Download RA 9165 Case PDF

TitleRA 9165 Case
TagsProsecutor Evidence Arrest Burden Of Proof (Law) Acquittal
File Size189.3 KB
Total Pages14
Document Text Contents
Page 2

[Version of the Prosecution]

On 10 August 2004, [Police Officer (PO) 1] Honorio Marmonejo, a police officer assigned at the Makati Police
Station Anti Illegal Drugs Special Operation Task Force (SAID-SOTF), received a confidential information regarding
the drug pushing activities of a certain alias Joker at Llorando Compound, Barangay East Rembo, Makati City. This
alias Joker was also listed in the said offices watchlist of suspected drug pushers.

Thereafter, an anti narcotics operation was planned by the police officers in order to apprehend alias Joker. A
buy-bust team was formed comprising of four policemen and eight [Makati Anti-Drug Abuse Council (MADAC)]
operatives from Cluster 5. PO1 Marmonejo was designated to act as poseur buyer while the rest of the team served as
his back-up. Thereafter, five pieces of 100-bills were provided and marked for use in the operation. PO1 Voltaire₱
Esguerra likewise coordinated with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) by accomplishing the necessary
coordination form which was acknowledged and received by the PDEA.

At about 5:45 in the afternoon of the same day, the buy-bust team arrived at Llorando Compound, 25 th Street,
Barangay East Rembo, Makati City for the conduct of the buy bust operation. As the rest of the team positioned
themselves strategically in places where they can monitor the transaction, PO1 Marmonejo as the poseur buyer,
accompanied by PO1 Mendoza and the informant, entered a slightly opened gate through an alley way where they met
a man who asked them where they were going. The informant replied that they were looking for Joker as they were
going to purchase shabu from the latter. The man asked how much they were going to buy, to which the informant
answered him that he was to purchase 500.00-worth of₱ shabu. The man told them to wait for a while and then called
for Joker. The same man thereafter told Joker that there were people who were going to buy from him. Joker asked him
how much they were going to purchase, and the man replied that they were going to purchase 500.00-worth of shabu.₱
Joker came out from inside the house, and it was at this instance that PO1 Marmonejo took out the marked money.
Joker, in turn, gave him one plastic sachet containing white crystalline powder. The man they met at the alley took the
marked money from him and handed it over to Joker. While the transaction was ongoing, the police officers noticed a
man, more or less 3 to 4 meters away from them, washing clothes. After having received the buy bust money, Joker
faced the man washing clothes and gave the latter one plastic sachet containing white crystalline substance as payment
for his laundry service.

The transaction having been consummated, PO1 Marmonejo gave the pre-arranged signal of sending a missed
call to PO1 Voltaire Esguerra, one of the back-up police officers. PO1 Mendoza, upon receiving the missed call,
together with MADAC [operative Juan Siborboro], immediately went inside the house where the entrapment took place
and assisted in effecting the arrest of the accused. PO1 Mendoza held alias Joker, who was later on identified as

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Accused-appellants question the CA affirmation of their conviction by arguing[4] that the arresting officers failed to

comply with the requirements for the proper custody of seized dangerous drugs under R.A. 9165. They claim that

the officers failed to conduct the following: (1) make a physical inventory of the seized items; (2) take photographs

of the items; and (3) establish that a representative each from the media, the Department of Justice (DOJ), and any

elected public official had been contacted and was present during the marking of the items. Accused-appellants

then contend that the prosecution did not prove that noncompliance with procedure was on justifiable grounds.

They also aver that the prosecution was unable to establish that the apprehending team properly preserved the

integrity and evidentiary value of the confiscated items.

In contrast, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeks the affirmation of the CA Decision by asserting [5] that

the elements of the crimes of illegal sale and possession of dangerous drugs were established beyond reasonable

doubt. The OSG insists that the positive testimonies of the arresting enforcers carry more weight than the negative

assertions of accused-appellants, especially because the officers were presumed to have performed their duties

regularly. It then maintains that there is no indication that the arresting officers were impelled by improper motive

when they testified against accused-appellants.

On the issue of noncompliance with Section 21 of R.A. 9165, the OSG posits[6] that any failure to conform to

the procedure therein would not cause the invalidity of the buy-bust operation and the inadmissibility of the

confiscated items as evidence. It stresses that the preservation of the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized

items is the most important consideration in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused. It then

claims that the marking of the items ensured that the drugs seized from accused-appellants were the same as those

presented during trial.

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In the very recent case People v. Umipang,[7] we explained that the nature of a buy-bust operation

necessitates a stringent application of the procedural safeguards specifically crafted by Congress in R.A. 9165 to

counter potential police abuses. We held thus:

At the outset, we take note that the present case stemmed from a buy-bust operation conducted by the SAID-
SOTF. We thus recall our pronouncement in People v. Garcia:

A buy-bust operation gave rise to the present case. While this kind of operation has been proven
to be an effective way to flush out illegal transactions that are otherwise conducted covertly and in
secrecy, a buy-bust operation has a significant downside that has not escaped the attention of the
framers of the law. It is susceptible to police abuse, the most notorious of which is its use as a tool
for extortion. In People v. Tan, this Court itself recognized that by the very nature of anti-narcotics
operations, the need for entrapment procedures, the use of shady characters as informants, the ease
with which sticks of marijuana or grams of heroin can be planted in pockets of or hands of unsuspecting
provincial hicks, and the secrecy that inevitably shrouds all drug deals, the possibility of abuse is great.
Thus, 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. Accordingly, specific procedures
relating to the seizure and custody of drugs have been laid down in the law (R.A. No. 9165) for the
police to strictly follow. The prosecution must adduce evidence that these procedures have been
followed in proving the elements of the defined offense. (Emphasis supplied and citations omitted.)

Section 21 of R.A. 9165 delineates the mandatory procedural safeguards that are applicable in cases of buy-
bust operations:

Section 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized, and/or Surrendered Dangerous Drugs,
Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors and Essential Chemicals,
Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment. The PDEA shall take charge and have
custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential
chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized
and/or surrendered, for proper disposition in the following manner:

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