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PEOPLE VS.

GA-A and ADOBAR


G.R. NO. 222559
JUNE 6, 2018

J. CAGUIOA

FACTS:
A buy-bust operation was conducted by a team of PDEA agents against Adobar and his
live-in partner Ga-a in their residence. In the prosecution’s version of facts, one of the agents
acted as a buyer and bought shabu worth 500 pesos from Adobar. The latter handed one heat-
sealed transparent sachet containing the shabu. After examining it, the agent signaled her
colleagues to respond to the scene. The team responded and rushed towards Adobar, the latter
ran inside his house and locked the front door to which the team forced open. Adobar escaped
and the buy-bust money wasn’t recovered.
Ga-a was inside and the team seized the 17 sachets of shabu and other drug
paraphernalia on top of a table. Ga-a claimed that the shabu were from Adobar. After clearing the
house and the inventory of the seized items, Tablate called for Acenas, barangay captain, media
representative Cabrejas, and an unidentified DOJ representative as witnesses. Two of the
witnesses signed. Afterwhich, they the team and Ga-a proceeded to the PDEA office.
Ga-a was acquitted by the trial court, holding that the PDEA agents had no probable cause
to search and arrest her.

ISSUE: W/N Adobar is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of sale of illegal drugs under Sec.5, Art. 2
of RA 9165.

HELD:
NO. In the context of a buy-bust operation, its elements are 1) that the transaction or sale
took place between the accused and the poseur buyer; and 2) that the dangerous drugs subject
of the transaction or sale is presented in court as evidence of the “corpus delicti”.
The prosecution failed to prove the corpus delicti of the crime due to the serious lapses in
observing Sec.21 of RA 9165 and the concomitant failure to trigger the saving clause. Anent the
latter point, the prosecution utterly failed to acknowledge and credibly justify its procedural lapses
and was unable to prove the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized drugs. Adobar’s
innocence, as presumed and protected by the Constitution, must stand in light of the reasonable
doubt on his guilt.
The prosecution arm of the government has the duty to prove, beyond reasonable doubt,
each and every element of the crime charged. In illegal drugs cases, this includes proving faithful
compliance with Sec.21 of RA 9165, being fundamental to establishing the element of corpus
delicti. In the course of proving such compliance before the trial courts, prosecutors must have
the initiative to not only acknowledge, but also justify, any perceived deviations from the
procedural requirements of Sec. 21.