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    G.R. No. 184805 March 3, 2010

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,Plaintiff-Appellee,vs.VICTORIO PAGKALINAWAN,Accused-Appellant.

    D E C I S I O N

    VELASCO, JR., J.:

    The Case

    This is an appeal from the May 9, 2008 Decision1of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CRNo. 02648 entitled People of the Philippines v. Victorio Pagkalinawan, which affirmed theJanuary 16, 2007 Joint Decision2in Criminal Case Nos. 13624-D and 13625-D of the RegionalTrial Court (RTC), Branch 267 in Pasig City. The RTC found accused-appellantVictorio3Pagkalinawan guilty of violation of Sections 5 and 11, Article II of Republic Act No.

    (RA) 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

    The Facts

    The charges against appellant stemmed from the following Informations:

    Criminal Case No. 13624-D

    (Violation of Sec. 5, paragraph 1 [Sale], Art. II of RA 9165)

    That, on or about the 20th day of July 2004, in the Municipality of Taguig, Metro Manila,Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,

    without being authorized by law, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and knowingly sell,deliver, and give away to another 0.28 gram of white crystalline substance contained in one (1)heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet, which was found positive to the test forMethylamphetamine Hydrochloride, also known as shabu, a dangerous drug, in consideration ofthe amount of Php500.00, and violation of the above-cited law.

    Contrary to law.4

    Criminal Case No. 13625-D

    (Violation of Sec. 11, par. 2 [Possession], Art. II of RA 9165)

    That, on or about the 20th day of July 2004, in the Municipality of Taguig, Metro Manila,Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,without being authorized by law to possess any dangerous drug, did, then and there willfully,unlawfully and knowingly possess 0.13 gram and 0.08 gram, respectively, or a total of 0.21gram of white crystalline substance separately contained in two (2) heat-sealed transparentplastic sachets, which substance was found positive to the test for MethylamphetamineHydrochloride, also known as shabu, a dangerous drug, in violation of the above-cited law.

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    Contrary to law.5

    On August 9, 2004, appellant was arraigned. He pleaded "not guilty" to the charges against him.After the pre-trial conference, trial on the merits ensued.

    During the trial, the prosecution presented as its witnesses Police Officer (PO1) ReyMemoracion and PO3 Arnulfo Vicua, both members of the Station Drug Enforcement Unit,Taguig Police Station, Taguig City. On the other hand, the defense presented as its witnessesappellant Pagkalinawan, Paula San Pedro, and May Pagkalinawan.

    The Prosecutions Version of Facts

    On July 20, 2004, at around 11:00 p.m., a confidential informant arrived at the office of theStation Anti-Illegal Drugs-Special Operations Task Force (SAID-SOTF) of the Taguig City Policeand reported the illegal activities of a certain "Berto," a resident of Captain Ciano St., Ibayo,Tipaz, Taguig City.

    The leader of the group, Police Senior Inspector Romeo Paat, immediately formed a buy-bustteam with PO1 Memoracion as the poseur-buyer and the rest of the group as back-up. The buy-bust money was then marked and recorded in the blotter. Afterwards, the team, along with thepolice informant, proceeded to where Berto lives. Upon reaching the place, PO1 Memoracionand the informant alighted from the service vehicle and walked towards Berto, who was leaningagainst a wall, while the rest of the team positioned themselves in strategic locations fromwhere they could see clearly what was going on.

    The informant introduced PO1 Memoracion to Berto as a taxi driver who wanted to buy shabu.Berto immediately took the PhP 500 buy-bust money from PO1 Memoracion and showed three(3) plastic sachets containing shabu in his palm, and asked the poseur-buyer to pick one. OncePO1 Memoracion took hold of the shabu, he took off his cap, which was the pre-arranged signal

    for the rest of the team to close in and arrest Berto. Berto suddenly became suspicious of PO3Vicua, who was coming up to them, so he attempted to flee the scene. PO1 Memoracion wasable to stop him and ordered him to empty his pockets. The other two (2) sachets of shabu wererecovered from him and the appropriate markings were made on them. Berto was identified lateron as appellant Pagkalinawan.

    Afterwards, the team brought appellant to its headquarters in Taguig City for investigation. Afterthe police investigator made the request for laboratory examination of the confiscatedtransparent plastic sachets of suspected shabu, PO1 Memoracion brought these to thePhilippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, Southern Police District Crime LaboratoryOffice. Police Inspector (P/Insp.) May Andrea A. Bonifacio, Forensic Chemical Officer,conducted a qualitative examination on the specimens, which tested positive for

    methamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. She issued Physical Science Report No.D-546-04S dated July 21, 2004, which showed the following results:

    SPECIMEN SUBMITTED:

    Three (3) heat-sealed transparent sachets each containing white crystalline substance with thefollowing markings and net weights:

    A ("SAID-SOTF" VSP) = 0.28 gram

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    B ("SAID-SOTF" VSP) = 0.13 gram

    C ("SAID-SOTF" VSP) = 0.08 gram

    x x x x

    PURPOSE OF LABORATORY EXAMINATION:

    To determine the presence of any dangerous drug. x x x

    FINDINGS:

    Qualitative examination conducted on the above-stated specimen gave POSITIVE result to thetests for the presence of Methylamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. x x x

    CONCLUSION:

    Specimen A to C contain Methylamphetamine Hydrochloride, a dangerous drug.6

    x x x

    Version of the Defense

    Appellant, on the other hand, interposed the defense of denial.

    Appellant recounted that, on July 20, 2004, he was watching television inside their house at No.10-D Ibayo, Tipaz, Taguig City. His granddaughter Paula San Pedro and sister-in-law MayPagkalinawan were with him in the house at the time. Suddenly, armed men barged into thehouse and introduced themselves as policemen. One of them pointed a gun at him and askedwhere he was keeping the shabu. He denied having what the policemen were looking after.Despite his denial, the policemen still searched his house. When they could not find any

    prohibited drugs there, the policemen brought him to the Drug Enforcement Unit of the TaguigCity Police Station. At the police station, he was told by the policemen to amicably settle thecase with them. But because he did not heed their order, cases for violation of RA 9165 werefiled against him by the policemen.

    May Pagkalinawan testified that, on July 20, 2004, she was resting inside their house at No. 10-D Ibayo, Tipaz, Taguig City after selling her wares, while appellant was watching television.Between 10:00 to 11:00 p.m., however, she went to the house of her sister-in-law Zenaida forabout ten minutes, but when she returned home, she saw policemen apprehending appellant.She asked the policemen where they were bringing appellant and they told her to follow them atthe police station in the Taguig City Hall. She also averred that the policemen did not presentany document giving them authority to search their house and arrest appellant. She further

    claimed that the police officers did not apprise appellant of his constitutional rights during andafter the arrest.

    Defense witness Paula San Pedro, who claimed to be appellants granddaughter, alsocorroborated the stories of both May Pagkalinawan and appellant. In her testimony, shestressed that her grandfather was apprehended but not bodily frisked by the policemen insidetheir house; hence, it was not possible for an illegal drug to be found in the possession ofappellant.

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    Ruling of the Trial Court

    After trial, the RTC convicted appellant. The dispositive portion of its Joint Decision reads:

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, the Court finds accused VIRGILIOPAGKALINAWAN y Silvestre alyas "Berto" in Criminal Case No. 13624-D for Violation ofSection 5, 1st paragraph, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as "TheComprehensive Drugs Act of 2002", GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, accused VirgilioPagkalinawan y Silvestre alyas "Berto" is hereby sentenced to suffer LIFE IMPRISONMENTandordered to pay a fine of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (PhP500,000.00).

    Moreover, accused VIRGILIO PAGKALINAWAN y Silvestre alyas "Berto" is also found GUILTYbeyond reasonable doubt in Criminal Case No. 13625-D for Violation of Section 11, 2ndparagraph, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as "The Comprehensive Drugs

    Act of 2002". And since the quantity of methylamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) found in thepossession of the accused is only 0.21 gram, accused Virgilio Pagkalinawan y Silvestre alyas"Berto" is hereby sentenced to suffer imprisonment ranging from TWELVE (12) YEARS andONE (1) DAY as minimum -to- FOURTEEN (14) YEARS and TWENTY-ONE (21) DAYS asmaximum. Accused Virgilio Pagkalinawan y Silvestre alyas "Berto" is further penalized to pay afine in the amount of THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (PhP300,000.00).

    Accordingly, the Jail Warden of the Taguig City Jail where accused Virgilio Pagkalinawan ySilvestre alyas "Berto" is presently detained is hereby ordered to forthwith commit the person ofconvicted Virgilio Pagkalinawan y Silvestre alyas "Berto" to the New Bilibid Prisons, Bureau ofCorrections in Muntinlupa City, Metro Manila.

    Upon the other hand, the shabu contained in three (3) heat-sealed transparent plastic sachetswith a total weight of 0.49 [gram] which are the subject matter of the above-captioned cases arehereby ordered to be immediately transmitted and/or submitted to the custody of the PhilippineDrug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for its proper disposition.

    Costs de oficio.

    SO ORDERED.7

    On appeal to the CA, appellant disputed the RTCs finding of his guilt beyond reasonable doubtof the crimes charged. He argued that the presumption of innocence should prevail over theprinciple of regularity of performance of the police officers. Further, he contended that whatactually happened was an instigation and not a buy-bust operation. Lastly, he claimed that therewas no compliance with the law as to the proper requirements for a valid buy-bust operation.

    Ruling of the Appellate Court

    On May 9, 2008, the CA affirmed the judgment of the RTC. It ruled that the prosecution wasable to discharge the statutory burden of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It also dismissed theallegation of instigation, saying that what happened was actually an entrapment, to wit:

    x x x It should be noted that the accused-appellant was neither cajoled nor seduced intopeddling drugs. In fact, when he was told that the poseur buyer wanted to score shabu, theaccused-appellant had several sachets of shabu ready in his pocket. This means that even

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    without the slightest prodding from the police officers, the accused-appellant already harboredthe intent to commit the crime of drug pushing. The feigned offer to buy on the part of theposeur-buyer was merely a ploy to entrap a drug peddler who was about to actualize hisfelonious intent.8

    The dispositive portion of the CA Decision reads:

    WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing discussion, the appealed Joint decision dated 16January 2007 is perforce affirmed in toto

    .

    SO ORDERED.9

    Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal of the decision of the CA.

    The Issue

    Appellant assigns the following errors:

    I.

    The trial court gravely erred in giving credence to the incredible testimony of the prosecutionwitnesses while totally disregarding the evidence adduced by the defense.

    II.

    The trial court gravely erred in finding that the guilt of the accused-appellant for the crimecharged has been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

    Our Ruling

    We sustain appellants conviction.

    Buy-Bust Operation Is a Form of Entrapment

    Appellant argues that the buy-bust operation conducted was invalid and that what reallyhappened was instigation, not entrapment. Such contention lacks basis and is contrary to

    jurisprudence.

    Instigation is the means by which the accused is lured into the commission of the offensecharged in order to prosecute him. On the other hand, entrapment is the employment of suchways and means for the purpose of trapping or capturing a lawbreaker.10

    In People v. Lua Chu and Uy Se Tieng, the Court laid down the distinction between entrapmentand instigation, to wit:

    ENTRAPMENT AND INSTIGATION.While it has been said that the practice of entrappingpersons into crime for the purpose of instituting criminal prosecutions is to be deplored, and

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    while instigation, as distinguished from mere entrapment, has often been condemned and hassometimes been held to prevent the act from being criminal or punishable, the general rule isthat it is no defense to the perpetrator of a crime that facilities for its commission were purposelyplaced in his way, or that the criminal act was done at the decoy solicitation of persons seekingto expose the criminal, or that detectives feigning complicity in the act were present andapparently assisting in its commission. Especially is this true in that class of cases where the

    offense is one of a kind habitually committed, and the solicitation merely furnishes evidence of acourse of conduct. Mere deception by the detective will not shield defendant, if the offense wascommitted by him, free from the influence or instigation of the detective. The fact that an agentof an owner acts as a supposed confederate of a thief is no defense to the latter in aprosecution for larceny, provided the original design was formed independently of such agent;and where a person approached by the thief as his confederate notifies the owner or the publicauthorities, and, being authorised by them to do so, assists the thief in carrying out the plan, thelarceny is nevertheless committed. It is generally held that it is no defense to a prosecution foran illegal sale of liquor that the purchase was made by a spotter, detective, or hired informer;but there are cases holding the contrary.11

    One form of entrapment is the buy-bust operation. It is legal and has been proved to be an

    effective method of apprehending drug peddlers, provided due regard to constitutional and legalsafeguards is undertaken.12

    In order to determine the validity of a buy-bust operation, this Court has consistently applied the"objective" test. In People v. Doria,13this Court stressed that in applying the "objective" test, thedetails of the purported transaction during the buy-bust operation must be clearly andadequately shown, i.e., the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and the pusher, the offer topurchase, and the promise or payment of the consideration until the consummation of the saleby the delivery of the illegal drug subject of the sale. It further emphasized that the "manner bywhich the initial contact was made, whether or not through an informant, the offer to purchasethe drug, the payment of the buy-bust money, and the delivery of the illegal drug, whether tothe informant alone or the police officer, must be subject of strict scrutiny by courts to insure that

    law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an offense."14

    In the instant case, the evidence clearly shows that the police officers used entrapment, notinstigation, to capture appellant in the act of selling a dangerous drug. It was the confidentialinformant who made initial contact with appellant when he introduced PO1 Memoracion as abuyer for shabu. Appellant immediately took the PhP 500 buy-bust money from PO1Memoracion and showed him three pieces of sachet containing shabu and asked him to pickone. Once PO1 Memoracion got the shabu, he gave the pre-arranged signal and appellant wasarrested. The facts categorically show a typical buy-bust operation as a form of entrapment. Thepolice officers conduct was within the acceptable standards for the fair and honorableadministration of justice.

    Moreover, contrary to appellants argument that the acts of the informant and the poseur-buyerin pretending that they were in need of shabu instigated or induced him to violate the Anti-DrugsLaw, a police officers act of soliciting drugs from the accused during a buy-bust operation, orwhat is known as a "decoy solicitation," is not prohibited by law and does not render the buy-bust operation invalid.15This was clarified by the Court in People v. Sta Maria:

    It is no defense to the perpetrator of a crime that facilities for its commission were purposelyplaced in his way, or that the criminal act was done at the "decoy solicitation" of persons

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    seeking to expose the criminal, or that detectives feigning complicity in the act were present andapparently assisting its commission. Especially is this true in that class of cases where the officeis one habitually committed, and the solicitation merely furnishes evidence of a course ofconduct. lavvphil

    As here, the solicitation of drugs from appellant by the informant utilized by the police merely

    furnishes evidence of a course of conduct. The police received an intelligence report thatappellant has been habitually dealing in illegal drugs. They duly acted on it by utilizing aninformant to effect a drug transaction with appellant. There was no showing that the informantinduced the appellant to sell illegal drugs to him.16

    It bears stressing that what is material to the prosecution for illegal sale of drugs is the proof thatthe transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence ofcorpus delicti. In other words, the essential elements of the crime of illegal sale of prohibiteddrugs are: (1) the accused sold and delivered a prohibited drug to another; and (2) he knew thatwhat he had sold and delivered was a prohibited drug.17All these elements were satisfactorilyproved by the prosecution in the instant case. Appellant sold and delivered the shabu for PhP500 to PO1 Memoracion posing as buyer; the said drug was seized and identified as a

    prohibited drug and subsequently presented in evidence; there was actual exchange of themarked money and contraband; and finally, appellant was fully aware that he was selling anddelivering a prohibited drug.

    Likewise, the prosecution was also able to prove with moral certainty the guilt of appellant forthe crime of illegal possession of dangerous drugs. It was able to prove the following elements:(1) that the accused is in possession of the object identified as a prohibited or regulatory drug;(2) that such possession is not authorized by law; and (3) that the accused freely andconsciously possessed the said drug.18

    In the case at bar, appellant was caught in actual possession of prohibited drugs withoutshowing any proof that he was duly authorized by law to possess them. Having been caught inflagrante delicto, there is, therefore, a prima facie evidence of animus possidendi on appellantspart.19

    As a matter of fact, the trial court, in disposing of the case, said:

    The substance of the prosecutions evidence is to the effect that accused Virgilio Pagkalinawany Silvestre alyas "Berto" was arrested by the police because of the existence of shabu he soldto PO1 Rey B. Memoracion as well as the recovery of the buy-bust money from his possessiontogether with the other two (2) plastic sachets similarly containing shabu.

    To accentuate, the prosecution witnesses in the person of PO1 B. Memoracion and PO3 Arnulfo

    J. Vicua positively identified accused Virgilio Pagkalinawan y Silvestre alyas "Berto" as theperson that they apprehended on July 20, 2004 at Ibayo, Tipaz, Taguig City. That they arrestedaccused Virgilio S. Pagkalinawan within the vicinity of a store because their team was able toprocure shabu from him during the buy-bust operation they purposely conducted against theaforementioned accused.

    The buy-bust money recovered by the arresting police officers from the possession of theaccused Virgilio Pagkalinawan y Silvestre alyas "Berto" as well as the shabu they were able topurchase from the accused sufficiently constitute as the very corpus delicti of the crime of

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    "Violation of Section 5, 1st paragraph, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165", and the two (2)plastic sachets containing shabu that were recovered from the same accused Pagkalinawansimilarly constitute as the corpus delicti of the crime of "Violation of Section 11, 2nd paragraph,No. 3, Article II of Republic Act No. 9165". As already established, corpus delicti has beendefined x x x as the body or substance of the crime and refers to the fact that a crime hasactually been committed. As applied to a particular offense, it means the actual commission by

    someone of the particular crime.

    The testimony of PO1 Rey B. Memoracion that was corroborated by PO3 Arnulfo J. Vicua, whohave not shown and displayed any ill motive to arrest the accused, is sufficient enough toconvict the accused of the crimes charged against him. x x x As law enforcers, their narration ofthe incident is worthy of belief and as such they are presumed to have performed their duties ina regular manner, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary. To stress x x x testimony ofarresting officers, with no motive or reason to falsely impute a serious charge against theaccused, is credible.20

    This Court has consistently relied upon the assessment of the trial court, which had theopportunity to observe the conduct and demeanor of the witnesses during the trial. It is a

    fundamental rule that findings of the trial courts which are factual in nature and which involvecredibility are accorded respect when no glaring errors; gross misapprehension of facts; orspeculative, arbitrary, and unsupported conclusions can be gathered from such findings. Thereason for this is that the trial court is in a better position to decide the credibility of witnesses,having heard their testimonies and observed their deportment and manner of testifying duringthe trial.21In this case, appellant has not sufficiently demonstrated the application of any of theaforementioned exceptions.

    Sec. 21 of RA 9165 Provides for Exceptions

    Additionally, appellant argues that the prosecution failed to show compliance with Sec. 21 of RA9165 and its implementing rules regarding the custody and disposition of the evidence againsthim. He contends that absolute compliance is required and that anything short of that rendersthe evidence against him inadmissible.

    We are not persuaded.

    Sec. 21 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9165 provides:

    SECTION 21. Custody and Disposition of Confiscated, Seized and/or SurrenderedDangerous Drugs, Plant Sources of Dangerous Drugs, Controlled Precursors andEssential Chemicals, Instruments/Paraphernalia and/or Laboratory Equipment.ThePDEA shall takecharge and have custody of all dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous

    drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, as well as instruments/paraphernaliaand/or laboratory equipment so confiscated, seized and/or surrendered, for proper disposition inthe following manner:

    (a) The apprehending officer/team having initial custody and control of the drugs shall,immediately after seizure and confiscation, physically inventory and photograph the same in thepresence of the accused or the person/s from whom such items were confiscated and/or seized,or his/her representative or counsel, a representative from the media and the Department ofJustice (DOJ), and any elected public official who shall be required to sign the copies of the

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    inventory and be given a copy thereof; Provided, that the physical inventory andphotograph shall be conductedat the place where the search warrant is served; orat thenearest police station or at the nearest office of the apprehending officer/team,whichever is practicable, in case of warrantless seizures; Provided, further, that non-compliance with these requirements under justifiable grounds, as long as the integrityand evidentiary value of the seized items are properly preserved by the apprehending

    officer/team, shall not render void and invalid such seizures of and custody over saiditems. x x x (Emphasis supplied.)

    As can be gleaned from the language of Sec. 21 of the Implementing Rules, it is clear that thefailure of the law enforcers to comply strictly wi th it is not fatal. It does not render appellantsarrest illegal nor the evidence adduced against him inadmissible.22What is essential is "thepreservation of the integrity and the evidentiary value of the seized items, as the same would beutilized in the determination of the guilt or innocence of the accused."23

    Here, there was substantial compliance with the law and the integrity of the drugs seized fromappellant was preserved. The chain of custody of the drugs subject matter of the case wasshown not to have been broken. The factual milieu of the case reveals that after PO1

    Memoracion seized and confiscated the dangerous drugs, as well as the marked money,appellant was immediately arrested and brought to the police station for investigation, where thesachets of suspected shabu were marked appropriately. Immediately thereafter, the confiscatedsubstance, with a letter of request for examination, was submitted to the PNP Crime Laboratoryfor laboratory examination to determine the presence of any dangerous drug. Per PhysicalScience Report No. D-546-04S dated July 21, 2004, the specimen submitted containedmethamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. The examination was conducted by oneP/Insp. May Andrea A. Bonifacio, a Forensic Chemical Officer of the PNP Crime Laboratory.Therefore, it is evidently clear that there was an unbroken chain in the custody of the illicit drugpurchased from appellant.

    Presumption of Regularity of Performance Stands

    Notably, in the absence of clear and convincing evidence that the police officers were inspiredby any improper motive, this Court will not appreciate the defense of denial and instead applythe presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty by law enforcement agents.

    In the instant case, the defense of appellant consists of bare denial. It is considered as aninherently weak defense, for it can easily be concocted and is a common standard line ofdefense in drug cases.

    Furthermore, as found by the trial court, the defense has failed to show any evidence of illmotive on the part of the police officers:

    Such allegation of the accused that his apprehension was just a result of a frame-up, as he wasnot really engaged in peddling shabu when he was arrested, cannot be given credence becausehe was not able to offer and show proof of any previous disagreement between him and thearresting law officers that may lead the police officers to concoct and hatch baselessaccusations against him, or the presence of any other circumstances that may have fired up theire of the police officers against him.24x x x

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    For this reason, we uphold the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duties andfind that the prosecution has discharged its burden of proving the guilt of appellant beyondreasonable doubt.

    WHEREFORE, the appeal is DENIED. The Decision of the CA in CA-G.R. CR No. 02648finding appellant Victorio Pagkalinawan guilty of the crimes charged is AFFIRMED.

    SO ORDERED.

    PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.Associate Justice

    WE CONCUR:

    RENATO C. CORONAAssociate Justice

    Chairperson

    ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURAAssociate Justice

    DIOSDADO M. PERALTAAssociate Justice

    JOSE CATRAL MENDOZAAssociate Justice

    A T T E S T A T I O N

    I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before thecase was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

    RENATO C. CORONAAssociate JusticeChairperson

    C E R T I F I C A T I O N

    Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division ChairpersonsAttestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultationbefore the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts Division.

    REYNATO S. PUNO

    Chief Justice

    Footnotes

    1Rollo, pp. 2-11. Penned by Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes and concurred in byAssociate Justices Vicente Q. Roxas and Pampio A. Abarintos.

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    2CA rollo, pp. 11-22. Penned by Judge Florito S. Macalino.

    3Also referred to as "Virgilio" and "Victorino" in some parts of the records.

    4Records, p. 1.

    5Id. at 11.

    6Id. at 8.

    7CA rollo, p. 22.

    8Rollo, pp. 9-10.

    9Id. at 10-11.

    10People v. Bayani, G.R. No. 179150, June 17, 2008, 554 SCRA 741; citing People v.

    Gatong-o, No. L-78698, December 29, 1988, 168 SCRA 716, 717.

    1156 Phil. 44, 52-53 (1931).

    12People v. Herrera, G.R. No. 93728, August 21, 1995, 247 SCRA 433, 439; People v.Tadepa, G.R. No. 100354, May 26, 1995, 244 SCRA 339.

    13G.R. No. 125299, January 22, 1999, 301 SCRA 668.

    14Id. at 698-699.

    15People v. Bayani, supra note 10.

    16G.R. No. 171019, February 23, 2007, 516 SCRA 621, 628.

    17People v. Pendatun, G.R. No. 148822, July 12, 2004, 434 SCRA 148, 155-156; citingPeople v. Cercado, G.R. No. 144494, July 26, 2002, 385 SCRA 277; People v. Pacis,G.R. No. 146309, July 18, 2002, 384 SCRA 684.

    18People v. Del Norte, G.R. No. 149462, March 29, 2004, 426 SCRA 383.

    19U.S. v. Bandoc, 23 Phil. 14, 15 (1912).

    20

    CA rollo, pp. 19-20.

    21People v. Julian-Fernandez, 423 Phil. 895, 910 (2001).

    22People v. Naquita, G.R. No. 180511, July 28, 2008, 560 SCRA 430, 448; citing Peoplev. Del Monte, G.R. No. 179940, April 23, 2008, 552 SCRA 627.

    23Id.; citing People v. Concepcion, G.R. No. 178876, June 27, 2008, 556 SCRA 421.

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    24CA rollo, p. 62.

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    G.R. No. 34917 September 7, 1931

    THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS,plaintiff-appellee,vs.LUA CHU and UY SE TIENG,defendants-appellants.

    Gibbs and McDonough, Gullas, Lopez and Tuao, H. Alo and Manuel G. Briones for appellants.Attorney-General Jaranilla for appellee.

    VILLA-REAL, J .:

    The defendants Lua Chu and Uy Se Tieng appeal from the judgment of the Court of FirstInstance of Cebu convicting them of the illegal importation of opium, and sentencing them eachto four years' imprisonment, a fine of P10,000, with subsidiary imprisonment in case ofinsolvency not to exceed one-third of the principal penalty, and to pay the proportional costs.

    In support of their appeal, the appellants assigned the following alleged errors as committed by

    the court below in its judgment to wit:

    The lower court erred:

    1. In refusing to compel the Hon. Secretary of Finance of the Insular Collector ofCustoms to exhibit in court the record of the administrative investigation against JoaquinNatividad, collector of customs of Cebu, and Juan Samson, supervising customs secretservice agent of Cebu, both of whom have since been dismissed from service.

    2. In holding it as a fact that "no doubt many times opium consignments have passedthru the customhouse without the knowledge of the customs secret service."

    3. In rejecting the defendants' theory that the said Juan Samson in denouncing theaccused was actuated by a desire to protect himself and to injure ex-collector JoaquinNatividad, his bitter enemy, who was partly instrumental in the dismissal of Samson fromthe service.

    4. In finding that the conduct of Juan Samson, dismissed chief customs secret serviceagent of Cebu, is above reproach and utterly irreconcilable with the corrupt motivesattributed to him by the accused.

    5. In permitting Juan Samson, prosecution star witness, to remain in the court roomwhile other prosecution witnesses were testifying, despite the previous order of the courtexcluding the Government witnesses from the court room, and in refusing to allow the

    defense to inquire from Insular Collector of Customs Aldanese regarding the officialconduct of Juan Samson as supervising customs secret service agent of Cebu.

    6. In giving full credit to the testimony of said Juan Samson.

    7. In refusing to hold that Juan Samson induced the defendant Uy Se Tieng to order theopium from Hongkong.

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    8. In accepting Exhibits E and E-1 as the true and correct transcript of the conversationbetween Juan Samson and the appellant Uy Se Tieng.

    9. In accepting Exhibit F as the true and correct transcript of the conversation betweenJuan Samson and the appellant Lua Chu.

    10. In finding each of the appellants Uy Se Tieng and Lua Chu guilty of the crime ofillegal importation of opium, and in sentencing each to suffer four years' imprisonmentand to pay a fine of P10,000 and the costs, despite the presumption of innocence whichhas not been overcome, despite the unlawful inducement, despite the inherentweakness of the evidence presented by the prosecution, emanating from a spirit ofrevenge and from a contaminated, polluted source.

    The following are uncontradicted facts proved beyond a reasonable doubt at the trial:

    About the middle of the month of November, 1929, the accused Uy Se Tieng wrote to hiscorrespondent in Hongkong to send him a shipment of opium.

    About November 4, 1929, after the chief of the customs secret service of Cebu, Juan Samson,had returned from a vacation in Europe, he called upon the then collector of customs for thePort of Cebu, Joaquin Natividad, at his office, and the latter, after a short conversation, askedhim how much his trip had cost him. When the chief of the secret service told him he had spentP2,500, the said collector of customs took from a drawer in his table, the amount of P300, inpaper money, and handed it to him, saying: "This is for you, and a shipment will arrive shortly,and you will soon be able to recoup your travelling expenses." Juan Samson took the money,left, and put it into the safe in his office to be kept until he delivered it to the provincial treasurerof Cebu. A week later, Natividad called Samson and told him that the shipment he had referredto consisted of opium, that it was not about to arrive, and that the owner would go to Samson'shouse to see him. That very night Uy Se Tieng went to Samson's house and told him he hadcome by order of Natividad to talk to him about the opium. The said accused informed Samsonthat the opium shipment consisted of 3,000 tins, and that he had agreed to pay NatividadP6,000 or a P2 a tin, and that the opium had been in Hongkong since the beginning of Octoberawaiting a ship that would go direct to Cebu.

    At about 6 o'clock in the afternoon of November 22, 1929, one Nam Tai loaded on thesteamship Kolambugan, which the Naviera Filipinaa shipping company in Cebu had hadbuilt in Hongkong, 38 cases consigned to Uy Seheng and marked "U.L.H." About the same dateNatividad informed Samson that the opium had already been put on board thesteamship Kolambugan, and it was agreed between them that Samson would receive P2,000,Natividad P2,000, and the remaining P2,000 would be distributed among certain employees inthe customhouse.

    Meanwhile, Uy Se Tieng continued his interviews with Samson. Towards the end of November,Natividad informed the latter that the Kolambuganhad returned to Hongkong on account ofcertain engine trouble, and remained there until December 7th. In view of this, the shipperseveral times attempted to unload the shipment, but he was told each time by the captain, whoneeded the cargo for ballast, that the ship was about to sail, and the 30 cases remained onboard.

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    The Kolambuganarrived at Cebu on the morning of December 14, 1929. While he wasexamining the manifests, Samson detailed one of his men to watch the ship. After conferringwith Natividad, the latter instructed him to do everything possible to have the cargo unloaded,and to require Uy Se Tieng to pay over the P6,000. On the morning of November 16, 1929,Natividad told Samson that Uy Se Tieng already had the papers ready to withdraw the casesmarked "U.L.H." from the customhouse. Samson then told Natividad it would be better for Uy Se

    Tieng to go to his house to have a talk with him. Uy Se Tieng went to Samson's house that nightand was told that he must pay over the P6,000 before taking the opium out of the customhouse.Uy Se Tieng showed Samson the bill of lading and on leaving said: "I will tell the owner, and wesee whether we can take the money to you tomorrow." The following day Samson informedColonel Francisco of the Constabulary, of all that had taken place, and the said colonelinstructed the provincial commander, Captain Buenconsejo, to discuss the capture of the opiumowners with Samson. Buenconsejo and Samson agreed to meet at the latter's house that samenight. That afternoon Samson went to the office of the provincial fiscal, reported the case to thefiscal, and asked for a stenographer to take down the conversation he would have with Uy SeTieng that night in the presence of Captain Buenconsejo. As the fiscal did not have a goodstenographer available, Samson got one Jumapao, of the law firm of Rodriguez & Zacarias, onthe recommendation of the court stenographer. On the evening of December 17, 1929, as

    agreed, Captain Buenconsejo, Lieutenant Fernando; and the stenographer went to Samson'shouse and concealed themselves behind a curtain made of strips of wood which hung from thewindow overlooking the entrance to the house on the ground floor. As soon as the accused UySe Tieng arrived, Samson asked him if he had brought the money. He replied that he had not,saying that the owner of the opium, who was Lua Chu, was afraid of him. Samson then hold himto tell Lua Chu not to be afraid, and that he might come to Samson's house. After pointing out toUy Se Tieng a back door entrance into the garden, he asked him where the opium was, and UySe Tieng answered that it was in the cases numbered 11 to 18, and that there were 3,252 tins.Uy Se Tieng returned at about 10 o'clock that night accompanied by his codefendant Lua Chu,who said he was not the sole owner of the opium, but that a man from Manila, named Tan, andanother in Amoy were also owners. Samson then asked Lua Chu when he was going to get theopium, and the latter answered that Uy Se Tieng would take charge of that. On being asked if

    he had brought the P6,000, Lua Chu answered, no, but promised to deliver it when the opiumwas in Uy Se Tieng's warehouse. After this conversation, which was taken down in shorthand,Samson took the accused Lua Chu aside and asked him: "I say, old fellow, why didn't you tellme about this before bringing the opium here?" Lua Chu answered: "Impossible, sir; you werenot here, you were in Spain on vacation." On being asked by Samson how he had come tobring in the opium, Lua Chu answered: "I was in a cockpit one Sunday when the collector calledme aside and said there was good business, because opium brought a good price, and heneeded money." All this conversation was overheard by Captain Buenconsejo. It was thenagreed that Uy Se Tieng should take the papers with him at 10 o'clock next morning. At theappointed hour, Uy Se Tieng and one Uy Ay arrived at Samson's house, and as Uy Se Tiengwas handing certain papers over to his companion, Uy Ay, Captain Buenconsejo, who had beenhiding, appeared and arrested the two Chinamen, taking the aforementioned papers, which

    consisted of bills of lading (Exhibits B and B-1), and in invoice written in Chinese characters,and relating to the articles described in Exhibit B. After having taken Uy Se Tieng and Uy Ay tothe Constabulary headquarters, and notified the fiscal, Captain Buenconsejo and Samson wentto Lua Chu's home to search it and arrest him. In the pocket of a coat hanging on a wall, whichLua Chu said belonged to him, they found five letters written in Chinese characters relating tothe opium (Exhibits G to K). Captain Buenconsejo and Samson also took Lua Chu to theConstabulary headquarters, and then went to the customhouse to examine the cases marked"U.L.H." In the cases marked Nos. 11 to 18, they found 3,252 opium tins hidden away in aquantity to dry fish. The value of the opium confiscated amounted to P50,000.

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    In the afternoon of December 18, 1929, Captain Buenconsejo approached Lua Chu and askedhim to tell the truth as to who was the owner of the opium. Lua Chu answered as follows:"Captain, it is useless to ask me any questions, for I am not going to answer to them. The onlything I will say is that whoever the owner of this contraband may be, he is not such a fool as tobring it in here without the knowledge of those " pointing towards the customhouse.

    The defense attempted to show that after Juan Samson had obtained a loan of P200 from UySe Tieng, he induced him to order the opium from Hongkong saying that it only cost from P2 toP3 a tin there, while in Cebu it cost from P18 to P20, and that he could make a good deal ofmoney by bringing in a shipment of that drug; that Samson told Uy Se Tieng, furthermore, thatthere would be no danger, because he and the collector of customs would protect him; that UySe Tieng went to see Natividad, who told him he had no objection, if Samson agreed; that UySe Tieng then wrote to his correspondent in Hongkong to forward the opium; that after he hadordered it, Samson went to Uy Se Tieng's store, in the name of Natividad, and demanded thepayment of P6,000; that Uy Se Tieng then wrote to his Hongkong correspondent cancelling theorder, but the latter answered that the opium had already been loaded and the captain ofthe Kolambuganrefused to let him unload it; that when the opium arrived, Samson insistedupon the payment of the P6,000; that as Uy Se Tieng did not have that amount, he went to Lua

    Chu on the night of December 14th, and proposed that he participate; that at first Lua Chu wasunwilling to accept Uy Se Tieng's proposition, but he finally agreed to pay P6,000 when theopium had passed the customhouse; that Lua Chu went to Samson's house on the night ofDecember 17th, because Samson at last agreed to deliver the opium without first receiving theP6,000, provided Lua Chu personally promised to pay him that amount.

    The appellants make ten assignments of error as committed by the trial court in its judgment.Some refer to the refusal of the trial judge to permit the presentation of certain documentaryevidence, and to the exclusion of Juan Samson, the principal witness for the Government, fromthe court room during the hearing; others refer to the admission of the alleged statements of theaccused taken in shorthand; and the others to the sufficiency of the evidence of the prosecutionto establish the guilt of the defendants beyond a reasonable doubt.

    With respect to the presentation of the record of the administrative proceedings against JoaquinNatividad, collector of customs of Cebu, and Juan Samson, supervising customs secret serviceagent of Cebu, who were dismissed from the service, the trial court did not err in not permittingit, for, whatever the result of those proceedings, they cannot serve to impeach the witness JuanSamson, for it is not one of the means prescribed in section 342 of the Code of Civil Procedureto that end.

    With regard to the trial judge's refusal to order the exclusion of Juan Samson, the principalwitness of the Government, from the court room during the hearing, it is within the power of said

    judge to do so or not, and it does not appear that he has abused his discretion (16 Corpus Juris,842).

    Neither did the trial judge err when he admitted in evidence the transcript of stenographic notesof the defendants' statements, since they contain admissions made by themselves, and theperson who took them in shorthand attested at the trial that they were faithfully taken down.Besides the contents are corroborated by unimpeached witnesses who heard the statements.

    As to whether the probatory facts are sufficient to establish the facts alleged in the information,we find that the testimony given by the witnesses for the prosecution should be believed,

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    because the officers of the Constabulary and the chief of the customs secret service, who gaveit, only did their duty. Aside from this, the defendants do not deny their participation in the illegalimportation of the opium, though the accused Lua Chu pretends that he was only a guarantor tosecure the payment of the gratuity which the former collector of customs, Joaquin Natividad,had asked of him for Juan Samson and certain customs employees. This assertion, however, iscontradicted by his own statement made to Juan Samson and overheard by Captain

    Buenconsejo, that he was one of the owners of the opium that had been unlawfully imported.

    But the defendants' principal defense is that they were induced by Juan Samson to import theopium in question. Juan Samson denies this, and his conduct in connection with the introductionof the prohibited drug into the port of Cebu, bears him out. A public official who induces aperson to commit a crime for purposes of gain, does not take the steps necessary to seize theinstruments of the crime and to arrest the offender, before having obtained the profit he had inmind. It is true that Juan Samson smoothed the way for the introduction of the prohibited drug,but that was after the accused had already planned its importation and ordered said drug,leaving only its introduction into the country through the Cebu customhouse to be managed, andhe did not do so to help them carry their plan to a successful issue, but rather to assure theseizure of the imported drug and the arrest of the smugglers.

    The doctrines referring to the entrapment of offenders and instigation to commit crime, as laiddown by the courts of the United States, are summarized in 16 Corpus Juris, page 88, section57, as follows:

    ENTRAPMENT AND INSTIGATION. While it has been said that the practice ofentrapping persons into crime for the purpose of instituting criminal prosecutions is to bedeplored, and while instigation, as distinguished from mere entrapment, has often beencondemned and has sometimes been held to prevent the act from being criminal orpunishable, the general rule is that it is no defense to the perpetrator of a crime thatfacilitates for its commission were purposely placed in his way, or that the criminal actwas done at the "decoy solicitation" of persons seeking to expose the criminal, or that

    detectives feigning complicity in the act were present and apparently assisting in itscommission. Especially is this true in that class of cases where the offense is one of akind habitually committed, and the solicitation merely furnishes evidence of a course ofconduct. Mere deception by the detective will not shield defendant, if the offense wascommitted by him free from the influence or the instigation of the detective. The fact thatan agent of an owner acts as supposed confederate of a thief is no defense to the latterin a prosecution for larceny, provided the original design was formed independently ofsuch agent; and where a person approached by the thief as his confederate notifies theowner or the public authorities, and, being authorized by them to do so, assists the thiefin carrying out the plan, the larceny is nevertheless committed. It is generally held that itis no defense to a prosecution for an illegal sale of liquor that the purchase was made bya "spotter," detective, or hired informer; but there are cases holding the contrary.

    As we have seen, Juan Samson neither induced nor instigated the herein defendants-appellantsto import the opium in question, as the latter contend, but pretended to have an understandingwith the collector of customs, Joaquin Natividad who had promised them that he wouldremove all the difficulties in the way of their enterprise so far as the customhouse wasconcerned not to gain the P2,000 intended for him out of the transaction, but in order thebetter to assure the seizure of the prohibited drug and the arrest of the surreptitious importers.There is certainly nothing immoral in this or against the public good which should prevent the

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    Government from prosecuting and punishing the culprits, for this is not a case where aninnocent person is induced to commit a crime merely to prosecute him, but it simply a trap set tocatch a criminal.

    Wherefore, we are of opinion and so hold, that the mere fact that the chief of the customs secretservice pretended to agree a plan for smuggling illegally imported opium through the

    customhouse, in order the better to assure the seizure of said opium and the arrest of itsimporters, is no bar to the prosecution and conviction of the latter.

    By virtue whereof, finding no error in the judgment appealed from, the same is hereby affirmed,with costs against the appellants. So ordered.

    Avancea, C.J., Johnson, Street, Malcolm, Villamor, Romualdez, and Imperial, JJ.,concur.

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    G.R. No. L-46638 July 9, 1986

    AQUILINA R. ARANETA, petitioner,vs.COURT OF APPEALS and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents.

    GUTIERREZ, JR., J.:

    This is a petition to review the decision of the then Court of Appeals, now Intermediate AppellateCourt, finding the accused appellant guilty of the crime of bribery. The dispositive portion of thedecision reads:

    WHEREFORE, modifying the judgment of conviction, We hereby find thedefendant guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of bribery under thesecond paragraph of Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code; and there being no

    mitigating or aggravating circumstances, We hereby impose upon her the penaltyof imprisonment consisting of four (4) months and twenty-one (21) days and afine of P 100.00. The defendant shall also suffer the penalty of special temporarydisqualification from holding office. With costs.

    Atty. Aquilina Araneta was charged with violation of Section 3, Subsection B of Republic Act No.3019, otherwise known as the "Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act" in an information whichreads:

    That on or about the 26th day of August, 1971, in the City of Cabanatuan,Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-namedaccused, being then employed as Hearing Officer in the Department of Labor,

    with station at Cabanatuan City, and therefore, a public officer, did then and therewilfully, unlawfully, and feloniously demand and receive for herself the amount ofOne Hundred Pesos (P100.00), Philippine Currency, from one Mrs. Gertrudes M.Yoyongco, as a condition and/or consideration for her to act on the claim forcompensation benefits filed by the said Mrs. Gertrudes M. Yoyongco pertainingto the death of her husband, which claim was then pending in the office whereinthe abovenamed accused was employed and in which, under the law, she hasthe official capacity to intervene.

    The evidence for the prosecution is summarized by the respondent appellate court in itsdecision as follows:

    Complainant Gertrudes M. Yoyongco is the widow of Antonio Yoyongco, anemployee of the National Irrigation Administration assigned as instrument man atthe Upper Pampanga River Project. Upon the death of her husband on April 27,1971, she approached the appellant, a hearing officer of the Workmen'sCompensation Unit at Cabanatuan City, to inquire about the procedure for filing aclaim for death compensation. Learning the requirements, she prepared theapplication forms and attachments and filed them with the Workmen'sCompensation Unit at San Fernando, Pampanga. (pp. 213, TSN, October 3,1973).

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    After a few days, the complainant went back to San Fernando to verify the statusof her claim. She was informed that the death certificate of her husband, theirmarriage contract and the birth certificates of their children were needed. Shesecured these documents and brought them to San Fernando. She was told thather claim papers had been forwarded to Cabanatuan City, particularly to theappellant, for consolidation of the requirements. So she went to see the

    appellant. (pp. 13-18, TSN, October 3, 1973).

    When she saw the appellant, the complainant was told that she had to pay P100.00 so that her claim would be acted upon. The complainant told theappellant that she had no money then, but if the appellant would process herclaim she would give her the P100.00 upon its approval. The appellant wasadamant. She would not agree to the complainant's proposal. According to her,on previous occasions certain claimants made similar promises but they failed tolive up to them. (pp. 18-24, TSN, October 3,1973).

    The complainant went to her brother-in-law, Col. Yoyongco, erstwhile chief of theCriminal Investigation Service, Philippine Constabulary, to inform him of the

    demand of the appellant. Col. Yoyongco gave the complainant two 50-peso bills(Exhibits B and B-1 ) and instructed her to go to Col. David Laureaga, ProvincialCommander of Nueva Ecija, for help. (pp. 24-25, TSN, October 3, 1973).

    After listening to the complainant, Col. Laureaga instructed Lt. Carlito Carlos toentrap the appellant. The two 50-peso bills were marked with the notations 'CC-NE-l' and 'CC-NE-2', photographed and dusted with ultra-violet powder. With thispreparation, Lt. Carlos, Sgt. Beleno, CIC Balcos and the complainant proceededto the office of the appellant. When they arrived thereat, the appellant was talkingwith three persons who had a hearing before her. They allowed the threepersons to finish their business with the appellant. After the group had left, thecomplainant and CIC Balcos who pretended to be the complainant's nephew

    approached the appellant. Lt. Carlos and Sgt. Beleno stationed themselvesoutside the room and observed events through a glass window. Aside from theappellant, the complainant and CIC Balcos, there were three other personsinside the office. These were Atty. Herminio Garcia, Renato de Lara andGregorio Ocampo. The complainant again requested the appellant to process herclaim. The appellant countered by asking her if she already had the P100.00. Inanswer, the complainant brought out the two 50-peso bills from her bag andhanded them to the appellant. As the appellant took hold of the money, CICBalcos grabbed her hand and told her she was under arrest. Whereupon, Lt.Carlos and Sgt. Beleno immediately entered the room and helped in the arrest ofthe appellant. (pp. 3-12, TSN, November 6, 1973).

    The appellant was brought to the PC headquarters where her hands wereexamined with a special light for the presence of ultra-violet powder. Theexamination was witnessed by Assistant Provincial Fiscal Talavera. The resultwas positive. (pp. 12-13, TSN, November 6, 1973).

    On the other hand, the petitioner presented her own version of the facts:

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    On her part, the appellant testified that there was indeed an offer of P 100.00 bythe complainant. She declined the offer and never touched the bills when theywere laid on her table. If she was found positive for ultra-violet powder, it wasbecause CIC Balcos rubbed the bills on her hand and dress. He did it four timesonce at her office, once at the Milky way Restaurant and twice at the PCHeadquarters. (Decision, Court of Appeals, Annex "A", p. 5)

    When the complainant went to the office of the appellant in Cabanatuan City, shedemanded the release of the decision of her case, but appellant told her that shecannot do so for the reason that she is only a hearing officer to receive evidenceabout the claim for compensation due to the death of her husband, and the realoffice to decide the case is that Workmen's Compensation Branch in SanFernando, Pampanga. The complainant went to her brother-in-law, Col.Yoyongco, Chief of the Criminal Investigation Service, Philippine Constabulary,Cabanatuan City to inform him of the demand of the appellant for P100.00. Col.Yoyongco gave complainant two fifty (P50.00) peso bills. After listening to thecomplainant, Col. Laureaga instructed Lt. Carlito Carlos to entrap appellant bythe use of fifty (P50.00) peso bills which were marked with the notation 'CC-NE-l'

    and 'CC-NE-2', photographed and dusted with ultra-violet powder, the two fifty-peso bills. After this preparation Lt. Carlos, Sgt. Beleno and the complainantproceeded to the office of the complainant. When they arrived in the place thecomplainant was talking to the 3 persons who had then a hearing before her.

    After the appellant finished the hearing the complainant and the CIC Balgos whopretended to be the complainant's nephew approached the appellant. Then thecomplainant again requested the appellant to process her claim by this time thecomplainant took the 2 fifty-peso bills from her bag and gave to the appellant butthe appellant pushed the money, and CIC Balgos grabbed her hand and told herappellant was under arrest. The appellant was brought to the headquarterswhere her hands were examined with special light for the presence of ultra-violetpowder. The examination was witnessed by the Assistant Provincial Fiscal of

    Cabanatuan City and the result was positive. (TSN, pp. 12- 13, November 6,1973)

    On the other hand, Renato de Lara, a witness for the appellant testified that hewas in the office of the appellant at the time the incident took place and he sawthe amount of P100.00 being offered by the complainant to the appellant but thelatter refused to accept the money. When appellant refused, CIC Balgos took it,rubbed it on the hand of the appellant and announced that he was arresting her.

    Appellant further testify (sic) that complainant offered P100.00 to her to expeditethe preparation of the decision of her claim and said complainant put two fiftypeso bills in her table after which she was arrested and investigated and a

    complaint was filed against her for violation of the Anti-Graft and CorruptPractices Act.

    After trial, the lower court convicted the petitioner as charged. The dispositive portion of thedecision reads:

    WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds the accused Atty. Aquiline R. Aranetaguilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged in the information and

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    hereby sentences her to suffer imprisonment for ONE (1) YEAR, with perpetualdisqualification from public office, and to pay the costs. The P100.00 consistingof two fifty-peso bills which were marked as Exhibits 'B' and 'B-l' are herebyordered returned to Mrs. Gertrudes Yoyongco who owns them.

    As indicated earlier, the respondent appellate court modified the decision of the lower court and

    convicted the petitioner instead of the crime of bribery under the second paragraph of Article210 of the Revised Penal Code.

    The petitioner now assigns the following errors:

    I

    THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING THE PETITIONERON THE BASIS OF ENTRAPMENT EVIDENCE DEVISED BY MEMBERS OFTHE PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY IN CABANATUAN CITY.

    II

    THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN CONVICTING THE PETITIONER OFBRIBERY WHERE SUCH CRIME WAS NOT CHARGED IN THEINFORMATION FILED BY THE FISCAL AGAINST THE PETITIONER.

    III

    THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT ACQUITTING THE PETITIONERFOR THE PROSECUTION FAILED TO PROVE THE GUILT OF THEPETITIONER BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

    Relative to the first error, the petitioner submits that the criminal intent originated in the mind ofthe entrapping person and for which reason, no conviction can be had against her.

    This argument has no merit.

    The petitioner confuses entrapment with instigation, We agree with the submission of theSolicitor General that:

    xxx xxx xxx

    ... There is entrapment when law officers employ ruses and schemes to ensurethe apprehension of the criminal while in the actual commission of the crime.

    There is instigation when the accused was induced to commit the crime (Peoplevs. Galicia, [CA], 40 OG 4476). The difference in the nature of the two lies in theorigin of the criminal intent. In entrapment, the mens reaoriginates from the mindof the criminal. The Idea and the resolve to commit the crime comes from him. Ininstigation, the law officer conceives the commission of the crime and suggeststo the accused who adopts the Idea and carries it into execution.

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    The legal effects of entrapment and instigation are also different. As alreadystated, entrapment does not exempt the criminal from liability. Instigation does.

    Even more emphatic on this point is People vs. Lua Chu and Uy Se Tieng(56 Phil. 44) wherethis Court ruled that the mere fact that the Chief of Customs Secret Service pretended to agreeto a plan for smuggling illegally imported opium through the customs house, in order to assure

    the seizure of the said opium and the arrest of its importers is no bar to the prosecution andconviction of the latter. In that case, this Court quoted with approval 16 Corpus Juris, p. 88, Sec.57, which states that:

    ENTRAPMENT AND INSTIGATION.- While it has been said that the practice ofentrapping persons into crime for the purpose of instituting criminal prosecutionsis to be deplored, and while instigation, as distinguished from mere entrapment,has often been condemned and has sometimes been held to prevent the actfrom being criminal or punishable, the general rule is that it is no defense to theperpetrator of a crime that facilities for its commission were purposely placed inhis way, or that the criminal act was done at the 'decoy solicitation of personsseeking to expose the criminal, or that detectives feigning complicity in the act

    were present and apparently assisting in its commission. Especially is this true inthat class of cases where the offense is one of a kind habitually committed, andthe solicitation merely furnishes evidence of a course of conduct. Mere deceptionby the detective will not shield defendant, if the offense was committed by himfree from the influence of the instigation of the detective. ...

    Anent the second assignment of error, the petitioner argues that she was denied due process oflaw because she was not charged with bribery in the information but for a crime falling under the

    Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

    Again, this argument is erroneous. The contention of the petitioner was squarely answeredin United States vs. Panlilio(28 Phil. 608) where this Court held that the fact that the informationin its preamble charged a violation of Act No. 1760 does not prevent us from finding theaccused guilty of a violation of an article of the Penal Code. To the same effect is our rulingin United States vs. Guzman(25 Phil. 22) where the appellant was convicted of the crime ofestafa in the lower court, but on appeal, he was instead convicted of the crime of embezzlementof public funds as defined and penalized by Act No. 1740.

    As long as the information clearly recites all the elements of the crime of bribery and the factsproved during the trial show its having been committed beyond reasonable doubt, an error in thedesignation of the crime's name is not a denial of due process.

    In United States vs. Paua (6 Phil. 740), this Court held that:

    The foregoing facts, duly established as they were by the testimony of crediblewitnesses who heard and saw everything that occurred, show beyondperadventure of doubt that the crime of attempted bribery, as defined in article387, in connection with Article 383 of the Penal Code, has been committed, itbeing immaterial whether it is alleged in the complaint that section 315 of Act No.355 of the Philippine Commission was violated by the defendant, as the samerecites facts and circumstances sufficient to constitute the crime of bribery asdefined and punished in the aforesaid articles of the Penal Code.

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    Our review of this decision shows that the crime for which the petitioner was convicted has beenproved beyond reasonable doubt.

    WHEREFORE, the petition for review is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The decision ofthe respondent court is AFFIRMED without costs.

    Considering however, that this case has been pending since 1971, that the amount involved isonly P100.00 and that the defendant-appellant is a mother of four, it is recommended that thepetitioner either be granted executive clemency or be given the privilege of probation if she isqualified.

    Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Ministry of Justice for appropriate action.

    SO ORDERED.

    Feria (Chairman), Fernan, Alampay and Paras, JJ., concur.

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    [G.R. No. 146309. July 18, 2002]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. ROBERTO MENDOZA

    PACIS, appel lant .

    D E C I S I O N

    PANGANIBAN,J.:

    Entrapment is a legally sanctioned method resorted to by the police for the purposeof trapping and capturing lawbreakers in the execution of their criminal plans. Baredenials by the accused cannot overcome the presumption of regularity in the arrestingofficers performance of official functions.

    The Case

    Roberto Mendoza Pacis appeals the August 18, 2000 Decision [1]of the RegionalTrial Court (RTC) of Pasig City (Branch 265) in Criminal Case No. 6292-D, in which hewas sentenced to reclusion perpetua after being found guilty of violating Section 15,

    Article III of Republic Act 6425 (RA 6425), as amended by Republic Act No. 7659 (RA7659).

    The Information dated June 3, 1998, and signed by State Prosecutor MarilynRO. Campomanes, charged appellant as follows:

    Thaton the afternoon of April 07, 1998, inside Unit #375 Caimito Ville,Caimito Street, Valle Verde II, Pasig City and within the jurisdiction of theHonorable Court, the above named accused did then and there willfully,unlawfully and feloniously sell, distribute and dispatch 497.2940 grams ofMethamphetamine Hydrochloride otherwise known as SHABU, a regulateddrug to undercover NBI agents who acted as poseur-buyer[s], without thecorresponding license, and/or prescription to sell, distribute and dispatch theaforementioned regulated drug, to the damage and prejudice of the Republicof the Philippines.[2]

    During his arraignment on July 30, 1998, appellant refused to plead despite theassistance of counsel.[3]Hence, a plea of not guilty was entered for him.[4]After due trial,the RTC rendered its Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:

    WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Court finds the [a]ccused,ROBERTO MENDOZA PACIS, GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of thecrime of Violation of Section 15, Article III [of] Republic Act No. 6425, as

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    amended by Republic Act No, 7650, and hereby SENTENCES him toRECLUSION PERPETUA and to pay a fine of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSANDPESOS (P500,000.00), plus the cost of suit.

    The Shabu, subject matter of the Information in this case, is hereby ordered

    FORFEITED in favor of the [g]overnment and ordered TURNED OVER to theDangerous Drugs Board for proper disposal as provided by law.[5]

    The Facts

    Version of the Prosecut ion

    The prosecutions version of the facts is summarized by the Office of the SolicitorGeneral (OSG) as follows:[6]

    On April 6, 1998, Atty. Jose Justo S. Yap, supervising agent of theDangerous Drugs Division-National Bureau of Investigation, receivedinformation that a certain Roberto Mendoza Pacis was offering to sell one-half(1/2) kilogram of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu for the amountof nine hundred fifty pesos (P950.00) per gram or a total of four hundredseventy five thousand pesos (P475,000.00). The NBI Chief of the DangerousDrugs Division approved the buy-bust operation. Atty. Yap and Senior AgentMidgonio S. Congzon, Jr. were assigned to handle the case.

    In the afternoon of the same day, Atty. Yap, Senior Agent Congzon and the

    informant went to the house of appellant at 375 Caimito Ville, Caimito Street,Valle Verde II, Pasig City. The informant introduced Atty. Yap to appellant asinterested buyer. They negotiated the sale of one-half (1/2) kilogram ofshabu. The total price was reduced to four hundred fifty thousand pesos(P450,000.00). It was agreed that payment and delivery of shabu would bemade on the following day, at the same place.

    On April 17, 1998, around 6:30 in the evening, the NBI agents and theinformant went to appellants house. Appellant handed to Atty. Yap a paperbag with markings yellow cab. When he opened the bag, Atty. Yap found a

    transparent plastic bag with white crystalline substance inside. Whileexamining it, appellant asked for the payment. Atty. Yap instructed Senior

    Agent Congzon to get the money from the car. When Senior Agent Congzonreturned, he gave the boodle money to Atty. Yap who then handed themoney to the appellant. Upon appellants receipt of the payment, the officersidentified themselves as NBI agents and arrested him.

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    Per instruction of Atty. Yap, Senior Agent Congzon transmitted the shabu tothe Forensic Chemistry Laboratory for examination.

    NBI Forensic Chemist Emilia A. Rosales testified that on April 8, 1998, shereceived the specimen from Senior Agent Congzon together with the letter

    request. The specimen weighed 497.292940 grams. After examination, thespecimen was found positive for methamphetamine hydrochloride. (Citationsomitted)

    Version of th e Defense

    Appellant, on the other hand, presents the following version of the facts:[7]

    Accused-appellant, ROBERTO MENDOZA PACIS is a legitimate

    businessman having been engaged in the sale of imported automotive forquite a long time. On April 6, 1998, he was in his house at 375 CaimitoStreet, Caimito Ville, Valle Verde II, Pasig City. In the afternoon of April 6,1998, he was in Caloocan City in Dome Street, in the house of defensewitness Ramon Ty. He was there to pick-up witness Ty because they had anagreement that he was to bring him to far away Urdaneta, Pangasinan. Theyleft right after lunch at about 2:00 oclock in the afternoon. Witness Tymentioned to him that they were to meet Mr. Andrada and Dr. Lachica. Theyreached Pangasinan at about 5:30 oclock in the afternoon. They saw thepersons they were supposed to meet in Urdaneta, Pangasinan and afterseeing those persons, they stayed overnight. In his address at Valle Verde II,accused-appellant had a live-in partner named ANNIE GONZALES. He was acar owner and had a former driver named Rey, who drove for him for lessthan a year. He had to dismiss his driver Rey because he was always late orwould be absent for work without informing him ahead of time. After stayingovernight in far away Urdaneta, Pangasinan, they left for Manila on April 7,1998 at 7:00 oclock in the morning.When they reached Manila proper, hedropped off witness Ramon Ty in his house at Caloocan. Then, he wentstraight home to Valle Verde to take a nap. At more or less 3:00 oclock in the

    afternoon of April 7, 1998, he was at home at Valle Verde, together with hislive-in partner, ANNIE GONZALES. Later that afternoon, three (3)-armedpersons entered his condominium unit. There was a commotion downstairsand his live-in partner Annie Gonzales opened the door and he wasawakened. Annie told him that there were three (3) people with guns lookingfor him and they went up to the room right away. The three-armed men toldhim that they were NBI agents but did not show any identification. Agent

    http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2002/jul2002/146309.htm#_edn7http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2002/jul2002/146309.htm#_edn7http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2002/jul2002/146309.htm#_edn7http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2002/jul2002/146309.htm#_edn7
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    Justo Yap, Jr. was one of them. Agent Congzon Jr. was also one of them, butNBI Special Investigator Larosa was not one of them. When they entered theroom, the gun of NBI Agent Yap was already pointed at him while the two (2)other agents were holding the butts of their guns. They were in civilianclothes. They told him to step-out and that they were looking for

    [s]habu. They were not able to find any in his room or downstairs. When theywere looking for the [s]habu, the accused appellant responded WHATSHABU? What [s]habu are you looking for? When he stepped out of theroom to go down to the living room, he saw his former driver Rey together withhis father. Rey[,] as stated before was his former driver and he had seen thefather of Rey once or twice before. Rey and his father were also in the livingroom. A paper bag with the lettering CAB was presented to the accusedappellant in his house. He noticed that the bag came from Rey and washiding it behind him when he gave it to agent Yap. Agent Yap got it from thecabinet near the kitchen. Agent Yap wanted him to admit that it belongs tohim and that it came from his condominium. Agent Yap also showed him thebag with white powder and what was shown to him was a white substance inpowdery form. After it was shown to him and he was asked to admit that itwas taken from his place, he and his live-in partner ANNIE GONZALES werebrought to the NBI at Taft Avenue. He did not see Rey and his fatheranymore at the NBI Office. When they were at the NBI, the Agents asked theaccused-appellant to admit that the shabu was taken from his apartment. Hetold them that it was not from his apartment. Agent Yap told him that if he willnot admit he will stay in jail longer or will be put behind bars. The accused

    appellant was brought to the NBI Headquarters on April 7, 1998. When hewas taken from his house by the three NBI Agents, he was not informed orappraised of his constitutional rights such as the right to counsel and toremain sile


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