People v. Jubail : 143718 : May 19, 2004 : J. Carpio : First Division :
[G.R. NO. 143718 : May 19, 2004]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. HAIRATUL JUBAIL y KILIH alias SHAIRA JUBAIL y
AHARUL and RUAINA NURUDDIN y MOHAMMAD alias RUAI NURUDDIN y HARIN
HAIRATUL JUBAIL y KILIH, Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
This is an appeal from the Decision1 dated 15 October 1999 of
the Regional Trial
Court of Zamboanga
City, Branch 16 (trial court),
Criminal Case No. 15557. The trial court found appellant Hairatul Jubail alias
Shaira Jubail (Hairatul) guilty of violating Section 15, Article III, in
relation to Section 21(b),
Article IV, of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972.2 The trial court acquitted Hairatuls co-accused, Ruaina Nuruddin alias Ruai
on the ground of reasonable doubt.
The Information charging Hairatul and Ruaina of selling shabu
That on or about November 12, 1998, in the City of Zamboanga,
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, theabove-named accused, conspiring and
confederating together, mutually aiding and assisting with one another, not
being authorized by law to sell, deliver, transport, distribute or give away to
another, did then andthere willfully,
unlawfully and feloniously sell and deliver to Sr. Inspector Nickson Muksan y
Babul, PNP, 2nd Zamboanga City Mobile Group, poseur-buyer, one (1)
heat-sealed transparent plastic pack containing white crystalline substance and
positively tested for Methamphetamine Hydrochloride popularly known as SHABU
weighing 298.2 grams, knowing same to be a regulated drug.3 cralawred
When arraigned on 11
December 1998, Hairatul and Ruaina pleaded not guilty to the
charge.4 Trial then followed.
The Prosecutions Version
The prosecution presented five witnesses: (1) Chief Inspector
Nickson Babul Muksan (Chief Inspector Muksan); (2) SPO2 Gualberto Serencio
(SPO2 Serencio); (3) Police Inspector Mercedes Delfin Diestro (Police
Inspector Diestro); (4) PO2 Geronimo Mioza (PO2 Mioza); and (5) PO1 Noel
Falcasantos (PO1 Falcasantos).
Chief Inspector Muksan, a 1990 graduate of the Philippine
Military Academy, was then the Group Director of the 2nd Mobile
Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Zamboanga
City. Chief Inspector Muksan
testified that a female civilian informant (informant) reported to him the
activities of a certain drug pusher selling shabu in Zamboanga
City. The informant, however,
refused to reveal the name of the pusher.
Chief Inspector Muksan formed a team composed of PO2 Mioza, PO1
Cuadra, PO1 Falcasantos and PO1 Valdez to conduct surveillance on the alleged
pusher.The team, with the help of the
informant, conducted surveillance for more than a week.The team reported to Chief Inspector Muksan
that they were far from the place where the illegal drug activities allegedly
occurred so they just relied on the report of the informant. After the
surveillance, the informant revealed to Chief Inspector Muksan that the first
name of the pusher was Shaira and that she had long hair and medium built
body.The informant did not give the
surname of the pusher.5 cralawred
Chief Inspector Muksan narrated that on 11 November 1998, he instructed the informant to
arrange for the sale of 300 grams of shabu worth
P276,000 with the
pusher. The sale was to take place around 3:00
oclock in the afternoon, 12
November 1998, on Ruste Drive,
San Roque. Chief Inspector Muksan prepared the marked money and newspaper cut
outs in the size of peso bills.He
placed genuine P500 and P100 bills on top of the stack of newspaper
cutouts.He then put them inside an open
carton wrapped with newspaper. The carton appeared full of bundles of genuine
On 12 November 1998,
before 5:00 oclock in the morning,
Chief Inspector Muksan briefed PO2 Mioza, PO1 Cuadra, PO1 Falcasantos and PO1
Valdez on the plan for the buy-bust operation.Chief Inspector Muksan would act as poseur-buyer while his operatives
would assist him during the operation.The group members, in civilian clothes, left their headquarters around 5:00 oclock in the morning and proceeded to
San Roque.When they arrived in San
Roque, Chief Inspector Muksan, PO2 Mioza, PO1 Cuadra and the informant hid in
an abandoned house about forty meters from the road.PO1 Falcasantos and PO1 Valdez hid some fifty
meters away where they could see Chief Inspector Muksan.7 cralawred
Around 3:00 oclock in
the afternoon, the informant signaled to Chief Inspector Muksan that the
pushers were coming. The informant and the pushers contacted each other by
cellular phone. Chief Inspector Muksan went out of the house and followed the
informant. PO2 Mioza and PO1 Cuadra stayed inside the house. When Chief
Inspector Muksan reached the road, he saw two motorized tricycles.One tricycle had two women on board while the
other tricycle had on board two women and a young boy 8 or 9 years old.
When Chief Inspector Muksan reached the road, he saw the
informant talking to the four women and the boy.The informant introduced Chief Inspector
Muksan in the Tausog dialect as the person who would buy the shabu.The informant introduced two of the women as
Shaira (Hairatul) and Ruai (Ruaina) .According to Chief Inspector Muksan, he handed the buy-bust money to the
informant who gave it to Hairatul.Ruaina took the money from Hairatul and placed it inside her shoulder
bag.Hairatul then handed to Chief
Inspector Muksan a red Jollibee plastic bag.Chief Inspector Muksan opened the red Jollibee plastic bag and saw a
transparent plastic pack containing white crystalline substance, which he
presumed to be shabu.Chief Inspector
Muksan then turned his face and scratched his head as a sign to his men to come
out and assist him in arresting the pushers. Chief Inspector Muksan arrested
Hairatul and Ruaina by holding them in the arm while waiting for his operatives.The two other women and the young boy ran
away and boarded a tricycle.
PO2 Mioza and PO1 Cuadra arrived and helped Chief Inspector
Muksan in holding Hairatul and Ruaina.Chief Inspector Muksan took Hairatuls black shoulder bag that contained
her passport, while PO2 Mioza and PO1 Cuadra held Ruaina and grabbed her brown
shoulder bag that contained the buy-bust money and her bankbook.When PO1 Valdez and PO1 Falcasantos arrived
at the scene, Chief Inspector Muksan ordered them to arrest the two women and
young boy who nevertheless escaped. Chief Inspector Muksan and his men then
boarded a public utility vehicle and brought Hairatul and Ruaina to the office
of the 2nd Mobile Group for investigation.8 cralawred
SPO2 Serencio testified that he was the investigator of the case.
On 12 November 1998,
around 4:00 oclock in the afternoon,
Chief Inspector Muksan turned over Hairatul and Ruaina to SPO2 Serencio, along
with the following items: the transparent plastic pack containing white
crystalline substance, the marked money, the shoulder bags belonging to
Hairatul and Ruaina, Hairatuls passport and Ruainas bankbook.SPO2 Serencio recorded Hairatul and Ruainas
turnover to him in Complaint Assignment Sheet No. 166-98.9 cralawred
SPO2 Serencio then prepared the request10 for
laboratory examination addressed to the PNP Crime Laboratory to determine
whether the white crystalline substance was shabu.SPO2 Serencio also prepared the (1) affidavit
of Chief Inspector Muksan,11 (2) joint affidavit of PO1 Falcasantos and PO1 Valdez,12 (3) joint affidavit of PO2 Mioza and PO1 Cuadra,13 (4) Case Report,14 and (5) Supplemental Report.15 On cross-examination, SPO2 Serencio testified that Chief Inspector Muksan
turned over to him the buy-bust money that was inside a black plastic bag.The buy-bust money was not inside the brown
shoulder bag of Ruaina when Chief Inspector Muksan turned over to SPO2 Serencio
Ruainas shoulder bag.16 cralawred
Police Inspector and Forensic Chemist Diestro of the PNP Crime
Laboratory testified that on 12
November 1998, around 5:30
in the afternoon, she received a request for laboratory examination to
determine the presence of prohibited or regulated drugs on a sample that Chief
Inspector Muksan submitted.Police
Inspector Diestro conducted the test on the white crystalline substance
contained inside the transparent heat-sealed plastic bag Chief Inspector Muksan
submitted. The substance weighed 298.2 grams and the tests showed that it
contained Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu.Police Inspector Diestro then prepared
Physical Science Report No. D-310-9817 on her findings on the tests.18 cralawred
PO2 Mioza testified that he was part of the team headed by Chief
Inspector Muksan that conducted a buy-bust operation on 12 November 1998 on Ruste
Drive in San Roque. The team arrived in San Roque
around 5:00 oclock in the morning
because there was no definite time when the pushers would arrive. He and PO1
Cuadra posted themselves at a store near Ruste Drive.19 Around 3:00 oclock in the afternoon,
he saw Chief Inspector Muksan stepping back and putting his hands on his head,
which was the signal for them to arrest the pushers. Before Chief Inspector
Muksan gave the signal, PO2 Mioza did not see what was happening between Chief
Inspector Muksan and the pushers because he and PO1 Cuadra hid themselves.
After the signal, PO2 Mioza and PO1 Cuadra assisted Chief Inspector Muksan in
arresting Hairatul and Ruaina.PO2
Mioza handcuffed Ruaina. The two other women escaped on board a tricycle.20 cralawred
PO1 Falcasantos testified that on 12 November 1998, he was at the 2nd Mobile
Force Station in Zamboanga City.
Before 5:00 oclock in the morning,
Chief Inspector Muksan informed them that they would proceed to San Roque and
conduct a buy-bust operation that day. Chief Inspector Muksan was the group
director while the members were PO2 Mioza, PO1 Cuadra, PO1 Valdez and PO1
Falcasantos.PO2 Mioza and PO1 Cuadra
would stay near Chief Inspector Muksan while PO1 Falcasantos and PO1 Valdez
would act as back-up for the group.
After the briefing, PO1 Falcasantos and PO1 Valdez rode a
passenger jeepney to San Roque.When
they arrived in San Roque, PO1 Falcansantos and PO1 Valdez stationed themselves
at the back of a house. They were there from 5:00
oclock in the morning until 3:00
oclock in the afternoon. During that time, they did not
communicate or see Chief Inspector Muksan and the other members of the group.
PO1 Falcasantos testified that around 3:00 oclock in the afternoon, he saw Chief Inspector
Muksan, PO2 Mioza, PO1 Cuadra and the suspected pushers standing by the road
near an abandoned house. PO1 Falcasantos and PO1 Valdez then approached Chief
Inspector Muksan who told them to arrest the two other women and a boy.
However, PO1 Falcasantos and PO1 Valdez failed to arrest the two women and the
boy who quickly boarded a tricycle. They rejoined their group and they
proceeded to their station.21
The Defenses Version
The defense presented five witnesses: (1) appellant Hairatul; (2)
Hairatuls co-accused, Ruaina; (3) Hairatuls father, Bakun Jubail; (4) Putli Mohammad; and (5) Merhana
At the time she testified, Hairatul was 24 years old and a
resident of Kagay, Talipao, Sulu.She
graduated from the Notre Dame of Jolo
College in 1992 with a degree in
midwifery.Hairatul took the midwifery
licensure examination in 1993 but failed.On 8 November 1998,
she accompanied her father Bakun Jubail to Zamboanga
City for a medical check-up. They
stayed at her cousins house in Sta. Catalina in Zamboanga
Hairatul testified that on 12 November 1998, around 2:00
oclock in the afternoon, she shopped at Shop-O-Rama and Shoppers
Plaza in Zamboanga City
with her father Bakun and her cousin Ruaina. While inside one of the department
stores, Hairatul met a school friend from Jolo named Fatima, who was a former
resident of Bus-bus, Jolo, Sulu.Fatima,
who was already residing in Zamboanga
City, invited Hairatul and Ruaina
to her mothers house in San Roque.Hairatul asked permission from her father Bakun to accept Fatimas
invitation.Bakun agreed but told them
not to stay long.
Hairatul, Ruaina and Fatima rode a passenger jeepney to San
Roque. When they arrived at the house of Fatimas mother
in San Roque, Hairatul and Ruaina had drinks and snacks.Hairatul and Ruaina met Fatimas
mother Rakag, and Fatimas brother who was 8 or 9 years
old.Rakags house is small with just
one room. The house is about 50 meters from the main road of San Roque.
Around 3:00 oclock in
the afternoon, Hairatul and Ruaina asked permission to leave and Rakag told
them that they would leave together since they were going to Campo Islam. While
they were about ten meters away from the main road, a tall dark person, whom
Hairatul later identified as Chief Inspector Muksan, held Fatimas
hand and grabbed the red Jollibee plastic bag Fatima
carried. While Fatima was struggling, the two companions
of Chief Inspector Muksan held Hairatul and Ruaina and took their shoulder
bags. They identified themselves as police officers.Hairatul and Ruaina cried as they struggled
with the police officers, wondering why they were being arrested.After the commotion, Hairatul learned that
Rakag, Fatima and the young boy escaped. The police officers who arrested
Hairatul and Ruaina then brought them to the police station.23 cralawred
At the time she testified,Ruaina was 26 years old and a resident of Bus-bus, Jolo, Sulu. She
graduated from the Sulu State College in 1996 with a degree in Education.Ruaina took the licensure examination for
elementary school teachers on 1 August
1998 at the Baliwasan Central
School in Zamboanga
City.She went back to Zamboanga
City on the first week of November
1998 to follow-up the result and learned that she flunked the examination.
While in Zamboanga City,
Ruaina stayed at her cousin Ahajans house in Sta. Catalina. Her cousin
Hairatul and Hairatuls father Bakun also stayed in that house while in Zamboanga
Ruaina testified that on 12
November 1998, around 2:00 oclock
in the afternoon, she shopped with Hairatul and Bakun at the Shop-O-Rama and Shoppers
Plaza. Ruaina wanted to buy something before going home to Jolo that evening.
While shopping, they met Fatima who used to be Ruainas
neighbor in Bus-bus, Jolo but who was already residing in Zamboanga
invited Hairatul and Ruaina to her house in San Roque.Fatima was insistent
that Hairatul and Ruaina go with her. Ruaina and Hairatul accepted Fatimas
invitation and they rode a passenger utility jeepney to San Roque.
After alighting from the jeepney, Ruaina, Hairatul andFatima proceeded to Fatimas
house. Ruaina and Hairatul met Fatimas mother, Rakag
and Fatimas younger brother. Rakag offered them some
snacks and they talked about the situation in Jolo. Thirty minutes later,
Ruaina and Hairatul asked permission to leave because they would return to Jolo
that day and had to prepare their things. Rakag told Ruaina and Hairatul that
they would go with them because they would visit some relatives in Campo Islam.
While they were on their way to the main road, a tall man whom
Ruaina later identified as Chief Inspector Muksan rushed to Fatima
and grabbed the red Jollibee plastic bag Fatima carried.
There was a commotion and Ruaina became afraid. Four other men arrived, held
Ruaina and Hairatul, and grabbed their shoulder bags. Ruaina and Hairatul cried
and asked their captors what was happening.Some of those who held Ruaina and Hairatul left them and ran after
Fatima, Rakag and the young boy who all escaped.The men brought Ruaina and Hairatul to the
police station. Only then did Ruaina learn that their captors were police
officers arresting them because the red Jollibee plastic bag seized from Fatima
contained shabu.25 cralawred
Bakun Jubail (Bakun) testified that his daughter accompanied
him to Zamboanga City
on 8 November 1998 for his
medical treatment. They stayed at his nephews house in Sta. Catalina, Zamboanga
City. On 9 November 1998, Dr. Ireneo P. Cases examined
Bakun.26 On 12
November 1998, around 2:00 oclock
in the afternoon, Bakun, Hairatul and Ruaina met Fatima
while they were shopping. Hairatul told Bakun that Fatima
was inviting them to Fatimas house. Bakun preferred to
go home and did not join Hairatul and Ruaina who went with Fatima.
Bakun learned later that day that the police had arrested Hairatul and Ruaina.27 cralawred
Putli Mohammad (Putli) testified that on 12 November 1998, around 2:00 oclock in the afternoon, she boarded a passenger
jeepney on her way to San Roque.Hairatul, Ruaina and Fatima were also passengers on the jeepney. Putli
knew Hairatul, Ruaina and Fatima because they all came from the same
barangay.Putli, a resident of Barangay
Kagay, Talipao, Sulu, was in Zamboanga
City to accompany someone who was
applying for a job abroad.Putli asked
Hairatul and Ruaina where they were going and they replied that Fatima
invited them to go to her house. After Fatima paid their
fare, Putli, Fatima, Hairatul and Ruaina alighted on Ruste
Drive. Putli proceeded to her nephews house in
San Roque while the three women went the opposite direction towards Fatimas
house. About three hours later, Putli learned that the police arrested some
people that afternoon.28 cralawred
Merhana Hadil (Merhana) testified that she is a resident of
Kagay, Talipao, Sulu. On 7 November
1998, her aunt Putli accompanied her to Zamboanga
City to apply for a job abroad. On
12 November 1998, around 3:00 oclock in the afternoon, while on her way to the
market, Merhana saw Hairatul, Ruaina, Fatima, Dakag
(sic) and a young boy about 20 meters in front of her. Fatima
carried a red plastic bag while Hairatul and Ruaina carried shoulder bags.
Suddenly a tall man approached Fatima and grabbed the
red plastic bag Fatima carried. While the tall man was
holding Fatima, four other men approached the four women
and the boy. Fearing that a shooting might occur, Merhana hurriedly went home.29
The Trial Courts Ruling
On 15 October 1999,
the trial court rendered judgment, the dispositive portion of which reads:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
WHEREFORE, the Court finds accused HAIRATUL JUBAIL y KILIH alias
SHAIRA JUBAIL y AHARUL GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT of the crime of Violation
of Section 15, Article III in relation to Section 21 (b),
Article IV of
Republic Act No. 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as
amended, and SENTENCES said accused to suffer the penalty of RECLUSION PERPETUA
and its accessory penalties, to pay the fine of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND (
P500,000.00), and to pay the costs.In the service of
her sentence she shall be credited with the full period under which she was
under preventive imprisonment.
On ground of reasonable doubt, the court finds accused RUAINA
NURUDDIN y MOHAMMAD alias RUAI NURUDDIN y HARIN NOT GUILTY and hereby ACQUITS
her of the crime charged with costs de officio. She is ordered immediately
released from custody unless there is another valid ground to keep her under
The 298.2 grams of Methamphetamine Hydrochloride or shabu (Exh.
I) is ordered to be turned over under receipt to the Dangerous Drugs
Board thru the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Zamboanga
City, upon finality of the
decision, for disposition in accordance with law.
The buy-bust money in the amount of
P1,800.00 shall be
returned under receipt to the 2nd Zamboanga City Mobile Group, PNP,
after the finality of the decision.
SO ORDERED.30 cralawred
The trial court found the testimonies of Chief Inspector Muksan
and the other prosecution witnesses more credible than that of the defense
witnesses. The trial court relied on the presumption that there was regular
performance of public duty by police officers since the accused did not adduce
evidence of any improper or ill motive by the police officers to testify
falsely against them.31 The trial court found the allegations of Hairatul and Ruaina that the red
Jollibee plastic bag containing the shabu was taken from Fatima
as just a ploy to shift criminal responsibility to Fatima
whose whereabouts is no longer known.32 The trial court held that the testimony of Hairatul and Ruaina could not
prevail over the testimony of Chief Inspector Muksan that Hairatul handed to
him the red Jollibee plastic bag containing the shabu.33 However, the trial court held that the passive act of Ruaina in receiving the
buy-bust money, which was inside a carton, does not prove that she conspired
with Hairatul. Thus, the trial court acquitted Ruaina.34
In her Appellants Brief, Hairatul submits that:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
A. The trial court seriously erred in giving credence to the
uncorroborated and inconsistent testimony of Senior Inspector Nickson Muksan.
b. The trial court seriously erred in concluding that there was a
sale of shabu.
c. The failure to call to the witness stand the informant is fatal
to the cause of the prosecution.
d. The trial court seriously erred in applying to the instant case
the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty.
e. The trial court seriously erred in not giving credence and
weight to the testimonies of the accused and her witnesses.
f. The trial court seriously erred in not applying the ruling of
the Supreme Court in the Melosantos and Crisostomo cases.35
The Courts Ruling
We find the appeal meritorious. After a thorough examination of
the records of this case, we hold that the prosecution has failed to prove
beyond reasonable doubt Hairatuls guilt for the offense charged.
An appeal in a criminal case opens the entire case for review.
The reviewing tribunal can correct errors though unassigned in the appeal, or
even reverse the trial courts decision on grounds other than those the parties
raised as errors.36
Credibility of Chief
Inspector Muksan as Lone
In convicting Hairatul, the trial court relied mainly on the
testimony of Chief Inspector Muksan as sole eyewitness for the prosecution. The
other members of the buy-bust operation did not witness the actual exchange of
shabu and buy-bust money between Chief Inspector Muksan, who acted as
poseur-buyer, and the pushers.Prosecution witnesses PO2 Mioza and PO1 Falcasantos repeatedly admitted
that they did not witness what happened between Chief Inspector Muksan and the
pushers before the actual arrest because they were hiding far from the scene of
the crime. PO2 Mioza testified during cross-examination:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Q: And because Mr. Witness,
you were hiding when the group director approached the lady passengers, you did
not notice what transpired between your group director and the lady passenger?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: Because you were then
hiding when your group director approached the lady passengers, you did not any
more notice the subsequent development between your group director and the lady
Q: You mean, you did not
see what was happening between your group director and the lady passengers?
Q: You did not see?
Q: What were you supposed
to do was not to look at what was happening?
A: Because, we were
Q: Why were you hiding when
you were supposed to observe the incident?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: If something happened
to your group director you would not know what happened to him because, you did
not see him?. . .So, you did not care
to observe what transpired between your group director and the women who
Q: You did not see?
A: I did not see.37 cralawred
Likewise, PO1 Falcasantos testified during cross-examination:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Q: From 5:00 oclock up to 3:00
oclock in the afternoon, this lady informant was there with you in
A: Yes, sir.
Q: Your group director, what
was he doing at 3:00 oclock in the
A: He was already holding
Q: You saw him he was already
holding one woman?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: And Miniosa (sic),
holding the other woman?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: Before that, you did
not see what happened?
Q: Why did you say in
your affidavit that, your group director acted as poseur buyer, approached
towards the said pusher, bringing along with him the marked money?. . .Did you not say this?
A: Ah.. .the time Your Honor, they actually exchanged
marked money Your Honor,I was not able
to see the exchange of money.
Q: Why did you say that
in your affidavit?. . .you said here,
while in the process, we saw that our group director handed the money to the
drug pusher, with the exchange of one (1) big pack of methamphetamine
hydrochloride x x xWhy did you say
here in your affidavityou saw your
group director handed the money to the pusher?
A: Only it was the
information of our group director that, he handed the marked money.
Q: But, in your
affidavit, you said you saw?. .. .You
did not understand what is the meaning, to see?. .. It means you were
looking, you were seeing.That is what
you stated here, you signed this affidavit and swore before Fiscal Eisma, that,
this is correct.. . .This is not
correct?. . .What is your answer?
A: I was mistaken.
Q: Why do you say its a
mistake?. .. We are trying a serious case here and you are saying that, its
a mistake in our affidavit?. .. . What is happening here PO1 Falcasantos, you
did not see?. .. In your affidavit, two (2) women and one (1) child. What
is your answer?. .. .Were you really
there?. .. .Maybe you were not
A: I was there.
Q: So, why are you not
stating the same events that are happening here?
A: Only, I saw Your
Honor, that, our group director was holding the subject Your Honor.
Q: Why did you sign this
affidavit saying that, you saw your group director giving the money to the
pusher if you did not see?. .. .You
can be accused of perjury for this. .. .Is this your signature?. . .Is
this your signature above the typewritten name PO1 Noel Falcasantos?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: Yes, Your Honor.
Q: And, you swore to the
true and correctness of this affidavit before Fiscal Eisma, you raised your
right hand and swore that what you have stated here are correct?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: But, what you have
stated there is not correct.. .you said
there, you saw your group director handed the marked money to the drug pusher,
but you just said, you did not see?. . .What is your answer now?
A: It should be omitted
Your Honor, the words.
Q: The words saw,
should be omitted?
A: Yes, sir.38 cralawred
Thus, the lone testimony of Chief Inspector Muksan that Hairatul
was in possession of the red Jollibee plastic bag containing the plastic pack
with 298.2 grams of shabu is uncorroborated.Nevertheless, the trial court, finding no reason for Chief Inspector
Muksan to testify falsely against Hairatul and Ruaina, gave full faith and
credit to his testimony.
Inconsistencies in the Testimony of Chief Inspector Muksan
The testimony of one eyewitness is sufficient to support a
conviction provided it is positive, credible, clear and straightforward.39 However, the weight of the eyewitness account should be on the fact that the
witness saw the accused commit the crime and the witness could positively
identify the accused.40 A scrutiny of Chief Inspector Muksans testimony shows that he did not
actually see who was carrying the red Jollibee plastic bag containing the shabu
or to whom this red Jollibee plastic bag was handed to during the sale.
Chief Inspector Muksan testified that when he approached the informant and the
pushers, the informant was already holding in her right hand the red Jollibee
plastic bag.41 cralawred
The rule is that factual findings of the trial court and its
evaluation of the credibility of witnesses and their testimonies are entitled
to great respect and will not be disturbed on appeal.42 However, this rule does not apply where the trial court has overlooked,
misapprehended, or misapplied any fact or circumstance of weight and substance.43 cralawred
After a thorough review of the records of this case, the Court
finds material inconsistencies and substantial flaws in the testimony of Chief
Inspector Muksan which the trial court overlooked and which would warrant the
acquittal of Hairatul.
Chief Inspector Muksan testified during direct examination that
after the informant introduced him to the pushers he handed the buy-bust money
to the informant, who then gave it to Hairatul.In exchange, Hairatul handed to the informant the red Jollibee plastic
bag containing the shabu.Thus, Chief
Inspector Muksan testified:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Q: After introducing these
four persons to you to the two you said Hairatul Jubail and Ruaina Nuruddin and
the other one you forget, then what happened?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: I have the money with
me for the buy-bust. Then, I gave it to the civilian informant then, we are
very near to each other, then I saw that Hairatul Jubail gave that Jollibee
plastic bag which I opened later, it was a shabu and the one who received the
money was Ruaina Nuruddin.
Q: You gave the money to
the civilian informant and this civilian informant, what did she do with this
A: She gave it to Shaira
Q: And then from Shaira
(Hairatul Jubail) ?
A: The one who gave the
Q: Who gave you the
A: Shaira Jubail.
Q: And the money was
received by Ruaina?
A: Yes.44 cralawred
However, during cross-examination, Chief Inspector Muksan gave a
different version of what happened.He
testified that when the informant signaled to him that the pushers had arrived,
he was still 30 meters from the main road and the informant was standing
by the road with the money. Chief Inspector Muksan testified:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Q: Now, these two motorized
tricycle, what time did that arrive to San Roque?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: More or less in the
afternoon at 3:00 oclock November
Q: These two motorized
tricycle arrived simultaneously, correct?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: The second tricycle
following the first carried three passengers: two ladies and one boy?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: Where were you when
these tricycles arrived at San Roque?
A: I was outside of the
house when the civilian informant signaled me that the contact person arrived.
Q: Where specifically
outside of the house, where?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: I left the house, at
around 10 meters from the house.
Q: You were about 10 meters
from the house?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: That is to say about 30
meters from the main road?
Q: Were you alone?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: What about your police
companion, where was he at that time?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: They were inside the
house waiting for us.
Q: Waiting at you?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: What about your
civilian informant, where was she?
A: Already at the
road of San Roque, she already had the money.
Q: She was already at the
road when the tricycles arrived?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: Yes.45 cralawred
On further questioning during cross-examination, Chief Inspector
Muksan testified that when he approached the four women, the informant
was already holding in her right hand the red Jollibee plastic bag containing
the shabu. Chief Inspector Muksan testified:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
Q: Now, when this four women
and one boy alighted from the tricycle, you claim you did not see them,
A: When they alighted from
the tricycle, I did not see them.
Q: When they alighted
from the tricycle, you cannot tell us with precision as to who was really
holding the Jollibee bag?
A: When they alighted, I
did not see them because I did not see the arrival of the motorcycle.
Q: Is it possible that they
alighted from just one tricycle or did you really see two tricycles?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: Because your Honor,
there were two tricycles.
Q: That is what you believed
but what you actually saw was?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: Only one.
Q: It is possible that they
alighted from two tricycles?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: It is possible, your
Q: Mr. Witness, your
operatives were not also around when the four women and the one boy alighted
from the tricycle?
Q: What about your informant,
was she around?
A: Yes, she was with me.
x x x
Q: Mr. Witness, is it not
a fact that when you for the first time approached the four women and the one
boy, the red plastic bag was in the possession of the elderly woman?
A: No, your Honor.
Q: And this was only
transferred to the possession of one of the accused after you were already
A: I did not see
anybody transfer the bag but when I approached the four women, my informant
have already in her right hand the bag of Shaira.
Q: Could it be possible
that this red Jollibee plastic bag was first in the possession of the elderly
woman when they arrived at the place?
Objection, you Honor.
He will be incompetent, there was no
statement that he saw the plastic Jollibee bag transferred from one woman to
Sustained. You are asking for
In illegal sale of prohibited drug, the prosecution must establish
the following elements: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the
object, and the consideration; and (2) the delivery of the drug sold and its
is important is that the prohibited drug the accused sold and delivered be
presented before the court and the accused be identified as the offender by the
prosecution eyewitnesses.48 cralawred
In this case, the prosecution failed to prove clearly who carried
the red Jollibee plastic bag containing the shabu and more importantly, who
sold the shabu.During direct
examination, Chief Inspector Muksan stated that Hairatul handed to him the red
Jollibee plastic bag containing the shabu after Ruaina received the buy-bust
cross-examination, Chief Inspector Muksan testified that when he reached the
road, the informant was already holding in her right hand the red Jollibee
plastic bag. Later in his testimony, Chief Inspector Muksan jumped to the
conclusion that Hairatul owned the red Jollibee plastic bag.
The testimony on the actual delivery of the shabu is vital in
identifying the real offender in this case. The Court cannot convict an accused
based on the testimony of a lone eyewitness whose testimony poses more
questions than answers. Did Chief Inspector Muksan actually see Hairatul in
possession of the red Jollibee plastic bag containing the shabu? To whom was
the red Jollibee plastic bag handed Chief Inspector Muksan or the informant?
Who was the real poseur-buyer Chief Inspector Muksan or the informant? If
Chief Inspector Muksan did not witness the actual delivery of the shabu but
only saw the red Jollibee plastic bag containing the shabu already in the
possession of the informant, how could he be certain that the shabu came from
Hairatul?In the prosecution for the
sale of illegal drugs, what is important is that the poseur-buyer received the
drugs from the accused and the prosecution presented the same as evidence in
court.49 In this case, the prosecution failed to prove clearly that the red Jollibee
plastic bag containing the shabu was in Hairatuls possession. Trial courts
should always require precise and convincing testimony in cases involving
buy-bust operations lest an innocent person suffer the severe penalties for
drug offenses.50 cralawred
There are other discrepancies in the statements of Chief
Inspector Muksan, which weaken the probative value of the prosecutions
First, Chief Inspector Muksan failed to give a plausible
explanation why his team had to be in San Roque at 5:00 oclock in the morning on 12 November 1998 when the scheduled buy-bust
operation was at 3:00 oclock in the
afternoon.Chief Inspector Muksan
requested the informant on 11
November 1998 to tell the pusher that they would buy shabu at 3:00 oclock the following day in San Roque.51 When asked during cross-examination why they had to be in San Roque as early as
5:00 oclock in the morning, Chief
Inspector Muksan gave the following explanation, which contradicted his earlier
Q: And the civilian
informant was also there at 3:00 oclock
in the afternoon?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Q: Why she be there at 5:00 oclock when the transaction was at 3:00 oclock?chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
A: So that we could also
know our position/so that we will know our position because that is the place
where we agreed upon.
Q: So, from 5:00 oclock in the morning to 3:00 oclock in the afternoon the
civilian informant was also there with you?
Q: Why was she there when
the supposed buy-bust transaction will take place at 3:00 oclock?
A: Waiting for the
Q: Why she do that 5:00
oclock, 6:00 oclock, 7:00 oclock, 8:00 oclock. .. ten (10) hours why she
be waiting for ten hours knowing that the accused is the supposed suspect will
come at 3:00 oclock, why she be there waiting?
A: Because the accused
in my own assessment the accused is not accurate in giving time it might be in
the morning or anytime on the same day.
Q: Is it not a fact as
early as November 11, 1998 you have already set the time agreed, the place
where you met with the alleged drug poseur you have agreed at 3:00 oclock at
Ruste Drive at San Roque, why the civilian informant has to be there at 5:00
oclock in the morning?
A: Actually, it was
agreed in the morning at 10:00 oclock
in the morning but the final transaction happened at 3:00 in the afternoon, Your Honor.52 cralawred
Second, Chief Inspector Muksan testified that on 12 November 1998, the informant and
the pusher(s) contacted one another through their cellular phones.53 Chief Inspector Muksan testified that the informant knew when the pusher would
arrive because the informant and the pusher communicated with each other
through their cellular phones up to the time of the arranged meeting for the
sale of shabu.However, when the police
officers arrested Hairatul and Ruaina and confiscated their shoulder bags, the
police officers did not find any cellular phone in their possession.54 This casts doubt on the identity of the pusher and militates against the claim
of the prosecution that Hairatul was the pusher.
In the face of Chief Inspector Muksans inconsistent testimony,
the testimony of the informant is indispensable. More so in this case where the
police engaged the informants services for the first time in a buy-bust
operation.55 The prosecution did not present as witness the informant who apparently was the
only eyewitness to the entire transaction. The testimony of a police informant
in an illegal drug case is not essential to convict the accused since the
testimony would be merely corroborative and cumulative.56 However, where the informant is the only eyewitness to the illegal transaction,
his testimony is essential and non-presentation of the informant is fatal to
the prosecutions cause.57 As held in People v. Zheng Bai Hui:58 cralawred
Except when the appellant vehemently denies selling prohibited
drugs and there are material inconsistencies in the testimonies of the
arresting officers, or there are reasons to believe that the arresting officers
had motives to testify falsely against the appellant, or that only the
informant as the poseur-buyer who actually witnessed the entire transaction,
the testimony of the informant may be dispensed with as it will be merely
corroborative of the apprehending officers eyewitness testimonies. There is no
need to present the informant in court where the sale was actually witnessed
and adequately proved by prosecution witnesses.
In this case, Hairatul denied selling the shabu and testified
that the red Jollibee plastic bag which contained shabu was not hers but Fatimas.
Chief Inspector Muksan, the only eyewitness presented by the prosecution, did
not witness the entire transaction.Chief Inspector Muksan did not witness the most crucial moment when the
pusher handed over the shabu to the buyer.When Chief Inspector Muksan arrived at the scene, the red Jollibee
plastic bag containing the shabu was already in the possession of the
informant. Thus, the testimony of the informant is essential in this case to
prove with certainty the identity of the seller of the shabu.
The presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty
cannot by itself overcome the presumption of innocence.59 An accused in a criminal case is presumed innocent until proven otherwise and
the prosecution has the burden of proving his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.60 The evidence of the prosecution must stand on its own weight and not rely on
the weakness of the defense.61 In this case, the Court finds that the prosecution has failed to overcome the
constitutional presumption of innocence and to prove with moral certainty the
guilt of Hairatul.
WHEREFORE, the Decision dated 15 October 1999 of the Regional
Trial Court of
Branch 16, in Criminal Case No. 15557 is REVERSED. Appellant Hairatul Jubail is ACQUITTEDon the ground of reasonable doubt. The Director of
Bureau of Prisons is ordered to release immediately appellant from confinement,
unless she is detained for some other lawful cause, and to report to this Court
compliance within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision.
Panganiban, (Acting Chairman),
Ynares-Santiago, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), on
1 Penned by Judge Jesus C. Carbon, Jr.
2 Republic Act No. 6425, as amended.
5 TSN, 12 April 1999, pp.
pp. 16-19, 23-25.
8 TSN, 12 April 1999, pp.
28-32; TSN, 13 April 1999,
pp. 2-11, 25-31.
16 TSN, 14 April 1999, pp.
18 TSN, 12 April 1998, pp.
19 On cross-examination,PO2 Mioza alleged
that before going to the store, he and PO1 Cuadra initially stayed inside an
abandoned house and only proceeded to the store when Chief Inspector Muksan
joined the informant.
20 TSN, 14 April 1999, pp.
49-63; TSN, 15 April 1999,
21 TSN, 15 April 1999, pp.
22 TSN, 21 April 1999, pp.
23 TSN, 21 April 1999, pp.
24 TSN, 22 April 1999, pp.
25 TSN, 22 April 1999, pp.
26 As proof of Bakuns medical consultation with Dr. Cases, a medical certificate
signed by Dr. Cases was offered as evidence. See Exhibit 7.
27 TSN, 19 April 1999, pp.
29 TSN, 20 April 1999, pp.
37 TSN, 15 April 1999, pp.
14-15. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary
pp. 56-59. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary
40 People v. Padilla, 414Phil. 773
41 TSN, 14 April 1999, p. 15.
44 TSN, 13 April 1999, pp.
6-7. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary
pp. 47-48. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary
46 TSN, 14 April 1999, pp.
13-16. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary
47 People v. Adam, G.R. No. 143842,
13 October 2003; People v. Mala
and Bala, G.R. No. 152351,
18 September 2003; People v. Tan, G.R. No. 129376,
29 May 2002, 382 SCRA 419; People v.
Rodriguez, G.R. No. 144399,
20 March 2002, 379 SCRA 607.
49 People v. Beriarmente, 418 Phil. 229 (2001).
50 People v. So, 421 Phil. 929 (2001).
51 TSN, 12 April 1999, p. 23.
52 TSN, 13 April 1999, pp.
45-47. (Emphasis supplied)cralawlibrary
53 TSN, 12 April 1999, p. 28;
TSN, 13 April 1999, pp.
54 TSN, 13 April 1999, p. 45.
56 People v. Che Chun Ting, 385 Phil. 305 (2000).
58 G.R. No. 127580, 22 August 2000,
338 SCRA 420, 475-476 citing People v. Doria, 361 Phil. 595,622
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