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CRIMES RELATIVE TO OPIUM AND OTHER PROHIBITED DRUGS

People vs Michael Madarang

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leaves of 600.00 a kilo and who stood firm against


Vilorias (who posed as buyer) attempts at haggling.

Facts:
Madarang, together with Cirilo Juan, was charged
with violation of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act
No.6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as
amended by Presidential Decree No. 1675). The two
were arrested in an entrapment operation, conducted
by a combined team of Integrated National Police
(INP)/Naval Intelligence Bureau(NIB) composed of
Alejandro Basallo, Roberto Viloria, Eduardo Pascua
and Douglas Abalos of Poro Point, La Union, for
selling Eight Hundred (800) grams of dried Marijuana
with flowering tops to the poseur buyer for 600.00
inside a jeepney. They were apprehended and
brought to the police station in San Fernando, La
Union, where they were investigated, detained and
subsequently released. The Provincial Fiscal ordered
that
they be
re-arrested
wherein
Madarang
voluntarily surrendered and upon arraignment
pleaded not guilty.
Issue:
1. Whether or not the trial court erred in discrediting
the eyewitness testimony of Felix Biwang.
2. Whether or not the trial court erred in finding
him guilty of the crime charged beyond reasonable
doubt.
Ruling:
The lower court correctly rejected the testimony
of Biwang. By his own admission, he was too far
to hear what was being said by the persons inside
the jeepney. His version therefore cannot prevail
over that of the police officers who were actually
present in the vehicle when Madarang, in conspiracy
with Juan, negotiated the sale of the marijuana
leaves for 600.00 a kilo.
Madarangs defense that he only accompanied Juan
and that he was completely unaware that the plastic
bag actually contained illegal drugs cannot overcome
the positive and unequivocal statements of the two
peace officers that it was none other than Madarang
who personally fixed the price of the marijuana

Ownership
and
possession are
not
indispensable elements
of
the crime
under
consideration. The mere act of selling or even acting
as broker in a sale of marijuana and other prohibited
drugs
consummates
the
crime
under Section 4. When Madarang negotiated the sale
without authority of Juans marijuana leaves to
Viloria, he took a direct and active part in
the crime. His guilt has been established beyond
reasonable doubt.
PEOPLE VS. DE JESUS
Facts:
Carlito de Jesus (alias "Carling") appeals from the
decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 124 in
Caloocan City, convicting him in Criminal Case No. C21861 for violating Sec. 4 of Republic Act No. 6425
(Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 as amended) and in
Criminal Case No. C-21862 for violating Sec. 8 of the
same Act and sentencing him to:
(1) Life imprisonment-together with
all
the
accessory
penalties
provided by law-and a fine of
P30,000.00 in Criminal Case No.
21861; and
(2) TWELVE (12) Years and a fine of
P12,000.00 in Criminal Case No.
21862.
The two informations filed against the accused.
The prosecution's evidence upon which the lower
court based its finding of guilt was summarized by
the court as follows:
... Tipped of drug-trafficking at the
Bisig Ng Nayon area, a heaven for
drug users/pushers, the antinarcotics group of the Caloocan
City Police conducted a campaign

thereat on January 17, 1984.


Apprehended on that occasion-it
was around one o'clock in the
afternoon-was accused Carlito de
Jesus alias "Carling." Aside from
selling five sticks of marijuana
(worth P10.00) to police officer
Jesus Nadonga, who had posed as
a drug-buyer, accused Carlito de
Jesus alias "Carling" was also found
in possession of 32 sticks of
marijuana-when frisked by the
police.
Those
sold
by
and
confiscated from accused Carlito de
Jesus alias "Carling"
were
examined
by
the
forensicchemistry unit of the National
Bureau of Investigation-and were
found
"positively
marijuana."
Immediately
after
his
apprehension, accused Carlito de
Jesus alias "Carling
owned
the
crime charged-and even gave a
statement which he acknowledged
before the inquest fiscal.
On the other hand, the defense adduced evidence as
follows:
. . . Carlito de Jesus alias "Carling"
had a tooth-extraction on the date
he was arrested-and, therefore, he
could not have perpetrated the
crimes charged as he was then
resting when apprehended. Carlito
de Jesus alias "Carling" did not give
any statement to the police-he was
merely coerced by the police into
signing a prepared statement.
Fistic blows were rained on him by
the police soon after his arrest-on
the way to and at the police
headquarters. Nonetheless, no step
was taken by him and his family
relative to what happened to him
(particularly the alleged injuries
inflicted).
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ISSUE:
Whether or not the court a quo erred in convicting
the accused on two separate informations (for
violation of section 4 and section 8, art. ii, r.a. 6425
as amended) despite the fact that the latter offense
is an essential element and inherent in the offense
for violation of section 4, art. 11 of r.a. 6425 and
therefore deemed absorbed in the former offense;
HELD:
0On the first assigned error, the appellant claims that
possession of marijuana as prohibited under Sec. 8 of
Republic Act No. 6425 is absorbed in the offense of
selling marijuana as prohibited in Sec. 4 of the same
Act. He, therefore, contends that there should have
been only one charge which is that of unlawful sale
of marijuana.
The fiscal filed two separate informations because
when the appellant was bodily searched, after he
was apprehended for selling 5 marijuana sticks, 32
more such sticks were found in his pants back
pocket. Thus, he was also charged for possession of
prohibited drugs.
The lower court justified conviction on the basis of
two informations by stating:
As a last-ditch effort to lighten the
resulting criminal liability, the
defense tried to convince the Court
that the charge in Criminal Case
No. 21861 has absorbed that in
Criminal
Case
No.
21862.
Considering the gravity of the
offenses charged-taking note of the
ill-effects of dangerous drugs and
the
proliferation
thereof-such
interpretation
should
not
be
countenanced. Use of prohibited
drugs is bad in itself. But pushing,
vending, selling or circulating the
same is worse. Such act is worse
than murder-and the perpetrator/
perpetrators thereof should be

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meted out the maximum penalty


allowable, if only to deter others
from doing the same. Let this be a
warning for those who deal with
dangerous drugs-that the law will
give them the severest blow
possible. Dura lex, sedlex.
We agree with the appellant's first assigned error,
sustained by the Solicitor General, that the trial court
erred in penalizing de Jesus separately under the two
informations:
As the Solicitor General stated:
The trial court's severe stand
against
traffic
in
drugs
is
understandable.
But
the
assumption is that the legislature
will not indulge in absurdities.
Since possession of prohibited
drugs is inherent in the crime of
selling them, it is to be assumed
that, in punishing selling, the
legislature took into account the
need to possess them first.
The
penalty
for
selling-life
imprisonment to death-is already
quite harsh. The legislature should
not have intended to attach a
further penalty of 12 years to 20
years for possession It would be
superfluous
especially
if
the
accused have been imposed a
death sentence for selling.
The second and third assigned errors center on the
issue of whether or not the prosecution evidence is
sufficient to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt in
Criminal Case No. C-21861.
The appellant contends that the court erred in giving
fun weight to his extrajudicial confession taken
during custodial investigation. He repudiated this
confession during trial on the ground that it was
extorted by force, coercion, and intimidation.

The appellant's defense that he was beaten up by


the police and forced to admit the sale of marijuana
is negated by his testimony that he suffered no
injuries. However, we completely disregard the
extrajudicial confession, there being no showing by
the prosecution that there was sufficient compliance
with the constitutional duty to inform the accused of
his rights to silence and to counsel, without which
there could be no intelligent waiver of said rights.
(See People v. Nicandro, 141 SCRA 289).
With
the
extrajudicial
confession
completely
disregarded, there is still more than enough evidence
to sustain a judgment of conviction.
Pat. Jesus Nadonga who acted as poseur-buyer
clearly and positively Identified appellant de Jesus as
the seller of the marijuana. The appellant's defense
is that he was not there at the scene of the crime. He
was recuperating from a tooth extraction. The denial
and explanations cannot overcome the positive
evidence. (People v. Chavez, 117 SCRA 221; People v.
Dondoy, G.R. No. 63728, September 15, 1986). We
agree with the lower court when it cited the wellestablished rule that greater weight is given to the
positive testimony of the prosecution witness than to
the accused 's denial (People v. Mostoles, Jr., 124
SCRA 906).
Regarding the alibi offered by the appellant, as
stated in the case of People v. Dondoy, supra:
it is well settled that against the
positive
Identification
of
the
accused, alibi is unavailing (People
v. Terrobias, 103 SCRA 321) and
that as a minimum requirement for
the theory of alibi to be accepted,
the accused must also demonstrate
that it was physically impossible for
him to be at the scene of the crime
(People v. Bihasa, 130 SCRA 62;
People v. Munoz, 107 SCRA 313;
People v. Capillas, 108 SCRA 173;
and People v. Sambangan, 125
SCRA 726).

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De Jesus testified that he was resting outside their


house at BisigngNayon Street at about the time of
the incident. It was not impossible for him to be at
the scene of the sale of marijuana as it was
transacted in the same street.
We have carefully examined the records and we find
no reason to depart from the trial court's
appreciation of the evidence of the prosecution and
that of the defense. The trial court stressed the
inconsistencies and incredulities in the testimony of
De Jesus, his evasive answers, and failure to respond
spontaneously. It believed the prosecution witnesses.
On the credibility of the witnesses, it is a wellestablished rule that we have usually accorded the
highest degree of respect to the findings of the trial
court, the latter being in the position to observe the
demeanor and manner of testifying of the witnesses.
We give credence to the narration of the incident by
the prosecution witnesses, more so as they happen
to be law enforcers who are presumed to have
regularly performed their duty in the absence of
proof to the contrary. (Rule 131, Sec. 5(m), Rules of
Court).
Furthermore, there is nothing in the records to
suggest that they were motivated by any reason
other than to accomplish their mission. As stated
in People v. Patog (G.R. No. 69620, September 24,
1986)
Where there is no evidence, and
nothing to indicate that the
principal
witness
for
the
prosecution
was
actuated
by
improper motives, the presumption
is that he was not so actuated and
his testimony is entitled to full faith
and credit. (See also People v.
Campana, 124 SCRA 271).
And finally, the accused manifested before trial his
willingness to plead guilty to the lesser offense of
unlawful possession of marijuana but the prosecuting
fiscal objected and insisted on the prosecution of
both offenses.

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All considered, we hold that the guilt of appellant de


Jesus has been established beyond reasonable doubt.
WHEREFORE, the judgment in Criminal Case No. C21861 for the sale of prohibited drugs is AFFIRMED.
The judgment in Criminal Case No. C-21862 for
possession, custody, and control of prohibited drugs
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
QUELNAN VS. PEOPLE
G.R. No. 166061, July 06, 2007

the described premises, that where the search


warrant is issued for the search of a specifically
described premises only and not for the search of a
person, and failure to name to owner or occupant of
such property in the affidavit and search warrant
does not invalidate the warrant. Yes. Quelnan
was arrested inflagrante delicto. In the prosecution
of illegal possession of shabu the following requisites
must be present:
1. the accused is found in possession of regulated dr
ug.
2. the person is not authorized by law or by duly cons
tituted authorities; and

FACTS:
Sometime in 1996, the Police Assistance and
Reaction Against Crime (PARAC) was tasked to
implement a search warrant to a certain Berard Lim
for probably possessing MA HCI (Shabu). The team
was escorted to the unit by the security officer
(Punsaran), upon arrival at the place to be searched,
a male person naked from the waist up opened
the door, which was later identified as Quelnan. The
team presented the search warrant and proceeded
with the search. In the presence of Quelnan
and Punsaran, they found on top of a bedroom table
3 pieces of transparent plastic sachet containing
white crystalline substance which was later
examined as Shabu. The next day, Quelnan was
arrested for violation of Sec.16 Art. III of RA
6425.Quelnan in his defense averred that he is not
residing in the said unit, but he is the registered
owner of the said unit, which he lwased to Sung
Kok Lee beginning May 1996. That he was there
during the search for he was collecting the rent. That
he was forced to sign some documents at gun point,
handcuffed and brought to PARAC Office. Two days
later, he was brought to Makati Prosecutors Office
for inquest and a case was filed against him.

3. the accused has knowledge that the said drug is a


regulated drug.That there must be intent to possess
the drug, which includes actual possession or
constructive possession.
Actual possession exist when the drug is immediate
physical possession or control of the accused, while
constructive possession exist when the drug is under
the dominion and control of the accused or when he
has the right to exercise dominion over the place
where it is found. Quelnan was found and caught in
flagrante when the shabu was found in his
constructive possession.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. GERARDO


ORTEZA
G.R. No. 173051 July 31, 2007
Justice Tinga

ISSUE:
Whether or not the search warrant was properly
enforced provided that he was not the subject of the
search warrant.Whether or not Quelnan was validly
arrested.
RULING:
Yes. There is no provision of law that requires the
search warrant must name the person who occupies

FACTS:
The information charged appellant with
illegal sale of shabu in violation of Section 5, Article II
of Republic Act No. 9165. In the course of the trial,
the prosecution alleged that a team comprised of
police officers was formed to conduct a buy-bust
operation to apprehend suspected drug peddlers.
The suspects have previously been under a weeklong surveillance after the police officers received
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reports about their illegal activities. The appointed


poseur-buyer SPO1 Ramos, together with the
informant, approached the two (2) suspects
LengLeng and Buboy while the back-up team
positioned itself nearby. SPO1 Ramos purchased one
(1) sachet of shabu for One Hundred Pesos (P100.00)
from Buboy. Then, SPO1 Ramos gave the prearranged signal. Immediately, the rest of the team
rushed to the scene and placed the two (2) suspects
under arrest. After a body search, the marked money
was recovered from Buboy and another sachet of
shabu was confiscated from LengLeng. Thereafter,
the suspects were brought to Camp Macabulos
where Buboy identified himself as Gerardo Orteza.
Later upon examination, Engr. MarceneAgala of the
Regional Crime Laboratory, Camp Olivas, San
Fernando, Pampanga, confirmed that the two (2)
sachets recovered from the scene were positive for
methamphetamine hydrochloride.

ISSUE:
Is the non-presentation of the poseur-buyer
fatal to this case?
HELD:
Yes. In a prosecution for illegal sale of
dangerous drugs, the following must be proven: (a)
that the transaction or sale took place; (b) the
corpus delicti or the illicit drug was presented as
evidence; and (c) that the buyer and seller were
identified. What is material is the proof that the
transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with
the presentation in court of the prohibited or
regulated drug. The delivery of the contraband to
the poseur-buyer and the receipt of the marked
money consummate the buy-bust transaction
between the entrapping officers and the accused.

The Court believes that the prosecution was


not able to establish with certainty all the elements
necessary for the conviction of appellant for illegal
sale of shabu.

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First, there appears nothing in the records


showing that police officers complied with the proper
procedure in the custody of seized drugs as specified
in People v. Lim, i.e., any apprehending team having
initial control of said drugs and/or paraphernalia
should, immediately after seizure or confiscation,
have the same physically inventoried
and
photographed in the presence of the accused, if
there be any, and or his representative, who shall be
required to sign the copies of the inventory and be
given a copy thereof.

Secondly, the Court observes that the


prosecution did not present the poseur-buyer who
had personal knowledge of the transaction. In this
case, though, after the poseur-buyer, SPO1 Ramos,
failed to appear in court despite having been
subpoenaed six (6) times, the prosecution did not
even bother to offer any explanation for his nonappearance considering that he, a police officer, was
no different from the other witnesses who were
presented in the end by the prosecution. In Ramos's
place, the prosecution presented two other police
officers, who although members of the back-up team
of the buy-bust operation were, in the Court's view,
not reliable eyewitnesses to the transaction.

Moreover, the testimonies of the two police


officers did not include any positive face-to-face
identification in open court of appellant as the seller
of shabu, an aspect which was crucial to establish
appellant's role in the alleged transaction. As such,
the testimony of the poseur-buyer, in this case
Ramos, was pivotal as only he could testify on what
had really transpired during the moment of the
alleged sale of shabu. His non-presentation in this
case was fatal, absent any explanation for his nonappearance and reliable eyewitness who could
testify in his place.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. BERNARDO F.
NICOLAS
G.R. No. 170234 February 8, 2007
Justice Chico-Nazario

FACTS:
In an Information dated 7 August 2002,
accused-appellant Bernardo Felizardo Nicolas, a.k.a.
Bernie, was charged with Violation of Section 5,
Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, for allegedly
having sold one (1) heat-sealed transparent plastic
sachet containing 0.42 gram of white crystalline
substance which was found positive to the test for
methamphetamine
hydrochloride
(shabu),
a
dangerous drug, to PO2 Danilo S. Damasco.

During trial, the prosecution testified that


the accused was caught in a buy-bust operation
conducted by the team of PO2 Danilo S. Damasco,
PO2 Montefalcon, PO2 Orig and SPO2 Zipagan
through the information given by a confidential
informant, who went with the said team during the
operation. Accused, however, refuted said claims,
saying that: 1) there was no buy-bust operation and
that the shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride)
allegedly sold by him to the poseur buyer was
planted evidence; and 2) the trumped-up charge is a
way of getting even with him because he, together
with his wife, had filed a case before the National
Police
Commission
(NAPOLCOM)
for
grave
misconduct against several policemen (PO2 Joel
Tapec, PO1 Christopher Semana and five John Does)
assigned at the Station Drug Enforcement Unit of the
Pasig Police Station, for entering and robbing their
house on 5 February 2002.

In support of his first argument, accused


claimed that the non-conduct of a surveillance and
the absence of any agreement as regards the money
to be used in buying the shabu and as regards the
signal to inform the back-up policemen that the
transaction has been consummated shows that there
is so much doubt as to the existence of a buy-bust
operation.

After trial, the lower court decided


convicting the accused. The Court of Appeals then
affirmed the decision of the lower court. Hence, this
appeal.

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ISSUE:
Are the non-conduct of surveillance and the
absence of any agreement as regards the money to
be used in buying the shabu and as regards the
signal to inform the back-up policemen that the
transaction has been consummated essential to
establish the existence of a buy-bust operation?
HELD:
No. Settled is the rule that the absence of a
prior surveillance or test-buy does not affect
thelegality of the buy-bust operation. There is no
textbook method of conducting buy-bust operations.
The Court has left to the discretion of police
authorities the selection of effective means to
apprehend drug dealers. A prior surveillance, much
less a lengthy one, is not necessary especially where
the police operatives are accompanied by their
informant during the entrapment. Flexibility is a trait
of good police work. In the case at bar, the buy-bust
operation was conducted without need of any prior
surveillance for the reason that the informant
accompanied the policemen to the person who is
peddling the dangerous drugs.

The fact that the team leader and the other


members of the team did not discuss or talk about
the marked money does not necessarily mean that
there was no buy-bust operation. As explained by
SPO2 Zipagan, since PO2 Damasco was the
designated poseur buyer it was the latter's discretion
as to how to prepare the marked money. It is not
required that all the members of the buy-bust team
know how the marked money is to be produced and
marked inasmuch as they have their respective roles
to perform in the operation. As this Court sees it, the
other members of the team left the matter of the
marked money to one person the poseur buyer
because it was he who was to deal directly with the
drug pusher.

As to the absence of a pre-arranged signal,


same is not fatal to the cause of the prosecution. The
employment of a pre-arranged signal, or the lack of

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it, is not indispensable in a buy-bust operation. What


determines if there was, indeed, a sale of dangerous
drugs is proof of the concurrence of all the elements
of the offense. A buy-bust operation is a form of
entrapment which has repeatedly been accepted to
be a valid means of arresting violators of the
Dangerous Drugs Law. The elements necessary for
the prosecution of illegal sale of drugs are (1) the
identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and
consideration; and (2) the delivery of the thing sold
and the payment therefore. What is material to the
prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the
proof that the transaction or sale actually took place,
coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of
corpus delicti. In the case under consideration, all
these elements have been established.

According to Pimentel, the Constitution only


prescribes a maximum of five (5) qualifications for
one to be a candidate for, elected to, and be a
member of the Senate. He says that both the
Congress and COMELEC, by requiring, via RA 9165
and Resolution No. 6486, a senatorial aspirant,
among other candidates, to undergo a mandatory
drug test, create an additional qualification that all
candidates for senator must first be certified as drug
free. He adds that there is no provision in the
Constitution authorizing the Congress or COMELEC to
expand the qualification requirements of candidates
for senator.
ISSUE: Whether or not Sec 36 of RA 9165 and
Resolution 6486 are constitutional.

SOCIAL JUSTICE SOCIETY vs. DANGEROUS


DRUGS BOARD and PDEA, G.R. NO. 157870
FACTS: In 2002, Republic Act No. 9165 or
the Comprehensive
Dangerous
Drugs
Act
of
2002 was implemented. Section 36 thereof requires
mandatory drug testing of candidates for public
office, students of secondary and tertiary schools,
officers and employees of public and private offices,
and persons charged before the prosecutors office
with certain offenses.
In December 2003, COMELEC issued Resolution No.
6486, prescribing the rules and regulations on the
mandatory drug testing of candidates for public
office in connection with the May 10, 2004
synchronized national and local elections. Aquilino
Pimentel, Jr., a senator and a candidate for reelection in the May elections, filed a Petition for
Certiorari and Prohibition under Rule 65. In it, he
seeks (1) to nullify Sec. 36(g) of RA 9165 and
COMELEC Resolution No. 6486 dated December 23,
2003 for being unconstitutional in that they impose a
qualification for candidates for senators in addition to
those already provided for in the 1987 Constitution;
and (2) to enjoin the COMELEC from implementing
Resolution No. 6486.

HELD:
No. Pimentels
contention
is
valid.
Accordingly, Sec. 36 of RA 9165 is unconstitutional.
It is basic that if a law or an administrative rule
violates any norm of the Constitution, that issuance
is null and void and has no effect. The Constitution is
the basic law to which all laws must conform; no act
shall be valid if it conflicts with the Constitution. In
the discharge of their defined functions, the three
departments of government have no choice but to
yield obedience to the commands of the
Constitution. Whatever limits it imposes must be
observed.
The provision [n]o person elected to any public
office shall enter upon the duties of his office until he
has undergone mandatory drug test is not tenable
as it enlarges the qualifications. COMELEC cannot, in
the guise of enforcing and administering election
laws or promulgating rules and regulations to
implement Sec. 36, validly impose qualifications on
candidates for senator in addition to what the
Constitution prescribes. If Congress cannot require a
candidate for senator to meet such additional
qualification, the COMELEC, to be sure, is also
without such power. The right of a citizen in the
democratic process of election should not be
defeated by unwarranted impositions of requirement
not otherwise specified in the Constitution.

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