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Prof. Joselito Guianan Chan's The Labor Code of the Philippines, Annotated Labor Standards & Social Legislation Volume I of a 3-Volume Series 2019 Edition (3rd Revised Edition)
 

 
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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
July-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 96649-50 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LYNDON V. MACOY

  • G.R. No. 109660 July 1, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROMEO NELL

  • G.R. No. 124914 July 2, 1997 - JESUS UGADDAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123074 July 4, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO M. FERNANDEZ

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-94-1017 July 7, 1997 - OSCAR B. LAMBINO v. AMADO A. DE VERA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1245 July 7, 1997 - BENIGNO G. GAVIOLA v. NOEL NAVARETTE

  • G.R. No. 105760 July 7, 1997 - PNB v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107193 July 7, 1997 - EUGENIO TENEBRO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112006 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

  • G.R. No. 114275 July 7, 1997 - IÑIGO F. CARLET v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116962 July 7, 1997 - MARIA SOCORRO CACA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118940-41 & 119407 July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MEJIA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119872 July 7, 1997 - REMEDIOS NAVOA RAMOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122206 July 7, 1997 - RAFAEL ARCEGA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105284 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. IGNACIO ZUMIL

  • G.R. No. 106099 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. AGUSTIN SOTTO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109814 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FERNANDO MAALAT

  • G.R. No. 112797 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIDA ALEGRO

  • G.R. No. 114265 July 8, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. GREGORIO MAGALLANES

  • G.R. No. 115307 July 8, 1997 - MANUEL LAO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 115703 July 8, 1997 - EPIFANIO L. CASOLITA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117501 July 8, 1997 - SOLID HOMES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122308 July 8, 1997 - PURITA S. MAPA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. SC-96-1 July 10, 1997 - DAMASO S. FLORES v. BERNARDO P. ABESAMIS

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1236 July 11, 1997 - MADONNA MACALUA v. DOMINGO TIU, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-97-1249 July 11, 1997 - PACITA SY TORRES v. FROILAN S. CABLING

  • G.R. No. 104865 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. VICTORIANO PONTILAR, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 113511-12 July 11, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANILO SINOC

  • G.R. No. 115033 July 11, 1997 - PONCIANO T. MATANGUIHAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123204 July 11, 1997 - NATIONWIDE SECURITY AND ALLIED SERVICES, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1158 July 14, 1997 - EUFEMIA BERCASIO v. HERBERTO BENITO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106153 July 14, 1997 - FLORENCIO G. BERNARDO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108838 July 14, 1997 - PAGCOR v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 116528-31 July 14, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. MARIETO ADORA

  • G.R. No. 108492 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NOEL BANIEL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118078 July 15, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. OSCAR VILLANUEVA

  • G.R. No. 123379 July 15, 1997 - BAROTAC SUGAR MILLS, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 115439-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 120437-41 July 16, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARMANDO ALVARIO

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1382 July 17, 1997 - REXEL M. PACURIBOT v. RODRIGO F. LIM, JR.

  • G.R. No. 105002 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIARANGAN DANSAL

  • G.R. No. 108634 July 17, 1997 - ANTONIO P. TAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111165 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROGELIO MERCADO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113257 July 17, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JOHNNY LASCOTA

  • G.R. No. 114742 July 17, 1997 - CARLITOS E. SILVA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118860 July 17, 1997 - ROLINDA B. PONO v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120262 July 17, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125195 July 17, 1997 - SAMAHAN NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA BANDOLINO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-1362 July 18, 1997 - DSWD, ET AL. v. ANTONIO M. BELEN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-95-1283 July 21, 1997 - DAVID C. NAVAL, ET AL. v. JOSE R. PANDAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108488 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODENCIO NARCA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111002 July 21, 1997 - PACIFIC MARITIME SERVICES, INC., ET AL. v. NICANOR RANAY, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117402 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROLLIE L. ALVARADO

  • G.R. No. 119184 July 21, 1997 - HEIRS OF FELICIDAD CANQUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121768 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOMINGO CASTILLO, JR.

  • G.R. Nos. 122250 & 122258 July 21, 1997 - EDGARDO C. NOLASCO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124347 July 21, 1997 - CMS STOCK BROKERAGE, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125510 July 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENATO LISING

  • G.R. No. 111933 July 23, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112429-30 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RODOLFO P. CAYETANO

  • G.R. Nos. 118736-37 July 23, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. TANG WAI LAN

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1205 July 24, 1997 - OSCAR P. DE LOS REYES v. ESTEBAN H. ERISPE, JR.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1383 July 24, 1997 - JOSE LAGATIC v. JOSE PEÑAS, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104663 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DAVID SALVATIERRA

  • G.R. No. 105004 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DIONISIO MAROLLANO

  • G.R. No. 107723 July 24, 1997 - EMS MANPOWER & PLACEMENT SERVICES v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111211 July 24, 1997 - ABS-CBN EMPLOYEES UNION, ET AL., v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113235 July 24, 1997 - VICTORINA MEDINA, ET AL. v. CITY SHERIFF, MANILA, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 113366-68 July 24, 1997 - GREGORIO ISABELO, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116635 July 24, 1997 - CONCHITA NOOL, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116736 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BENJAMIN ORTEGA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118458 July 24, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RICKY DELA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 120276 July 24, 1997 - SINGA SHIP MANAGEMENT PHILS., INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121075 July 24, 1997 - DELTA MOTORS CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121867 July 24, 1997 - SMITH KLINE & FRENCH LAB., LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 127262 July 24, 1997 - HUBERT WEBB, ET AL. v. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL., ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter Nos. 95-6-55-MTC & P-96-1173 July 28, 1997 - REPORT ON AUDIT IN THE MTC OF PEÑARANDA, NUEVA ECIJA

  • G.R. No. 102858 July 28, 1997 - DIRECTOR OF LANDS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 103209 July 28, 1997 - APOLONIO BONDOC, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110823 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROCHEL TRAVERO

  • G.R. No. 112323 July 28, 1997 - HELPMATE, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113344 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ATANACIO LUTO

  • G.R. No. 116668 July 28, 1997 - ERLINDA A. AGAPAY v. CARLINA V. PALANG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116726 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEONARDO P. DE LA CRUZ

  • G.R. No. 118822 July 28, 1997 - G.O.A.L., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119000 July 28, 1997 - ROSA UY v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119649 July 28, 1997 - RICKY GALICIA, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119868 July 28, 1997 - PAL, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 120072 July 28, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO I. MESA

  • G.R. No. 123361 July 28, 1997 - TEOFILO CACHO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126556 July 28, 1997 - NELSON C. DAVID v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117742 July 29, 1997 - GEORGE M. TABERRAH v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • SBC Case No. 519 July 31, 1997 - PATRICIA FIGUEROA v. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR.

  • G.R. No. 97369 July 31, 1997 - P.I. MANPOWER PLACEMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 99030 July 31, 1997 - PLDT v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 106582 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RUPERTO BALDERAS

  • G.R. No. 107802 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JASON NAREDO

  • G.R. No. 108399 July 31, 1997 - RAFAEL M. ALUNAN III, ET AL. v. ROBERT MIRASOL, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108619 July 31, 1997 - EPIFANIO LALICAN v. FILOMENO A. VERGARA, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 113689 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FELIPE SANGIL, SR.

  • G.R. No. 113958 July 31, 1997 - BANANA GROWERS COLLECTIVE, ET AL. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116060 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CLEMENTE DE LA PEÑA

  • G.R. No. 116292 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JIMMY PEÑERO

  • G.R. No. 119068 July 31, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE CASTRO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121027 July 31, 1997 - CORAZON DEZOLLER TISON, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121157 July 31, 1997 - HEIRS OF SEGUNDA MANINGDING, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123561 July 31, 1997 - DELIA R. NERVES v. CSC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 124678 July 31, 1997 - DELIA BANGALISAN, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 112006   July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    THIRD DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 112006. July 7, 1997.]

    PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. ROBERTO DE VERA Y SANTOS @ BOYET, Accused-Appellant.

    The Solicitor General for Plaintiff-Appellee.

    Jesus M. Ponce for Accused-Appellant.

    SYNOPSIS


    Appellant was charged with and tried for unauthorized sale of shabu in violation of Sec. 15 of R.A. 6425. Over his defenses of denial and alibi, the trial court rendered its decision convicting appellant of the crime charged and sentenced him to suffer life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00 which were the penalties prescribed by law at the time of the rendition of judgment a quo. Hence, appellant interposed this appeal. The prosecution had presented evidences that established the elements by the required quantum of proof i.e. guilt beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt. The identity of the culprit cannot be doubted having been caught in flagrante delicto in an entrapment operation conducted by the police. Such positive identification prevails over appellants lone, uncorroborated and weak defense of denial and alibi.

    The Supreme court affirmed the conviction of appellant de Vera of the crime charged. However, pursuant to the second paragraph of Section 20 of R.A. 6425 as amended by Sec. 17 of R.A. 7650 which was given retroactive application being favorable to the accused and in accordance with the ruling laid down by the Court, the proper penalty for the sale of less than a gram of shabu would be prision correccional.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; FACTUAL FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL COURT, WHEN SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE ON RECORD, CARRIES GREAT WEIGHT ON APPEAL. — Settled is the rule that the factual findings of the trial court, when supported by substantial evidence on record carries great weight on appeal absent any material facts or circumstances that were overlooked or disregarded by the trial court which if considered might vary the outcome of the case. Likewise, the appraisal and evaluation of the credibility of witnesses below is herein upheld not only because of the trial court’s unique position of having observed that elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses’ deportment on the stand, which opportunity is denied to the reviewing court but more so since the ulterior motives appellant ascribes on the part of the arresting officers are self-serving and deserve no weight.

    2. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES; POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION PREVAILS OVER APPELLANT’S LONE, UNCORROBORATED AND WEAK DEFENSES OF DENIAL AND ALIBI. — Appellant was positively identified by the prosecution’s eyewitnesses as the person who sold to the poseur-buyer a sachet containing white crystalline substance. His identity as the culprit cannot be doubted having been caught in flagrante delicto in an entrapment operation conducted by the police. Such positive identification prevails over appellant’s lone, uncorroborated and weak defenses of denial and alibi. Both defenses which are the common and standard ploy in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act have been invariably viewed by the courts with disfavor as they can be fabricated or concocted with familiar ease.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; APPELLANT’S DEFENSE OF DENIAL, CANNOT BE BELIEVED IN THE LIGHT OF POSITIVE TESTIMONIES FROM CREDIBLE EYEWITNESSES WHO ARE THEMSELVES ACTIVE PARTICIPANTS IN THE ENTRAPMENT OPERATION. — Appellant’s defense of denial, like his alibi cannot be believed in the light of positive testimonies from credible eyewitnesses who are themselves active participants in the entrapment operation. Applicable herein is the rule that: "Denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative and self-serving evidence which deserves no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters."cralaw virtua1aw library

    4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ALIBI; TWO-FOLD ELEMENTS THEREOF. — The two-fold elements of alibi respecting time and place, are: a) that he was in another place at the time of the commission of the offense, and b) that he must demonstrate that it would be physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of the alleged crime.

    5. ID.; ID.; WEIGHT AND SUFFICIENCY OF EVIDENCE; THE TESTIMONY OF A POLICE OFFICER CARRIES MORE WEIGHT THAN THE NEGATIVE ASSERTION OF THE ACCUSED. — In a vain attempt to exculpate himself from his felonious act, appellant argues that the prosecution witness (Dizon) who acted as the poseur-buyer was allegedly wrongfully motivated because the former fought with a certain person who was a nephew of the latter. The Court cannot believe this excuse. Aside from the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed, the testimony of said witness who is a police officer carries more weight than the negative assertion of appellant. With the proof of sale and the presentation of the corpus delicti, appellant’s conviction is in order.

    6. CRIMINAL LAW; DANGEROUS DRUGS ACT OF 1972, AS AMENDED; ILLEGAL SALE OF SHABU; ELEMENTS THEREOF. — The elements necessary in every prosecution for the illegal sale of shabu are: 1. identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and consideration; and 2. the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor.

    7. ID.; ID.; THE DELIVERY OF THE CONTRABAND TO THE POSEUR-BUYER AND THE RECEIPT BY THE SELLER OF THE MARKED MONEY CONSUMMATE THE BUY-BUST TRANSACTION BETWEEN THE ENTRAPPING OFFICERS AND THE ACCUSED. — With respect to the corpus delicti of the crime, the same has been established with certainty and conclusiveness. Appellant, after leaving, the poseur-buyer at the crime scene for about three to four minutes, came back and handed to the latter the sachet containing the shabu. The buyer gave appellant Two hundred pesos (P200.00) for the drug. The delivery of the contraband to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the seller of the marked money successfully consummate the "buy-bust" transaction between the entrapping officers and appellant. As shown in the laboratory examination, the white crystalline substance contained in the sachet is positive for the regulated drug of shabu. Appellant, thru counsel, even made an admission to that effect.

    8. ID.; ID.; THE PROPER PENALTY FOR THE SALE OF LESS THAN A GRAM OF SHABU IS PRISION CORRECCIONAL. — As for the penalty, the life imprisonment and fine imposed on appellant by the trial court would have been correct. However, pursuant to the second paragraph of Section 20 of R.A. 6425 as amended by Section 17 of R.A. 7659 which is given retroactive application being favorable to the accused and in accordance with the ruling laid down in People v. Martin Simon, the proper penalty for the sale of less than a gram of shabu would be prision correccional. There being neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstance, the penalty should be imposed in its medium period. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the imposable penalty for appellant in lieu of "life imprisonment and fine" should be modified to an imprisonment of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as the minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the maximum. Notwithstanding the absence of any petition for a writ of habeas corpus or any similar judicial relief, appellant’s release from imprisonment is in order since he had already served the maximum of the imposable penalty.


    D E C I S I O N


    FRANCISCO, J.:


    This case involves the illegal sale of shabu.

    The facts lucidly summarized and given credence by the trial court are as follows: 1

    Prosecution witness SPO1 Antonio Paras, a policeman of Kalookan City, testified that he and another policeman Renato Dizon were standing at the corner of Osusan and Martinez Streets, Kalookan City at 9:30 o’clock in the evening of March 1, 1993 (p. 3. tsn, June 22, 1993). They were conducting a buy-bust operation on the alleged drugs activity of the accused upon the instruction of police Chief Inspector Edgar Paulino when an informant told them that a certain "Boyet" whose complete name is Renato de Vera was selling shabu [id.]. Thereafter, the informant accompanied him and his companion to the place where the accused was conducting the alleged illegal activity of selling shabu (p. 4, tsn, id.). The witness further alleged that upon reaching the place, he hid himself at the strategic place and Renato Dizon posed himself as buyer of shabu (id.). He saw when Renato Dizon handed over the buy bust money to the accused (p. 6, tsn, id.). After the lapse of three minutes, the shabu was in turn delivered by the accused to the poseur buyer, Renato Dizon (id.). Consequently, Renato Dizon handcuffed the accused and he (Paras) assisted the former in arresting the accused [id.]. When asked where the shabu came from, the accused informed the two police officers that he only acted as a "runner-seller" of certain "Rene Pasay and "Boy Tinga", both of Maypajo, Kalookan City [id.]. The accused was eventually brought to the headquarters where he gave his statement voluntarily (p. 9, tsn, id.). He prepared the referral slip (Exhs. "H" and "H-1") to the NBI with respect to the specimens (Exhs. "D" to "D-4") which were confiscated from the accused. He likewise executed an affidavit (Exhs. "E" to "E-2") relative to the case.

    The second witness, PO3 Renato Dizon is a policeman assigned at the CIP of Kalookan City, located at Tanique Street, Dagat-Dagatan, Kalookan City (p. 2, tsn, July 13, 1993). He testified that at about 9:30 o’clock in the evening of March 1, 1993, he was with SPO1 Antonio Paras at Martinez street corner Osusan street, Kalookan City and surveilling (sic) the place which was reported to be drugs[-] infested area (p. 3, tsn, id.). Upon instruction of the chief of office, Edgar Paulino, they proceeded at the corner of Martinez street cor Osusan street (p. 4, tsn, id.). While standing thereat, an informant approached and informed them that a certain "Boyet" was selling shabu [id.]. He was introduced by the informant to the accused as a buyer, by uttering the words in the vernacular, to wit: "I-Iscore ito" (pp. 8-9, tsn, id.). He gave the buy-bust money in the amount of P200.00 in 2 pieces of P100.00 bill (p. 9, tsn, id.). He was told by the accused to wait for a while and thereupon the latter left the place but he returned after the lapse of three to four minutes and handed to him a small sachet containing shabu (pp. 9-10, tsn, id.). Consequently, he held the right hand of the accused and his companion Antonio Paras, who was hiding nearby rush (sic) to him and helped him in arresting the accused (pp. 10-11, tsn, id).

    The white crystalline substance taken from appellant which weighs less than one (1) gram, 2 upon laboratory examination by the NBI. was found positive for the regulated drug of metamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. 3

    Thereafter, appellant was charged with 4 and tried for the unauthorized sale of shabu in violation of Section 15 of R.A. 6425. 5 Over his defenses of denial and alibi, the trial court in a decision dated August 10, 1993 convicted appellant of the crime charged and sentenced him to suffer life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P20,000.00, 6 which were the penalties prescribed by law at the time of the rendition of judgment a quo. Hence, appellant interposes this appeal arguing that the trial court erred in finding that the prosecution had proven his guilt beyond reasonable doubt as well as in giving credence to the testimony of the prosecution’s witnesses. 7

    After examining the records, the Court is convinced that the errors imputed to the trial court bear no merit.

    What appellant assails are fundamentally questions of facts and credibility. Settled is the rule that the factual findings of the trial court, when supported by substantial evidence on record carries great weight on appeal absent any material facts or circumstances that were overlooked or disregarded by the trial court which if considered might vary the outcome of the case. 8 Likewise, the appraisal and evaluation of the credibility of witnesses below is herein upheld not only because of the trial court’s unique position of having observed that elusive and incommunicable evidence of the witnesses’ deportment on the stand, which opportunity is denied to the reviewing court 9 but more so since the ulterior motives appellant ascribes on the part of the arresting officers are self-serving and deserve no weight.

    The elements necessary in every prosecution for the illegal sale of shabu are:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library

    (1) identity of the buyer and the seller, the object, and consideration; and

    (2) the delivery of the thing sold and the payment therefor. 10

    Contrary to appellant’s assertion, the prosecution had presented evidence that established both elements by the required quantum of proof i.e. guilt beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt. 11

    Appellant was positively identified by the prosecution’s eyewitnesses as the person who sold to the poseur-buyer a sachet containing white crystalline substance. 12 His identity as the culprit cannot be doubted having been caught in flagrante delicto in an entrapment operation conducted by the police. Such positive identification prevails over appellant’s lone, uncorroborated and weak defenses of denial and alibi. 13 Both defenses which are the common and standard ploy in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act have been invariably viewed by the courts with disfavor as they can be fabricated or concocted with familiar ease. 14 In this case, appellant failed to strictly satisfy the two-fold elements of alibi respecting time and place, viz.

    a) that he was in another place at the time of the commission of the offense, and

    b) that he must demonstrate that it would be physically impossible for him to be at the locus criminis at the time of the alleged crime. 15

    Appellant’s contention that he and his friend Allan Marukot were attending the wake of a certain Vivian in Mabini Extension deserves the barest consideration since said wake, assuming it is true, is only about 40 meters away from the corner of Osusan and Martinez Streets, the place where the illegal sale took place. The propinquity or short distance of the place of the wake to that of the crime scene does not foreclose the physical possibility that appellant could have easily moved to the latter place. 16 His alibi is all the more weakened by the non-presentation of his alleged companion Marukot to corroborate his testimony regarding his whereabouts. Moreover, appellant’s other defense of denial, like his alibi cannot be believed in the light of positive testimonies from credible eyewitnesses who are themselves active participants in the entrapment operation. Applicable herein is the rule that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Denial, if unsubstantiated by clear and convincing evidence, is negative and self-serving evidence which deserves no weight in law and cannot be given greater evidentiary value over the testimony of credible witnesses who testify on affirmative matters." 17

    Appellant also contends that the prosecution had not proven that he knew he (appellant) is selling a regulated drug. Such knowledge, however, is not an element of the crime of illegal sale of shabu. Besides, horrendous traders of illegal drugs conduct their business in the dark and sell their articles in a language vague to ordinary people but clear along the avenues of the markets in the underworld. No wonder why the informant’s words "Pare, iiskur ito, baka mayroon ka? 18 conveyed a clear idea that a poseur-buyer makes a complete offer to buy regulated drug at a certain quantity or price. When the seller accepts the offer or asks ‘how much’, it shows that he knew what is being bought from him, that he is aware of the prohibited transaction he is entering into and that he is not authorized to do so, otherwise, he would not have sold his contraband under the cloak of the night but instead exposed his business without apprehension of fear.

    With respect to the corpus delicti of the crime, the same has been established with certainty and conclusiveness. 19 Appellant after leaving the poseur-buyer at the crime scene for about three to four minutes, came back and handed to the latter the sachet containing the shabu. The buyer gave appellant Two hundred pesos (P200.00) for the drug. The delivery of the contraband to the poseur-buyer and the receipt by the seller of the marked money successfully consummate the "buy-bust" transaction between the entrapping officers and appellant. 20 As shown in the laboratory examination, the white crystalline substance contained in the sachet is positive for the regulated drug of shabu. Appellant, thru counsel, even made an admission to that effect. 21

    In a vain attempt to exculpate himself from his felonious act, appellant argues that the prosecution witness (Dizon) who acted as the poseur-buyer was allegedly wrongfully motivated because the former fought with a certain person who was a nephew of the latter. The Court cannot believe this excuse. Aside from the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed, 22 the testimony of said witness who is a police officer carries more weight than the negative assertion of appellant. With the proof of sale and the presentation of the corpus delicti, appellant’s conviction is in order.

    As for the penalty, the life imprisonment and fine imposed on appellant by the trial court would have been correct. However, pursuant to the second paragraph of Section 20 of R.A. 6425 as amended by Section 17 of R.A. 7659 which is given retroactive application 23 being favorable to the accused and in accordance with the ruling laid down in People v. Martin Simon, 24 the proper penalty for the sale of less than a gram of shabu would be prision correccional. There being neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstance, the penalty should be imposed in its medium period. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the imposable penalty for appellant in lieu of ‘life imprisonment and fine’ should be modified to an imprisonment of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as the minimum, to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as the maximum. 25 Notwithstanding the absence of any petition for a writ of habeas corpus or any similar judicial relief, appellant’s release from imprisonment is in order since he had already served the maximum of the imposable penalty.chanroblesvirtual|awlibrary

    WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the trial court convicting appellant De Vera of the crime charged is AFFIRMED subject to the MODIFICATION that he shall suffer an indeterminate penalty of six (6) months of arresto mayor, as minimum to four (4) years and two (2) months of prision correccional medium, as maximum. However, since appellant had already served more than the maximum imposable penalty, he should be IMMEDIATELY DISCHARGED from confinement unless held for some other lawful cause.

    SO ORDERED.

    Narvasa, C.J., Davide, Jr., Melo, and Panganiban, JJ., concur.

    Endnotes:



    1. RTC Decision, pp. 1-2. Rollo, pp. 8-9, 80-82.

    2. 0.1597 gram.

    3. Forensic Chemistry Report of the National Bureau of Investigation — Exh "B" .

    4. Criminal Information for violation of Section 15 of R.A. 6425 filed on April 3, 1993. (RTC Records, p. 1).

    5. The Dangerous Drug Law.

    6. RTC Decision penned by Judge Adoracion C. Angeles of Branch 21, Kalookan City.

    7. Rollo, p. 27.

    8. People v. Deniega 251 SCRA 626(1995); People v. De Leon, 245 SCRA 538; People v. Hilario 244 SCRA 633; People v. Daquipil. 240 SCRA 314.

    9. Almeda v. CA and People of the Philippines, G.R. No. 120853, March 13, 1997.

    10. People v. Zervoulakos. 241 SCRA 625(1995).

    11. People v. Pidia, 249 SCRA 687(1995): People v. Tadepa, 244 SCRA 339 (1995).

    12. See People v. Namayan, 316 Phil. 795.

    13. People v. Broncano, G.R. No. 104870, August 22, 1996; People v. Pagcu, Jr., 315 Phil. 739; People v. Lopez, 315 Phil. 59; People v. Miranday, 242 SCRA 620 (1995); People v. Villanueva, 242 SCRA 47 (1995)

    14. People v. Rosario, 316 Phil. 810; People v. Solon, 244 SCRA 554 (1995).

    15. People v. Tazo, G.R. No. 118099-100, August 22, 1996: People v. Dayson, 242 SCRA 124 (1995); People v. Rivera, 242 SCRA 26 (1995); People v. Umali, 241 SCRA 17 (1995).

    16. People v. Sotes, G.R. No. 101337, August 7, 1996; People v. Acob, 316 Phil. 877.

    17. People v. Belga, 258 SCRA 583, 594 (1996); Abadilla v. Tabiliran, Jr., 249 SCRA 447 (1995).

    18. TSN. Renato Dizon, July 13, 1993, pp. 8-9.

    19. See People v. Flores, 243 SCRA 374 (1995).

    20. People v. Herrera, 247 SCRA 433 (1995); People v. Solon, supra.; People v. Flores, supra.

    21. TSN, Alicia Liberato, June 14, 1993, p. 3.

    22. People v. Ong Co, 245 SCRA 733 (1995).

    23. People v. Ballagan, 247 SCRA 535 (1995); People v. Adaya, 245 SCRA 14 (1995); People v. Tabarno, 242 SCRA 456 (1995); Lamen v. Director, Bureau of Corrections, 241 SCRA 573 (1995)

    24. 234 SCRA 555 (1991).

    25. People v. Juatan, G.R. No. 104378. August 20, 1996; People v. Manalo, 245 SCRA 493 (1995).

    G.R. No. 112006   July 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ROBERTO S. DE VERA


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