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Special Penal Laws Appellants claim that his warrantless arrest was invalid is similarly devoid

of merit. The rule is settled that an arrest made after an entrapment does
Week 7 Case Digests not require a warrant.

a. People v Cabugatan
b. People v Partoza
Facts: On August 9 2002, two informations were filed against Boisan
Cabugatan for violations of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous
Facts: On November 2 2002, Partoza was apprehended by the San Mateo
Drugs Act of 2002. He was alleged to have (i) illegally sold and (ii) illegally
police during a buy-bust operation. RTC found him guilty of one count of
possessed shabu. During his arraignment, Cabugatan pleaded not guilty
possession and another count of possession with the intent to sell of
to both charges. What happened was that a civilian informant advised the
shabu. CA affirmed. On review, appellant questions the integrity of the
Baguio City police that Boisan was engaged in the illegal sale of shabu at
evidence used against him on the grounds of failure to mark the items
Villacor billiard Hall. Thereafter, a buy-bust operation ensued and Boisan
seized from him immediately and failure to observe the chain of custody
was arrested after he sold shabu to the poseur-buyer for P150. The shabu
as required under Section 21 of R.A. No. 9165.
in his possession was confiscated and after a drug test, he was found to
have used shabu. However, Boisan claims that no buy-bust operation
Issue: W/N the failure of the arresting officer to immediately inventory,
occurred. He said he was a mere seller of sunglasses and was only playing
photograph the shabu in the presence of the accused as mandated by RA
billiards when the police arrested him and his companions. He said he was
9165 renders the evidence inadmissible to him.
a victim of police frame-up and extortion. RTC declared Cabugatan guilty
on both charges. CA affirmed. Appellant now claims that the prosecution
Held: Yes. In illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the elements are:
failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He faults the trial
(1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is
court for giving credence to the [testimonies] of the prosecution
identified to be a prohibited drug;
witnesses even when he had categorically denied the occurrence of any
(2) such possession is not authorized by law; and
buy-bust operation. He also assails his arrest by the Baguio City Police as
(3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the said drug.
it was carried out without a valid warrant.
Section 21(1) of R.A. No. 9165 mandates that the apprehending team
Issue: W/N Cabugatan is guilty beyond reasonable doubt
having initial custody and control of the drugs shall, immediately after
seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same
Held: Yes. Findings of the TC which are factual in nature and which
in the presence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items
involve the credibility of witnesses are accorded respect when no
were confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or counsel, a
glaring/gross errors can be gathered from such findings. Appelant failed
representative from the media and the DOJ, and any elected public official
to substantiate his claim that he was a victim of a ploy concocted by the
who shall be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given a
police.
copy thereof.
In the prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, it is necessary that
In People v. Obmiranis, appellant was acquitted due to the flaws in the
the following elements be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and
conduct of the post-seizure custody of the dangerous drug allegedly
seller, object, and consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold
recovered from appellant, taken together with the failure of the key
and the payment therefore. What is material is the proof that the
persons who handled the same to testify on the whereabouts of the
transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in
exhibit before it was offered in evidence in court. In Bondad v. People,
court of evidence of corpus delicti. In this case, all the elements of the
this Court held that the failure to comply with the requirements of the law
crime have been sufficiently established. The witnesses for the
compromised the identity of the items seized, which is the corpus delicti
prosecution were able to prove that the buy-bust operation indeed took
of each of the crimes charged against appellant, hence his acquittal is in
place and the shabu subject of the sale was brought and duly identified
order. And in People v. De la Cruz, the apprehending team's omission to
in court. The poseur-buyer (PO2 Del-ong) positively identified appellant
observe the procedure outlined by R.A. No. 9165 in the custody and
as the one who sold to him a packet of white crystalline substance which
disposition of the seized drugs significantly impairs the prosecution's case.
was later confirmed by two chemical examinations to be shabu.
In the present case the apprehending officer did not make the inventory
immediately after the arrest as mandated but he only signed his initials court because of the need to preserve their invaluable service to the
once they brought Partoza in the precinct. While this Court recognizes police. Further, not all people who came into contact with the seized drugs
that non-compliance by the buy-bust team with Section 21 is not fatal as are required to testify in court. There is nothing in Republic Act No. 9165
long as there is a justifiable ground therefor, and as long as the integrity or in any rule implementing the same that imposes such requirement. As
and the evidentiary value of the confiscated/seized items are properly long as the chain of custody of the seized drug was clearly established not
preserved by the apprehending team, yet these conditions were not met to have been broken and that the prosecution did not fail to identify
in the case at bar. No explanation was offered by PO3 Tougan for his properly the drugs seized, it is not indispensable that each and every
failure to observe the rule. The failure of the prosecution to establish the person who came into possession of the drugs should take the witness
chain of custody is fatal to its cause. stand.

c. People v Padua d. People v Habana

Facts: Sonny Padua was alleged to be guilty of illegal sale and possession Facts: Habana was charged of violating Secs. 5 (sale) and 11
of shabu, in violation of RA 9165. A buy-bust operation was conducted by (possession), Art. II of RA 9165. In 2003, the Anti-Drug Task Force Unit
the Drug Enforcement Group of the Southern Police District of Taguig City. of the Caloocan City police met with an informant at a Chowking
In their buy bust operation, one of the police officers pretended to be a restaurant in Caloocan. The latter said that Fernando Loloy Habana was
delivery truck driver who had just arrived from a provincial trip and in dire selling shabu on Salmon Street. A buy-bust operation took place. (Alam
need of shabu for his personal consumption. Padua testified that there niyo na nangyari. Basta may police officer na poseur-buyer na bumili nung
was no buy-bust operation. On direct examination, accused-appellant shabu). Habana was arrested. However, Habana presented a different
asserted that he was awakened by the operatives who went to his house version of the story. (Alam niyo na rin ito, ulit-ulit eh.) He said he was
in Barangay Napindan, Taguig City. When he opened his eyes, a gun was only on his way home when men in civilian clothes frisked him, stole P200
poked at him. He was handcuffed by the police officers and was brought from him, and brought him to the police station where they allegedly tried
to DDEU at Fort Bonifacio, where he was detained. While inside the vehicle to extort P20,000 from him. This version of the story was supported by
on their way to Fort Bonifacio, accused-appellant alleged that the police the testimony of one Amelia Sevilla. TC found him guilty of both charges.
officers asked him to give them money otherwise a case will be filed CA affirmed. Now, Habana points out that, since the police officers
against him. RTC declared Padua guilty. CA affirmed. Now Padua is involved failed to adhere strictly to the requirements of Section 21(1) of
contending that the CA erred in convicting him despite the non- R.A. 9165, the evidence of the seized shabu cannot be admitted against
presentation as witness: (i) the forensic chemist, (ii) the alleged him.
investigator, and (iii) the informant.
Issue: W/N the prosecution failed to establish the integrity of the seized
Issue: W/N CA erred. substance taken from Habana along the chain of custody.

Held: No. The fact that the persons who had possession or custody of the Held: Yes and Habana therefore must be acquitted. The chain of custody
subject drugs, such as Forensic Chemist Rivera-Dagasdas and the alleged rule requires that testimony be presented about every link in the chain,
investigator, were not presented as witnesses to corroborate SPO2 from the moment the item was seized up to the time it is offered in
Aguilars testimony is of no moment. The non-presentation as witnesses evidence. To this end, the prosecution must ensure that the substance
of other persons such as the investigator and the forensic chemist, is not presented in court is the same substance seized from the accused.
a crucial point against the prosecution. The matter of presentation of
witnesses by the prosecution is not for the court to decide. The While this Court recognizes substantial, not perfect, adherence to the
prosecution has the discretion as to how to present its case and it has the requirements of R.A. 9165, still, police officers must
right to choose whom it wishes to present as witnesses. Anent the failure show that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized items had been
of the prosecution to present the testimony of the informant, it is well- preserved. Here, however, they failed to meet these conditions. The police
settled that the testimony of an informant in drug-pushing cases is not officers offered no explanation for their failure to observe the chain of
essential for conviction and may be dispensed with if the poseur-buyer custody rule.
testified on the same. Informants are almost always never presented in
The prosecution failed to show how the seized items changed hands, from Issue: W/N CA erred in affirming the RTCs finding that the prosecution
when the police officers seized them from Habana to the time they were evidence established her guilt of the offense charged beyond reasonable
presented in court as evidence. PO1 Paras said that he turned over the doubt.
sachets of shabu to the investigator on duty. But the prosecution did not
adduce evidence on what the investigator on duty did with the seized Held: Yes and therefore Santiago should be acquitted (for her violation
articles, how these got to the laboratory technician, and how they were of Section 5; for her Section 15 violation, she has already undergone
kept before being adduced in evidence at the trial. Usually, the police rehab). Although the prosecution established through Esguerra the acts
officer who seizes the suspected substance turns it over to a supervising constituting the crime charged in the drug-pushing case (Section 5), it
officer, who would then send it by courier to the police crime laboratory failed to provide proper identity of the allegedly prohibited substance that
for testing. Since it is unavoidable that possession of the substance the police seized from Roselle.
changes hand a number of times, it is imperative for the officer who seized
the substance from the suspect to place his marking on its plastic Esguerra testified that he seized a heat-sealed sachet of white substance
container and seal the same, preferably with adhesive tape that cannot from Roselle and marked the sachet with RPS right in her presence. He
be removed without leaving a tear on the plastic container. At the trial, claimed that he then immediately submitted the specimen to the police
the officer can then identify the seized substance and the procedure he crime laboratory for examination. But the request for laboratory exam
observed to preserve its integrity until it reaches the crime laboratory. If reveals that it was not Esguerra who delivered the specimen to the crime
the substance is not in a plastic container, the officer should put it in one laboratory. It appears that Esguerra gave it to a certain SPO3 Puno who
and seal the same. In this way the substance would assuredly reach the in turn forwarded it to a certain PO2 Santos. No testimony covers the
laboratory in the same condition it was seized from the accused. Further, movement of the specimen among these other persons. Consequently,
after the laboratory technician tests and verifies the nature of the the prosecution was unable to establish the chain of custody of the seized
substance in the container, he should put his own mark on the plastic item and its preservation from possible tampering.
container and seal it again with a new seal since the police officers
seal has been broken. At the trial, the technician can then describe the Since the seized substance was heat-sealed in plastic sachet and properly
sealed condition of the plastic container when it was handed to him and marked by the officer who seized the same, it would have also been
testify on the procedure he took afterwards to preserve its integrity. If sufficient, despite intervening changes in its custody and possession, if
the sealing of the seized substance has not been made, the prosecution the prosecution had presented the forensic chemist to attest to the fact
would have to present every police officer, messenger, laboratory a) that the sachet of substance was handed to him for examination in the
technician, and storage personnel, the entire chain of custody, no same condition that Esguerra last held it: still heat-sealed, marked, and
matter how briefly ones possession has not tampered with; b) that he (the chemist) opened the sachet and
been. Each one has to testify that the substance, although examined its content; c) that he afterwards resealed the sachet and what
unsealed, has not been tampered with or substituted while in his care. is left of its content and placed his own marking on the cover; and d) that
the specimen remained in the same condition when it is being presented
in court. In this way, the court would have been assured of the integrity
of the specimen as presented before it. If the finding of the chemist is
e. People v Santiago challenged, there may be opportunity for the court to require a retest so
long as sufficient remnants of the same are left.
Facts: Roselle Tisay Santiago was charged of violating Secs. 5 (sale)
and 15 (use) of RA 9165. The police said that they received information What is more, the prosecution failed to account for the whereabouts of
regarding the selling of shabu by Santiago at her house in Brgy. Rizal, the seized specimen after the crime laboratory conducted its tests. This
Makati City. After a test-buy, the police (PO1 Esguerra) proceeded with omission is fatal since the chain of custody should be established from the
the buy-bust operation. In her defense, Santiago said that the case was time the seized drugs were confiscated and eventually marked until the
a product of a mistaken identity, as she was not known as Tisay in the same is presented during trial.
area but Roselle. She narrated how she was forcibly taken from her house
and into custody. RTC said she was guilty of the two charges. CA affirmed.

f. People v Watamama
Facts: On Sept. 25, 2005, an informant reported to QC police that Alex (3) the turn over by the investigating officer of the illegal drug to the
Watamama (watta name) was selling drugs in Brgy. Payatas. On the same forensic chemist for laboratory examination; and
day, the buy-bust operation transpired with PO1 Vargas as the poseur- (4) the turn over and submission of the marked illegal drug seized
buyer buying P200 worth of shabu. Watamama was arrested. Expectedly, by the forensic chemist to the court.
Watamama said that this did not happen and the police barged in his We are aware that there is no rule which requires the prosecution to
house and told the appellant that if he wanted to be released, he must present as witness in a drugs case every person who had something to
reveal the identity of a big-time shabu supplier. RTC convicted Watamama do with the arrest of the accused and the seizure of prohibited drugs from
of illegal sale of shabu. CA affirmed and rejected appllants contention him. The discretion on which witness to present in every case belongs to
that appellant the arresting police officers failed to comply strictly with the prosecutor. Nonetheless, as a mode of authenticating evidence, the
Section 21(1) of R.A. No. 9165, since there was no proof that they chain of custody rule requires that the admission of an exhibit be preceded
conducted an inventory of the confiscated items, or even marked the by evidence sufficient to support a finding that the matter in question is
same in his presence, or the presence of his representative or counsel, or what the proponent claims it to be. In context, this would ideally include
a representative from the media and the DOJ, or any elected official. testimony about every link in the chain, from the seizure of the prohibited
drug up to the time it is offered into evidence, in such a way that everyone
Issue: W/N the chain of custody was established by the prosecution. who touched the exhibit would describe how and from whom it was
received, where it was and what happened to it while in the witness'
Held: No and therefore Watamama should be acquitted. In all possession, the condition in which it was received, and the condition in
prosecutions for the violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act which it was delivered to the next link in the chain. In this case, the over-
of 2002, the existence of the prohibited drug has to be proved. The chain reliance on POl Vargas' testimony and the failure to present the
of custody rule requires that testimony be presented about every link in investigator and P02 Ortiz are fatal to the prosecution's case.
the chain, from the moment the item was seized up to the time it is offered
in evidence. To this end, the prosecution must ensure that the substance
presented in court is the same substance seized from the accused. While
substantial, not perfect, adherence to the requirements of RA 9165 is
okay, police officers must still show that the integrity and evidentiary
value of the seized items had been preserved. Here, however, they failed
to meet these conditions. MQT

The prosecution failed to show how the seized evidence changed hands
from the time PO1 Vargas turned it over to the investigator up to the time
they were presented in court as evidence. The prosecution did not adduce
evidence on how the evidence was handled or stored before its
presentation at the trial. It is not enough to rely merely on the testimony
of PO1 Vargas who stated that she turned the seized item over to the
investigator who then prepared the letter of request for examination.
There was no evidence on how PO2 Ortiz came into possession of the
shabu and how he delivered the seized item for examination to the PNP
Crime Laboratory. Neither was there any evidence how it was secured
from tampering.

Instructive is the case of People v. Kamad, where the Court enumerated


the different links that the prosecution must endeavor to establish with
respect to the chain of custody in a buy-bust operation:
(1) the seizure and marking of the illegal drug recovered from the
accused by the apprehending officer;
(2) the turn over of the illegal drug seized by the apprehending
officer to the investigating officer;