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Republic of the Philippines

NATIONAL CAPITAL JUDICIAL REGION


REGIONAL TRIAL COURT
Branch 2
Las Pinas City

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,


Plaintiff,
CRIM. CASE NO.
-versus- R-LLP-18-XXXXX-
CR
AAA, BBB, CCC, All Minors aged
14, 16, and 17, respectively
Accused.
x----------------------------------x

DECISION
The Case

This is a criminal case for illegal possession of dangerous


drugs under Section 13, Article II of Republic Act 9165,
otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of
2002, as amended by Republic Act 10640.

The Evidence for the Prosecution

One unassuming night somewhere in Las Piñas City,


Policeman-Arresting Officer assigned at the Las Piñas City
Police Station caught in flagrante delicto three youngsters
smoking marijuana along an alley. Policeman-Arresting
Officer arrested the three and further found 20 grams of
marijuana in their possession.

Policeman-Arresting Officer then brought the three


suspects to the police station. There the Investigating Officer
received the evidence, including the 20 grams of marijuana
found in possession of the three suspects and conducted the
investigation. After which, the drug items were brought to the
PNP Crime Laboratory. There, the Forensic Chemist received
the drug items and tested them and confirmed they were Commented [Office1]: The manner this was written, more
of “antecedent facts” than evid of prosec.
indeed marijuana.
I suggest unahin mo facts, then evid of prosec, evid of
accused
Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
x-------------------------------x

The Evidence for the Defense

The Defense presented each of the accused’s mother, Commented [Office2]: infra

who testified that the accused AAA, BBB, and CCC were aged
fourteen (14), sixteen (16), and seventeen (17) years old,
respectively. The three accused were also presented and each
denied the charges brought against them, testifying that the
cigarettes they were smoking were altered with marijuana.

The Issues

The issues before this Court are the following: (1)


Whether or not the three accused were guilty of violation of
Section 13, Article II of Republic Act 9165, or the
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, as amended by
Republic Act 10640; and should they be found guilty, (2)
Whether or not they should be meted with the penalties,
considering their minority. Commented [Office3]: May special treatment si juvenile
welfare act sa mga bata

e.g
they must not be called accused but children in conflict with
The Court’s Ruling the law

For me isa lang ang issu #1, just phrase it accordingly


The Prosecution was able to prove the guilt of the
accused beyond reasonable doubt for violation of Section 13, Commented [Office4]: See supra
Article II, Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive
Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The provision reads:

Section 13. Possession of Dangerous Drugs During


Parties, Social Gatherings or Meetings. – Any person found Commented [Office5]: Wala ka ruling on use, this case is
both use and possession based sa allegation
possessing any dangerous drug during a party, or at a social
gathering or meeting, or in the proximate company of at
least two (2) persons, shall suffer the maximum penalties
provided for in Section 11 of this Act, regardless of the
quantity and purity of such dangerous drugs.

The elements for the illegal possession of dangerous Commented [Office6]: Use jurisprudence as basis for
elements
drugs under Section 13, Article II, of Republic Act 9165 are:

(1) possession by the accused of an item or object


identified to be a prohibited or dangerous drug;

(2) such possession is not authorized by law;

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
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(3) the free and conscious possession of the drug by the
accused;

(4) the accused possessed the prohibited drug or


dangerous drug during a social gathering or meeting, or in the
company of at least two persons.1

All the elements are present in this case. Commented [Office7]: How? Isa isa

Warrantless Arrest and Search


Incident to the Warrantless
Arrest Leading to the Seizure
of Dangerous Drugs Valid Commented [Office8]: I suggest ito ay “Search incidental to
warrantless arrest” lang

It must be pointed out at the onset that what transpired


was a warrantless arrest, when, without any inkling he would
chance upon the three accused at an alley on a nighttime, the
policeman-arresting officer saw them smoking what was
believed by him to be marijuana. Then and there, the police- Commented [Office9]: Run-on, improve

arresting officer arrested the three accused, and, as an


incident to an arrest, made a search, which yielded the twenty Commented [Office10]: Performed a search

(20) grams of marijuana that is now the corpus delicti of this


criminal action for illegal possession of dangerous drugs in the
proximate company of at least two persons. Commented [Office11]: Sa testimony ba ni police galling
yan?

Section 5(a), Rule 113, of the Revised Rules of Criminal


Procedure authorizes the arrest without a warrant of a person
caught in flagrante delicto, to wit: Commented [Office12]: If ako to, cite ko jurisprudence
citing R113

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested


has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to
commit an offense;

xxx --- xxx --- xxx


Commented [Office13]: In making block quotations, maybe
follow format of Philippine Manual of Legal Citation ata na
For a warrantless arrest of a person caught in flagrante booklet, may PDF file ata sa internet
delicto under the above provision to be valid, two requisites
must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an Commented [Office14]: The validity of an inflagrante
delicto warrantless arrest is found upon the concurrence of
overt act indicating that he has just committed, is actually these two requisites:
committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; and (2) such
overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the Commented [Office15]: Sakto ba to? Pls recheck, if
paraphrased mo
arresting officer.2
Commented [Office16]: I suggest you follow manual of
legal citations in citing. Pero form naman I guess is
secondary lang
1
People v. Pavia, G.R. No. 202687, 14 January 2015
2
People v. Racho, G.R. No. 186529, 3 August 2010

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
x-------------------------------x
The warrantless arrest being valid, the search that
proceeded thereafter, which yielded to the discovery of the
twenty (20) grams of marijuana, was also valid.

Section 13, Rule 126, of the Rules of Court provides:

Section 13. Search incident to lawful arrest. - A person


lawfully arrested may be searched for dangerous weapons
or anything which may have been used or constitute proof
in the commission of an offense without a search warrant.

Thus, the seizure of the twenty (20) grams of marijuana


was valid, as an incident of the lawful warrantless search
made after a lawful warrantless arrest. Commented [Office17]: This is just major premise and
conclusion, hindi malinaw na nailatag minor premise

Defense of Frame-Up Did Not


Overcome Presumption of
Regularity of Performance of
Official Duty

In any criminal prosecution, the defenses of denial and


frame-up, like alibi, are considered weak defenses and have
been invariably viewed by the courts with disfavor for they
can just as easily be concocted but are difficult to prove.
Negative in their nature, bare denials and accusations of
frame-up cannot, as a rule, prevail over the affirmative
testimonies of truthful witnesses.3

Thus, the accused’s claim of defense of frame-up - that


the cigarettes were altered with marijuana - cannot be
sustained to overcome the presumption of regularity accorded
by law to public officers in the performance of duty.

The defense of frame-up or denial in drug cases requires


strong and convincing evidence because of the presumption
that the law enforcement agencies acted in the regular
performance of their official duties.4

In order to overcome the presumption of regularity,


jurisprudence teaches us that there must be clear and

3
People v. Pasion, G.R. No. 203026, 28 January 2015
4
People v. Cerdon, G.R. No. 201111, 6 August 2014

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
x-------------------------------x
convincing evidence that the police officers did not properly
perform their duties or that they were prompted with ill
motive.5

Consequently, in the absence of clear and convincing


evidence that the police officers were inspired by any
improper motive, this Court will not appreciate the defense of
denial or frame-up and instead apply the presumption of
regularity in the performance of official duty by law
enforcement agents.6

The Rule on Chain of Custody


Was Substantially Complied Commented [Office18]: Recheck

According sa testimonies mga police complied with ba, if yes


In turn, this presumption of regularity is anchored on the then no prob.

proper performance of the police officers of their official duty. Pero I think, not.
In drug-related cases, that presumption of regularity can only So dapat may justifications, etc why not comploied with.
arise if the police officers faithfully observed the chain of Discuss this saka pa lang papasok si substantial compliance.
custody rule, as demanded by Section 21, Article II, of If ako magrule, acquit ko yan. Kasi not complied with, tapos
Republic Act 9165. Thus, in People v. Barte,7 the Supreme no justification sa testimony.

Court acquitted the accused for failure by the police officers


to observe the procedure outlined in Section 21, Article II, of
Republic Act 9165, thereby rendering inapplicable the
presumption of regularity to the acts of the police officers.

Section 21, Article II, of Republic Act 9165, as amended


by Republic Act 10640 reads:

SEC. 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:

(1) The apprehending team having initial custody and


control of the dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and
essential chemicals, instruments/paraphernalia and/or
laboratory equipment shall, immediately after seizure and

5
Pasion, Supra, Note 3
6
People v. Pavia, G.R. No. 202687, 14 January 2015
7
G.R. No. 179749, 1 March 2017

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
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confiscation, conduct a physical inventory of the seized
items and photograph the same in the presence of the
accused or the person/s from whom such items were
confiscated and/or seized, or his/her representative or
counsel, with an elected public official and a representative
of the National Prosecution Service or the media who shall
be required to sign the copies of the inventory and be given
a copy thereof: Provided, That the physical inventory and
photograph shall be conducted at the place where the
search warrant is served; or at the nearest police station or
at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team,
whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless
seizures: Provided, finally, That noncompliance of these
requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the
integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items are
properly preserved by the apprehending officer/team, shall
not render void and invalid such seizures and custody over
said items.

(2) Within twenty-four (24) hours upon


confiscation/seizure of dangerous drugs, plant sources of
dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential
chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernalia and/or
laboratory equipment, the same shall be submitted to the
PDEA Forensic Laboratory for a qualitative and quantitative
examination;

3) A certification of the forensic laboratory


examination results, which shall be done by the forensic
laboratory examiner, shall be issued immediately upon the
receipt of the subject item/s: Provided, That when the
volume of dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous
drugs, and controlled precursors and essential chemicals
does not allow the completion of testing within the time
frame, 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, however, That a final certification
shall be issued immediately upon completion of the said
examination and certification;

xxx --- xxx --- xxx

The chain of custody rule requires that the admission of


an exhibit be preceded by evidence sufficient to support a

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
x-------------------------------x
finding that the matter in question is what the proponent
claims it to be.8

The corpus delicti in cases involving dangerous drugs is


the presentation of the dangerous drug itself. Thus, the chain Commented [Office19]: Pls recheck

of custody over the dangerous drug must be shown to Ang gusto mo ba sabihin ay ang corpus delicti ay ang
establish the corpus delicti.9 presentation

Or ang corpus delicti ay yung drugs utself?


The amendment to Section 21, Article II, of Republic Act
9165, by Republic Act 10640, gave statutory recognition to
the Section 21, of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of
Republic Act 9165.

Thus, in People v. Piad,10 the Court ruled:

“Evidently, the law requires "substantial" and not


necessarily "perfect adherence" as long as it can be proven
that the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized
items were preserved as the same would be utilized in the
determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused.”

In the case at bar, the combined testimonies of the


arresting officer, the investigating officer, and the forensic
chemist all point to a conclusion that while, admittedly, based
on the evidence on record, there was no perfect chain of
custody, nonetheless, the noncompliance was on justifiable
grounds and the integrity and evidentiary value of seized item
was preserved by the apprehending officer. The seizure of the
twenty (20) grams of marijuana was made as an incident to
a warrantless arrest when the three accused were caught in
flagrante delicto. The policeman-arresting officer could not be
expected to have had with him the necessary materials and
means to properly mark and photograph the seized marijuana
as he was not in any pre-arranged operation. He merely
chanced upon the three accused at an alley when he passed
by on the fateful night. Nevertheless, he was able to submit
the seized marijuana to the investigating officer, who, in turn,
received the evidence and conducted the investigation, and
then finally turning over the same to the forensic chemist,
who conducted the examination and confirmed that the seized
item was indeed marijuana.

8
Malillin v. People, G.R. No. 172953, 30 April 2008
9
People v. Hementiza, G.R. No. 227398, 22 March 2017
10
G.R. No. 213607, 25 January 2016

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
x-------------------------------x
Criminal Liability of the
Individual Accused

Having established all the elements sufficient for a


conviction for violation of Section 13, Article II, of Republic
Act 9165, we know come to propriety of imposing criminal
liability upon each of the accused AAA, BBB, and CCC, aged
fourteen (14), sixteen (16), and seventeen (17), respectively.

Violation of Section 13, Article II, of Republic Act 9165


imposes the maximum penalties established in Section 11 of
the same law, regardless of the quantity and purity of the
dangerous drug. Thus, the maximum imposable penalty of life
imprisonment to death under Section 11 shall also apply to
violation of Section 13 of the same law. However, Section 98
of the same law provides for the limited applicability of the
Revised Penal Code, when the offenders are minors. It
provides:

Section 98. Limited Applicability of the Revised Penal


Code. – Notwithstanding any law, rule or regulation to the
contrary, the provisions of the Revised Penal Code (Act No.
3815), as amended, shall not apply to the provisions of this
Act, except in the case of minor offenders. Where the
offender is a minor, the penalty for acts punishable by life
imprisonment to death provided herein shall be reclusion
perpetua to death. (underscoring supplied)

xxx --- xxx --- xxx

On the other hand, Republic Act 9344, otherwise known


as the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006, took effect in
2006 and modified in part the law on criminal liability of
minors. The same was amended by Republic Act 10630, which
took effect in 2013. Commented [Office20]: Why did you mention the dates,
significant be sa case yung dates?

Section 6, Republic Act 9344, as amended, provides:

SEC. 6. Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility. – A


child fifteen (15) years of age or under at the time of the
commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal
liability. However, the child shall be subjected to an
intervention program pursuant to Section 20 of this Act.

A child is deemed to be fifteen (15) years of age on


the day of the fifteenth anniversary of his/her birthdate.

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People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
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A child above fifteen (15) years but below eighteen
(18) years of age shall likewise be exempt from criminal
liability and be subjected to an intervention program, unless
he/she has acted with discernment, in which case, such child
shall be subjected to the appropriate proceedings in
accordance with this Act.

The exemption from criminal liability herein


established does not include exemption from civil liability,
which shall be enforced in accordance with existing laws.

xxx --- xxx --- xxx

Section 20, of Republic Act 9344, was also amended to


include a new Section 20-A, which reads:

SEC. 20-A. Serious Crimes Committed by Children


Who Are Exempt From Criminal Responsibility. – A child who
is above twelve (12) years of age up to fifteen (15) years of
age and who commits parricide, murder, infanticide,
kidnapping and serious illegal detention where the victim is
killed or raped, robbery, with homicide or rape, destructive
arson, rape, or carnapping where the driver or occupant is
killed or raped or offenses under Republic Act No. 9165
(Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) punishable
by more than twelve (12) years of imprisonment, shall be
deemed a neglected child under Presidential Decree No.
603, as amended, and shall be mandatorily placed in a
special facility within the youth care faculty or ‘Bahay Pag-
asa’ called the Intensive Juvenile Intervention and Support
Center (IJISC).

Thus, in this case, notwithstanding the provisions of


Republic Act 9165, the fourteen-year old AAA incurs no
criminal liability, his age having proved by the testimony of
his mother. However, following Section 6 and Section 20-A, Commented [Office21]: See jurisprudence, testimony ba
proof required to appreciate minority as a
Republic Act 9344, as amended, he is deemed a neglected defense/mitigating circumstance?
child under Presidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as
the Child and Youth Welfare Code, and shall undergo an
intervention program and shall be mandatorily placed in a
special facility within the youth care faculty or the “Bahay Pag-
asa” called the Intensive Juvenile Intervention and Support
Center (IJISC).

With respect to the two other accused BBB and CCC,


aged sixteen (16) and seventeen (17), respectively at the

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
x-------------------------------x
time of the commission of offense, the evidence showed that
both acted with discernment. Commented [Office22]: How, show it

Discernment means the capacity of the child at the time


of the commission of the offense to understand the
differences between right and wrong and the consequence of
the wrongful act.11 The manner of committing the crime may
show discernment by the accused. Thus, in People v.
Magsino,12 the court ruled that when the minor committed the
crime during nighttime to avoid detection, he manifested
discernment.13 Commented [Office23]: Baka dapat mauna itong
parangraph before yung comment ko immediately before
this
In this case, the accused were caught in flagrante delicto
smoking on a nighttime at an alley, hence, they exhibited
discernment when they smoked marijuana, and
consequently, showed discernment in knowingly possessing
the same.

WHEREFORE, in consideration of the above premises,


this Court finds the following:

(1) With respect to the fourteen (14) year old, the


criminal action against him is dismissed, being exempted from
criminal liability, but is ordered to undergo intervention
program and be placed in a special facility within the youth
care faculty or the “Bahay Pag-asa” called the Intensive
Juvenile Intervention and Support Center (IJISC), pursuant to
Section 20-A, Republic Act 9344, as amended by Republic Act
10630.

(2) With respect to the two accused aged sixteen (16)


and seventeen (17) years old, respectively, the Court finds
them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violation of Section Commented [Office24]: Suspended sentencing until age 18
di ba?
13, Article II, of Republic Act 9165, as amended by Republic
Act 10640. As earlier stated, the penalty for violation of
Section 13 was life imprisonment to death, but in view of
Section 98 of the same law, it is reduced to reclusion perpetua
to death.

Considering that the imposition of death penalty was


suspended by Republic Act 9346, and in line with the decision

11
Section 4[j], A.M. No. 02-1-18-SC, or the Rule on Juveniles in Conflict with the
Law, 24 November 2009
12
G.R. No. 40176, 3 May 1934
13
Page 235, Revised Penal Code Book 1, JBL Reyes, 2017 Edition

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
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in People v. Bon,14 the penalty imposable can only be
reclusion perpetua. The accused shall have the benefit of the
privilege mitigating circumstance of minority, hence the
penalty shall be one degree lower, or reclusion temporal,
which is a divisible penalty. Thus, the two accused BBB and
CCC, aged sixteen (16) and seventeen (17), shall each suffer
the penalty of prision mayor medium as minimum up to
reclusion temporal medium as the maximum.

However, in accordance with Section 48 of the Rule on


Juvenile in Conflict with the Law, promulgated on 24
November 2009, and Section 38 of Republic Act 9344, the
sentences are hereby suspended until each of the accused
reaches the eighteen (18) years old. The two accused are
ordered to undergo diversion program, as provided under
Republic Act 9344, as amended and the Rule on Juvenile in
Conflict with the Law.

No pronouncement as to cost.

SO ORDERED.

Las Piñas City, 14 May 2018.

HON. MILDRED JACINTO MARQUEZ


Presiding Judge
RTC Branch 2- Family Court
Las Piñas City

KGM/14-May-2018

14
G.R. No. 166401, 30 October 2006

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Decision
People v. AAA, BBB, and CCC
R-LLP-18-XXXXX-CR
x-------------------------------x

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