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PEOPLE vs CABUGATAN FACTS: Cabugatan was convicted with violation of Comprehensive dangerous drugs act of 2002 Caught through

ugh buy-bust operation Appellant claims that the prosecution failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. He faults the trial court for giving "full faith and credence to the [testimonies of the prosecution witnesses" even when he had categorically denied the occurrence of any buy-bust operation. He also assails his arrest by the !aguio City "olice as it was carried out without a valid warrant. As his arrest was illegal# it follows that the search conducted by the police upon his person was similarly unlawful.

ISSUE: HELD: $n the prosecution of offenses involving this provision of the statute# it is necessary that the following elements be established% o o &'( the identity of the buyer and seller# ob)ect# and consideration* and &2( the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefore.

+hat is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs is the proof that the transaction or sale actually too, place# coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti.

$n this case# all the elements of the crime have been sufficiently established. -he witnesses for the prosecution were able to prove that the buy-bust operation indeed too, place and the shabu sub)ect of the sale was brought and duly identified in court. -he poseur-buyer &".2 /el-ong( positively identified appellant as the one who sold to him a pac,et of white crystalline substance which was later confirmed by two chemical e0aminations to be shabu.

appellant could not offer any viable defense e0cept to claim that he was a victim of frame-up and e0tortion by the police officers. However# li,e alibi# we view the defense of frame-up with disfavor as it can easily be concocted and is commonly used as a standard line of defense in most prosecutions arising from illegal sale of drugs. 1or the claim of frame-up to prosper# the defense must present clear and convincing evidence to overcome the presumption that the arresting policemen performed their duties in a regular and proper manner. Appellant failed to substantiate his claim that he was an unfortunate prey to a supposed ploy concocted by the police. !y all indications# he did not ,now anyone of the members of the buy-bust team which apprehended him. -here was# therefore# no motive for them to frame him up. Absent any proof of motive to falsely accuse him of such a grave offense# the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty and the findings of the trial court with respect to the credibility of witnesses shall prevail over appellant2s bare allegation that he was framed- up. $n other words# the categorical

and convincing testimonies of the policemen# bac,ed up by physical evidence# overcome the unsubstantiated claim of ill-motive by appellant. $n this )urisdiction# the conduct of buy-bust operation is a common and accepted mode of apprehending those involved in illegal sale of prohibited or regulated drugs. $t has been proven to be an effective way of unveiling the identities of drug dealers and of luring them out of obscurity. -hus# unless the defense could persuade us otherwise# we are inclined to confer full credit and faith to the testimonies of the members of the buy-bust team as regards the conduct of their operation.

Section 98, Article III o! "e#$%lic Act No& 9'() e*#ressl+ #rovi,es !or t-e li.ite, /##lic/tion o! t-e #rovisions o! t-e "evise, Pen/l Co,e on s/i, l/0&

T-is section re/,s: SEC& 98& Li.ite, A##lic/%ilit+ o! t-e "evise, Pen/l Co,e& 1 Not0it-st/n,in2 /n+ l/0, r$le or re2$l/tion to t-e contr/r+, t-e #rovisions o! t-e "evise, Pen/l Co,e 3Act No& 48')5, /s /.en,e,, s-/ll not /##l+ to t-e #rovisions o! t-is Act, e*ce#t in t-e c/se o! .inor o!!en,ers& 6-ere t-e o!!en,er is / .inor, t-e #en/lt+ !or /cts #$nis-/%le %+ li!e i.#rison.ent to ,e/t- #rovi,e, -erein s-/ll %e recl$sion #er#et$/ to ,e/t-&

Un,er t-e /!ores/i, section, t-e #rovisions o! t-e "evise, Pen/l Co,e s-/ll no lon2er /##l+ to t-e #rovisions o! "e#$%lic Act No& 9'() e*ce#t 0-en t-e o!!en,er is / .inor& T-$s, Article (4375 o! t-e "evise, Pen/l Co,e s-/ll not %e $se, in t-e ,eter.in/tion o! t-e #en/lt+ to %e i.#ose, on t-e /cc$se,& Since Section 98 o! t-e s/i, l/0 cont/ins t-e 0or, 8s-/ll,8 t-e non9/##lic/%ilit+ o! t-e "evise, Pen/l Co,e #rovisions is ./n,/tor+, s$%:ect onl+ to t-e e*ce#tion in c/se t-e o!!en,er is / .inor& 6it- t-e /,vent o! "e#$%lic Act No& 9'(), t-e Co$rts, in ,eter.inin2 t-e /##ro#ri/te .ini.$. /n, ./*i.$. o! t-e #en/lt+ to %e .ete, o$t to o!!en,ers, s-/ll %e 2$i,e, solel+ %+ t-e #ertinent #/rt o! t-e In,eter.in/te Sentence L/0

ta,ing into account the circumstances attendant in the commission of the offense# are given discretion to impose either life imprisonment or death# and the fine as provided for by law. $n light# however# of the effectivity of 3epublic Act 4o. 5678 entitled# "An Act "rohibiting the $mposition of /eath "enalty in the "hilippines#" the imposition of the supreme penalty of death shall only be life imprisonment and fine. Hence# the penalty of life imprisonment imposed on appellant in Criminal Case 4o. 2077'-3 is proper. +e# however# find the fine of "'#000#000.00 to be e0cessive and hereby reduce the same to "900#000.00 considering that the records do not reveal any prior arrest or conviction of appellant for a drug- related offense.