinillo: Appellants reliance on the police blotter deserves nothing more than the scantest consideration. the testimony of a single eyewitness. with appellant performing a specific role in the execution of the crime. Moreover. the eyewitness had given reasons why she did not return to the police station: she was in the last stages of her pregnancy. and her testimony in open court that assailants left towards a gasoline station. In the first place. 34 Lastly. her identification of the accused as the assailant should be given full faith and credit. The prosecution evidence clearly and convincingly shows a coordinated assault on the victim. One after another.As aptly stated in People v. without the aid of which the witness may be unable to recall the connected collateral circumstances necessary for the correction of the first suggestion of his memory and for his accurate recollection of all that pertain to the subject. that in the absence of any evidence to show that the witness was actuated by any improper motive. 37 . a vital part of the body. Moreover. they attacked the victim with a bladed weapon. The duo were together at the gate of their house when Shirley Aguilus and the victim passed by. and the fact that two years had elapsed before she was able to execute a sworn statement impaired her credibility as a witness. their veracity. it was not incumbent on the prosecution to comply with the wish of the defense to present more witnesses when one eyewitness would suffice. This matter. with appellant stabbing the victim twice. Shirleys failure to seek police assistance for the immediate arrest of the assailants. We go now to the determination of appellants criminal liability. however. Reluctance to get involved in a criminal investigation is not an unnatural reaction of some individuals. and the location of the wound which is in the chest. was adequately explained by the prosecution. especially when there is fear of reprisal. appellant faults the prosecution for failing to present other witnesses who could identify the malefactors. if positive and credible. is sufficient to support a conviction even in a charge for murder. we find that the trial court did not err in its reliance principally upon the testimony of the lone eyewitness for the conviction of appellant. [t]he entry in the police blotter is not necessarily entitled to full credit for it could be incomplete and inaccurate. Inconsistencies in the testimony of witnesses when referring only to minor details and collateral matters do not affect the substance of their declaration. 35 36 In sum. or the weight of their testimony. The weapon used by appellant and his co-accused.

in consonance with case law. the penalty shall be imposed in its medium period. The victim was defenseless and unarmed as he was then promenading with his pregnant girlfriend. [8] Rollo. Sr. the crime of murder is punishable by reclusion temporal in its maximum period to death. or reclusion perpetua. Leopoldo Alvarado. p. 985-95 dated January 5. Under Art. Leopoldo Alvarado. [1] Rollo. Jr. [4] TSN. and Callejo.000. [9] TSN. moral damages for the amount of P50. the assailed decision of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. 1994 to November 22. JJ. 38 39 40 41 As to damages. 14 (16) of the Revised Penal Code had been adequately proven: (1) the means of execution employed gave the person attacked no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate. p. 24.000 for temperate damages. which is the essence of treachery. 1992 (Records. pp. 1999. pp. Temperate or moderate damages are allowed because. at 7. In the absence of any mitigating or generic aggravating circumstance. Thus the twin requirements for the existence of treachery under Art. Accordingly. clueless of the danger that lies ahead.000. the trial court awarded to the heirs of the victim. and (2) the means of execution was deliberately or consciously adopted.. 34. [2] Id.00 as moral damages.00 as civil indemnity. . [6] Id.000 must be awarded to the heirs of the victim.. P50. He is also ordered to pay the heirs of the deceased. Costs de oficio. p. in Criminal Case No.000.. convicting appellant Pedro Cabrera. 3 April 1996. SO ORDERED. as well as P20. 3-4. However. 55). at 11.00 as temperate damages. concur. Bellosillo. 21-36. [5] Id. 248 of the Revised Penal Code prior to its amendment by Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty Law. 12. the killing of Leopoldo Alvarado constitutes murder. and P20.000 as civil indemnity pursuant to current jurisprudence. while some pecuniary loss has been suffered. Austria-Martinez.Concerning treachery. the amount of P50. from the nature of the case its amount cannot be proved with certainty. in addition to the death indemnity. P50. (Chairman). The original information was amended to reflect the true date of the commission of the offense from November 22. [3] Sometimes Aguilos in some parts of the records. 42 43 WHEREFORE. of murder beyond reasonable doubt and sentencing him to reclusion perpetua is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. the prosecution has shown that there was that swift and unexpected attack of an unarmed victim. at 9-10. Branch 9. 3 April 1996. [7] Also spelled as Moki in some parts of the records.

17 February 2000. p. 31 July 1997. 118. Stress supplied. 284 SCRA 501. p. No. 122283. 325 SCRA 725. 27 Rollo. 345 SCRA 642. 219. 20 July 1998. Balderas. Geral. 24 Id. pp. at 261. 8 December 2000. 29 People v. There is treachery when the offender commits any of the crimes against person. 676. 11 September 1992. 22 January 1998.R. 731. 137-138. No. 11. 21 May 1998. Bato. No. 39 ART. No. No. pp. pp. pp. Reyes. [14] TSN. 509. Padlan. No. 37 See People v. . 125518. 97441.The following are aggravating circumstances: 16.R. 15 June 2000. 33-34. 736. G.R. 14 August 1997. 34 People v.R.R. at 459. [19] Id.R. [16] TSN. 260. 89-90.R. 26 People v. 276 SCRA 470.R. 111286. [11] Records. 292 SCRA 663. G. 290 SCRA 388. 3 April 1996. 17 April 1996. G. 20 November 2000. p. 7 April 1993. 213 SCRA 777. at 66-67. 347 SCRA 526. 66-69. G. 124572. 14. . 31 G. 176. 345 SCRA 167. 16 February 2000. [12] Id. 132123.R. G. [17] Id. without risk to himself arising from the defense. pp. 270. 460. Aggravating circumstances. 35 People v. 333 SCRA 453.R. Jr. No. 22 Records. 790. G.R. Nos. 325 SCRA 671. or forms in the execution. 115555-59. p. 80. at 102. Nos. 106582. No. 30 April 1997. TSN. at 136. People v. G. [20] Ibid. 677. [13] TSN. at 57. 135196. 35.R. No. G. 31 July 2000. 651. 62. 23 October 1996. G. 138046. 93808-09. 111263. 38 See People v. People v. 33 TSN. 28 G. 30 People v. methods. Mansueto.. No. No. That the act be committed with treachery (alevosia). p. 221 SCRA 209. Delos Santos. 23 November 2000. Geral. Oposculo. 32 People v.[10] TSN. 36 People v. Torres. 25 People v. 336 SCRA 715. [15] Records. 23 Rollo. 128-129. Dacibar.R. pp. 134939. supra. employing means. 114-115. Villanueva. p. 535.. Jr. which the offended party might make. G. [21] Id. G. 18 June 1998. [18] Rollo. 262.

p. No. Chairperson. JR. 6 September 1996. Present: CARPIO MORALES..40 People v. San Mateo. January 19. 42 People v. 350-351.) No. 17 October 2001. G. J.R. affirming with modification the April 3. . 144933. Abriol.R. No. 492. J.. G. 2008 decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CAG. Malazarte. 43 People v. 41 People v. Abriol. 367 SCRA 327. 7. 9165 or theComprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.versus . supra. 3 July 2002. Promulgated: ERLINDA CAPUNO y TISON. note 40 at 357. Diolata. 185715 Appellee. Article II of Republic Act (R. CR No. 2006 decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). G.VILLARAMA. Branch 75.A. The RTC decision found Erlinda Capuno y Tison (appellant) guilty beyond reasonable doubt of illegal sale of shabu. No. 2011 Appellant. 261 SCRA 482. No. x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION BRION.: We review the May 27.R. Rizal. Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Manila THIRD DIVISION PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. under Section 5.R. BRION. G. BERSAMIN. and SERENO. 108179. 30215.R. . 123137. JJ.

PO1 Jiro recovered the marked money from the appellant. unlawfully and knowingly sell. The appellant pulled out a plastic sachet from her left pocket and gave it to PO1 Antonio. a dangerous drug. without being authorized by law. The appellant and Maria Cecilia Salvador took the witness stand for the defense. It was at this time that PO1 Fernandez and PO1 Jiro approached them.m. Paiskor ng halagang piso. No. 9165 before the RTC. They . in the Municipality of Rodriguez. Fernandez. Philippines. Province of Rizal. Montalban. Article II of R. did then and there willfully. PO1 Joseph G. and stated her constitutional rights. [4] The prosecution presented Police Officer 1 (PO1) Jose Gordon Antonio and PO1 Fortunato Jiro III at the trial. while his two companions would act as back-up. and when they were near this place. approached the appellant. and PO1 Jiro planned an entrapment operation: he (PO1 Antonio) was designated as the poseur-buyer. PO1 Antonio narrated that at around 11:10 a. PO1 Antonio alighted from the vehicle.[5] They went to Manggahan Street. he then handed the pre-marked one hundred peso bill to her. Rizal. 2002. they asked the desk officer to record their operation. he was at the Rodriguez Police Station when a civilian informant arrived and told him that a woman was openly selling dangerous drugs on Manggahan Street. Before leaving the police station. one (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet of white crystalline substance weighing 0. PO1 Antonio immediately held the appellants arm.ANTECEDENT FACTS The prosecution charged the appellant with violation of Section 5. the above-named accused. the informant pointed to them the appellant.[3] The appellant pleaded not guilty to the charge. he. introduced himself to her. and which substance produces a physiological action similar to amphetamine or other compound thereof providing similar physiological effects. Barangay Burgos. Upon receiving this information. and told her. CONTRARY TO LAW.A. deliver and give away to another.04 gram which was found positive to the test for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride. of July 21. under an Information that states: That on or about the 21st day of July 2002. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court.

[8] PO1 Antonio alighted from the vehicle.[6] According to PO1 Antonio. On their arrival there.[10] On cross-examination. They brought the appellant to the police station and asked the duty officer to blotter the incident. PO1 Antonio arrested the appellant. The police planned a buy-bust operation wherein they prepared a one hundred peso bill (P100.brought the appellant to the police station for investigation. [11] He recalled that the appellant had two other companions when they arrived. the prosecution offered the following as exhibits: Exhibit A the Sinumpaang Salaysay of PO1 Antonio.00) marked money. the police forwarded the seized item to the Eastern Police District Crime Laboratory for examination. the appellant took something from her pocket and handed it to PO1 Antonio.m. He (PO1 Jiro) and PO1 Fernandez approached the appellant. Thereafter. was dispensed with after both parties stipulated on the result of the examination conducted on the specimen submitted to the crime laboratory. approached the appellant. the Forensic Chemist. He maintained that the buy-bust operation took place outside the appellants house. and the confidential asset left the police station and proceeded to Manahan Street. and designated PO1 Antonio as the poseur buyer. and talked to her. PO1 Antonio handed the marked money to the appellant. they brought the appellant to the police investigator. Afterwards. On the hearing of April 14. PO1 Jiro. PO1 Antonio. he was at the Rodriguez Police Station when a confidential asset called and informed the police that he saw one alias Erlinda selling illegal drugs.[12] The testimony of Police Inspector Abraham Tecson. some residents of the area started a commotion and tried to grab her. When they arrested the appellant. they also made a request for a laboratory examination. the confidential asset pointed to them the appellant. 2004. Afterwards. 2002. PO1 Fernandez. of July 21. PO1 Jiro and PO1 Fernandez .[9]Immediately after. he recovered the marked money from the appellants left pocket. PO1 Jiro stated that he was 10 meters away from PO1 Antonio when the latter was transacting with the appellant.[7] PO1 Jiro testified that at around 11:00 a.

m.[15] The appellant further stated that she saw the seized specimen only in court. the appellant denied that she had been selling illegal drugs. She explained that she consented to the search because she believed that the two persons who entered her house were policemen.Exhibit B the request for laboratory examination Exhibit C Chemistry Report No. The appellant testified that at around 11:00 a. 2006. they searched her house. Rizal when they did not find anything in the house. who introduced themselves as police officers. entered her house. but stated that the two policemen did not search their house but merely looked around. RD-78-03 Exhibit F the specimen confiscated from the appellant Exhibit G Police Blotter[13] The defense presented a different version of the events. D-1373-02E Exhibit D the buy-bust money Exhibit E Chemistry Report No. the appellants daughter. [14] They invited the appellant and her daughter to the Municipal Hall of Montalban. and sentenced her to suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment for twelve (12) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years. [16] On cross-examination. in its decision[19] of April 3. They asked her if she was Erlinda Capuno and when she answered in the affirmative. They wore maong pants and sando.[18] The RTC. 2002. together with her 15-year old daughter. of July 21. ten (10) . when two persons. convicted the appellant of the crime charged. the police put her in jail. the police told her to reveal the identity of the person who gave hershabu. Upon arriving there. When she answered that she had no idea what they were talking about.[17] Maria. corroborated her mothers testimony on material points. she was inside her house and lying on the bed.

on the other hand. As the records bore. Montalban. the records do not show that they were ever motivated by any ulterior motive other than their desire to help wipe out the drug menace. Rizal. docketed as CA-G. in its decision[20] dated May 27. performed their duties in a regular manner.months and twenty (20) days. The appellant appealed to the CA. as police officers. 2008. It added that the appellants denial cannot prevail over the positive identification made by the prosecution witnesses. the CA held that all the elements of illegal sale of dangerous drugs had been established.000.00. She harps on the fact that PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro gave conflicting statements on how they came to know of her alleged illegal activities. nevertheless. The appellant also alleges that the testimonies of these two witnesses differ as regards the actual place of the entrapment operation.[21] The CA added that despite the minor inconsistencies in the testimonies of PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro. who. PO1 Antonio claimed that an informant went to the police station and told them that the appellant was openly selling illegal drugs. The RTC likewise ordered the appellant to pay a P100.[24] the appellant claims that the lower courts erred in convicting her of the crime charged despite the prosecutions failure to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 30215. affirmed the RTC decision with the modification that the appellant be sentenced to life imprisonment.[23] In her brief. On one hand. The CA. PO1 Jiro testified that it was held on Manahan Street. She . ruled that PO1 Jiro made a slip of the tongue as there was no Manahan Street in Barangay Burgos.00 fine. CR No.000. and that the amount of fine be increased to P500.[22] Finally. stated that a civilian informant called the police and informed them of the appellants illegal activities. PO1 Antonio stated that they conducted the entrapment operation on Manggahan Street. The CA. PO1 Jiro. The CA found unmeritorious the appellants claim that the prosecution witnesses were not credible due to their conflicting statements regarding the place of the buy-bust operation.R.

2002. 9165 (IRR) took effect only onNovember 27. In considering a criminal case. as the Implementing Rules of R. a representative of the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ).[29] The burden lies on the prosecution to overcome such presumption of innocence by presenting the quantum of evidence required. She claims that the apprehending team did not mark the seized items upon confiscation. the prosecution must rest on its own merits and must not rely on the weakness of the defense.further argues that the police did not coordinate with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in conducting the buy-bust operation.A. he is presumed innocent of the charge laid unless the contrary is proven beyond reasonable doubt. 2002.[27] It further claimed that the failure to comply with the Dangerous Drugs Board Regulations was not fatal to the prosecution of drug cases. Moreover. The appellant likewise contends that the prosecution failed to show an unbroken chain of custody in the handling of the seized specimen. there was no showing that the police inventoried or photographed the seized items in her presence or her counsel. No. the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters with the argument that the testimonies of the police officers prevail over the appellants bare denial. there was no institution yet known as the PDEA. In so doing. [26] The OSG added that when the buy-bust operation took place on July 21. And if the prosecution fails to meet the required amount . more so since there was nothing in the records to show that they were motivated by any evil motive other than their desire to curb the vicious drug trade. we resolve to acquit the appellant for the prosecutions failure to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. it is critical to start with the laws own starting perspective on the status of the accused in all criminal prosecutions.[28] THE COURTS RULING After due consideration.[25] For the State. and any elected public official.

coupled with the presentation in court of the corpus delicti. which states: 1) The apprehending team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall. Section 21 of Article II of R. In which case. and the consideration. paragraph 1.. the object. immediately after seizure and confiscation. the defense may logically not even present evidence on its own behalf. a representative from the media and the Department of Justice (DOJ). evidence must definitely show that the illegal drug presented in court is the same illegal drug actually recovered from the appellant. as shown by presenting the object of the illegal transaction. and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof[. and nothing on record suggests that they had extended reasonable efforts to comply with the said statutory requirement in handling the evidence. the presumption prevails and the accused should necessarily be acquitted. 9165. All these require evidence that the sale transaction transpired. or his/her representative or counsel.A. No. The deficiency is patent from the following exchanges at the trial: FISCAL ROMNIEL MACAPAGAL: .[31] The required procedure on the seizure and custody of drugs is embodied in Section 21.of evidence. No. 9165 fails. the prosecution for possession or for drug pushing under R. 9165. however. the prosecution must prove the following elements: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller.[30] The requirements of paragraph 1. i.the body or substance of the crime that establishes that a crime has actually been committed. Article II of R.] This procedure. No.A. To remove any doubt or uncertainty on the identity and integrity of the seized drug. otherwise. 9165 In a prosecution for the illegal sale of a prohibited drug under Section 5 of R. No. physically inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized. and (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.A.e.A. was not shown to have been complied with by the members of the buy-bust team.

[sic] Q: What is the purpose of holding the hands of Erlinda when you received this plastic sachet? A: When I took the plastic sachet that was the time I held her and after that I introduced myself and explained to her Constitutional rights.] he [sic] pulled out something from her pocket.] our civilian asset pointed to us the suspect. Q: After your civilian informer pointed to the suspect. Q: You said [that] you talked to Erlinda Capuno. what did you do next? A: After she gave me the suspected shabu. [sic] Q: After arresting Erlinda.] Q: Who recovered the buy-bust money? . what did your group do? A: I alighted from our private vehicle at the time and I was the one who talked to Erlinda Capuno. I held her by the arm and my two companions who [were] then seeing me approached me. where did you proceed? A: We brought her to the Police Station for investigation where she gave her full name and also turned over the suspected items[.Q: Upon arrival at Manggahan Street. what did he do? [sic] A: When I gave her on [sic] piece of the marked money[. Q: What is the denomination of the marked money? A: One Hundred Peso bill. what did you tell her when you approached her? A: I told her Paiskor ng halagang piso. Q: Upon receiving the plastic sachet. what did x x x your group do? PO1 JOSE GORDON ANTONIO: A: We proceeded to the place and before we reach[ed] that place[. Q: When you told this to Erlinda that you buy one Hundred Peso of shabu.

9165. 3.A. Do you have that buy bust money with you? A: After I gave the marked money to her[. When we returned we already have the result. even prior to the passage of R. having initial custody and control of the seized drugs. immediately brought the appellant and the seized specimen to the police station. Series of 1974. No. 9165. PO1 Jiro. to immediately inventory and photograph the same in the presence of the . No physical inventory and photograph of the seized items were taken in the presence of the appellant or her counsel.A: Police Officer Hero [sic]. Q: You stated you were the one who handed the buy bust money to Erlinda. who narrated that after arresting the appellant.[32] From the foregoing exchanges. We stress that PO1 Antonios testimony was corroborated by another member of the apprehending team. they brought her and the seized item to the police station. Sir. where is it now? A: We brought it to the Eastern Police District Crime Laboratory for examination.A. A review of jurisprudence.] she picked from her left pocket the suspected shabu and Police Officer Hero recovered the money. Sir. the Court applied the procedure required by Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No. upon confiscation of the drug. Series of 1979. shows that this Court did not hesitate to strike down convictions for failure to follow the proper procedure for the custody of confiscated dangerous drugs. At no time during PO1 Jiros testimony did he even intimate that they inventoried or photographed the confiscated item. and an elective official. Prior to R. Q: Were you able to know the result of this examination? A: Yes.[33] Section 1 of this Regulation requires the apprehending team. [sic] xxxx Q: The alleged specimen you got from Erlinda. 7. No. it is clear that the apprehending team. a representative from the media and the DOJ. amending Board Regulation No.

[39] People v. Garcia[35] likewise resulted in an acquittal because no physical inventory was ever made. explained the cited justifiable grounds.[42] These conditions were not met in the present case. as long as the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team. 9165. Gutierrez.]" This saving clause. shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over said items[. Lorenzo. People. and. however.accused and/or his representatives. [38] People v.[34] we acquitted the accused for failure of the buybust team to photograph and inventory the seized items. Partoza. Robles.[41] where we emphasized the importance of complying with the required procedures under Section 21 of R. People v. Jr. without justifiable grounds.A. and when the prosecution established that the integrity and evidentiary value of the evidence seized had been preserved. dela Cruz. thereafter. v. as the prosecution did not even attempt to offer any justification for its failure to follow the prescribed procedures in the handling of the seized items. The Court remained vigilant in ensuring that the prescribed procedures in the handling of the seized drugs were observed after the passage of R. 9165. Section 21. No. Article II of R. who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a copy thereof. No.A. applies only where the prosecution recognized the procedural lapses. No. We had the same rulings in People v. i.e.. To be sure. No. The Chain of Custody Requirement . 9165. Section 21(a). and nophotograph of the seized items was taken under the circumstances required by R.A. Denoman. 9165.[37] People v.A. Article II of the IRR offers some flexibility in complying with the express requirements under paragraph 1.[40] and People v. [36] we also acquitted the accused for the failure of the police to conduct an inventory and to photograph the seized item."non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds. In People v. In Bondad.

such that every person who handled the same would admit as to how and from whom it was received. The chain of custody requirement performs this function in buy-bust operations as it ensures that doubts concerning the identity of the evidence are removed. thus. The first crucial link in the chain of custody starts with the seizure of the plastic sachet from the appellant. from the moment the item was seized to the time it was offered in court as evidence. it is clear that the police did not mark the confiscated sachet upon confiscation. every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be established. From the testimonies and joint affidavit of PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro.[43] Board Regulation No. It would. from the time of seizure/confiscation to receipt in the forensic laboratory to safekeeping to presentation in court for destruction. Thus. It is from the testimony of every witness who handled the evidence from which a reliable assurance can be derived that the evidence presented in court is one and the same as that seized from the accused. The same witnesses would then describe the precautions taken to ensure that there had been no change in the condition of the item and no opportunity for someone not in the chain to have possession of the same. defines chain of custody as "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.the body of the crime whose core is the confiscated illicit drug. 1. where it was and what happened to it while in the witness' possession. the condition in which it was received and the condition in which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. the chain of custody rule requires that the admission of the exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is what the proponent claims it to be.Proof beyond reasonable doubt demands that unwavering exactitude be observed in establishing the corpus delicti . The . the prosecutions evidence failed to establish the chain that would have shown that the shabu presented in court was the very same specimen seized from the appellant. include a testimony about the every link in the chain. Series of 2002. Marking after seizure is the starting point in the custodial link." As a method of authenticating evidence. thus it is vital that the seized contraband is immediately marked because succeeding handlers of the specimen will use the markings as reference.[44] In the present case.

We stress. As for the subsequent links in the chain of custody. We also stress that the identity of the person who received the seized item at the crime laboratory was not clearly identified. the evidence does not show that he was the official who received the marked plastic sachet from PO1 Antonio. Contrary to the lower courts ruling. serious uncertainty hangs over the identification of the seized shabu that the prosecution introduced into evidence. the inconsistencies in the statements of the prosecution witnesses are substantial. PO1 Jiro and PO1 Fernandez stated in their Pinagsamang Sinumpaang Salaysay[46] that a civilian asset arrived at the . however. therefore. or on July 22. Credibility of the Prosecution Witnesses We likewise cannot acquiesce to the credibility accorded to the prosecution witnesses by the courts a quo. creating a reasonable doubt on the criminal liability of the accused. there was a missing link in the custody of the seized drug after it left the hands of PO1 Antonio. "planting. however. PO1 Antonio. 2002. In effect.marking of the evidence serves to separate the marked evidence from the corpus of all other similar or related evidence from the time they are seized from the accused until they are disposed of at the end of criminal proceedings. We cannot. not trivial." or contamination of evidence.[45] The second link in the chain of custody is its turnover from PO1 Antonio to the police station. presume that PO1 Sanchez had custody of the specimen in the interim. Due to the procedural lapses pointed out above. To harp back to what we earlier discussed. the prosecution failed to fully prove the elements of the crime charged. They. that PO1 Sanchez forwarded the said specimen only on the next day. the records show that the seized item was forwarded to the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory by a certain PO1 Sanchez. Although the records show that the request for laboratory examination of the seized item was prepared by the Chief of Police. Police Senior Inspector Anastacio Benzon. obviating switching. failed to identify the person to whose custody the seized item was given. Both PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro testified that they brought the appellant and the seized item to the police station. To recall.

is not conclusive. PO1 Jiro.[47] Presumption of Regularity in the Performance of Official Duties In sustaining the appellants conviction. however. and informed them that one alias Erlinda was selling illegal drugs on Manahan Street. Barangay Burgos. What baffles us even more is why PO1 Jiros gave conflicting statements in his joint affidavit and in his court testimony. [49] As we explained in People v. Rizal. the conflicting statements and declarations of PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro destroyed their credibility. this presumption cannot prevail over . by itself. 2002. PO1 Antonio reiterated this fact when he testified in court that a civilian informant arrived at the police station on July 21. overcome the constitutional presumption of innocence. Any taint of irregularity affects the whole performance and should make the presumption unavailable. an adverse presumption arises as a matter of course. 2002 and told them that a woman was openly selling dangerous drugs on Manggahan Street. This presumption. We are at a loss how PO1 Antonio and PO1 Jiro could have given different accounts regarding how the confidential asset informed them of the appellants illegal activities when both of them were present at the police station on July 21. But where the official act in question is irregular on its face. the CA also relied on the evidentiary presumption that official duties have been regularly performed. Rizal. 2002. obtains only when nothing in the records suggests that the law enforcers involved deviated from the standard conduct of official duty as provided for in the law. it made their testimonies unreliable. To us.police station on July 21. [48] The presumption. Sanchez: While the Court is mindful that the law enforcers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of their duties. Rodriguez. It cannot. it must be stressed. in other words. changed his story in court and testified that the confidential informant called the police and informed then that one alias Erlinda was selling illegal drugs. Montalban. Barangay Burgos. as in this case. such as the common experience and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the circumstances. Evidence to be believed must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible witness but it must be credible in itself.

we hereby REVERSE and SET ASIDE the May 27.[50] All told. CR No." The presumption also cannot prevail over positive averments concerning violations of the constitutional rights of the accused. 2008 Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Second. Appellant Erlinda Capuno y Tison is hereby ACQUITTED for failure of the prosecution to prove her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. BRION Associate Justice . xxx [it] cannot be regarded as binding truth. The Superintendent of the Correctional Institution for Women is directed to report the action she has taken to this Court within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision.the constitutional right of the accused to be presumed innocent and it cannot. The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot be used as basis for affirming accused-appellant's conviction because "First.R. Correctional Institution for Women. ARTURO D. the presumption is precisely just that . the presumption of regularity in the performance of official functions cannot preponderate over the presumption of innocence that prevails if not overthrown by proof beyond reasonable doubt. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Superintendent. SO ORDERED. WHEREFORE. Once challenged by evidence.a mere presumption. She is ordered immediately RELEASED from detention unless she is confined for another lawful cause. due to the unreliability of the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses and substantial gaps in the chain of custody. raising reasonable doubt on the authenticity of the corpus delicti. we find merit in the appellant's claim that the prosecution failed to discharge its burden of proving her guilt beyond reasonable doubt. 30215. by itself constitute proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. for immediate implementation. Mandaluyong City. In short. premises considered. the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence nor constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt. as in this case.

BERSAMIN MARTIN S. Associate Justice Associate Justice MARIA LOURDES P.WE CONCUR: CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice LUCAS P. JR. SERENO Associate Justice ATTESTATION I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice Chairperson . A. VILLARAMA.

pp.CERTIFICATION Pursuant to Section 13. and the Division Chairpersons Attestation. p. Article VIII of the Constitution. 3-12. CA rollo. [2] Penned by Judge Elizabeth Balquin-Reyes. RENATO C. . Sundiam and Associate Justice Sixto C. and concurred in by Associate Justice Edgardo F. CORONA Chief Justice [1] Penned by Associate Justice Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa. it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division. Jr. rollo. 9-17. 1. [3] Records. Marella. pp.

[50] Supra note 29. 177222. G. Coreche. No. [38] G. 2009.R. 2006. at 6-7.R. at 5-6. 2009. No. 207. 1-11. 567 SCRA 86. No. No. Obmiranis. 2008. No. March 5. In the said case. 2-3. [14] TSN. 8. Pagaduan. [13] Records. July 13. September 29. 10. 2005. 182528. December 16. [31] See People v. 2002. Magat. [24] CA rollo. supra note 29. No. [7] Id. [44] See People v.A. 2009. at 8. No. 182418. September 3. [22] Id. at 69-71. [9] Id.R. People. [16] Id. 3-4. Sanchez. [23] Id. [8] TSN. [26] Id. [47] See also Zarraga v. the Court reversed a guilty verdict for violation of Section 5 of R. 179029. 179939. at 10. at 3-5. No. March 13. August 12. [27] Id. 171732. 2009. dela Cruz. 581 SCRA 388. at 9-10. underscores the importance of consistency in the statements of the members of the buy-bust team. p. 3-4. 95. No.R. pp. 179213. [30] People v. TSN. No.R. [36] G. at 6. No. G.R. No.R. [25] Id. 2008. G. 175832. No. No. October 29. [33] See People v. [32] Supra note 5. People. [21] Rollo. at 5. Kimura. [49] Cario v. at 23-24. 5-6. 598 SCRA 92. at 33-38. [41] G. Garcia. 484 SCRA 639. at 69. Pagaduan. No. May 8. 586 SCRA 647. 181545. 162064. 2009. [46] Records. August 14. [11] TSN. 553 SCRA 619 (2008). 2008.R. October 30. 568 SCRA 273. [40] G. G. [39] G. [20] Supra note 1. 573 SCRA 497. G. 2010. 2008. 2009. pp. pp.R. April 24. G.R. 120-121. January 24. No. [29] People v. [42] People v. 181492. December 10. [6] Id. No. [37] G.R. at 62-64.[4] Id. citing People v. 178757. 2008. at 3-6. [18] TSN. [12] Id. pp. 587 SCRA 809. October 15. 2010. 2003. at 221. pp. October 8. [17] Id. [10] Id. 428 SCRA 51 (2004) and Lopez v. 2003. [5] . although not squarely in point. supra note 35.R. 596 SCRA 350.R. [43] People v. People. at 9-10. at 8-9. [34] G. March 31. G. 574 SCRA 140. [28] Id. pp. 283. 173480. supra note 31. 569 SCRA 194. 406. April 23. [35] G. 149. February 25. [48] People v. 177220. August 14. [45] See People v.R. 173804. Sanchez. March 14. 596 SCRA 257. G. pp. [19] Supra note 2. 184760. 357.R. 2009. 9165 largely due to the conflicting testimonies of the police officers who conducted the operation on when and where the seized drugs were marked. p. 2008.R. a case that. 570 SCRA 273. 2004. 580 SCRA 259. [15] Id. 29-39.