People v. Yu : 155030 : May 18, 2004 : J. Ynares-Santiago : First
Division : Decision
[G.R. NO. 155030 : May 18, 2004]
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Appellee, v. ROSE YU y FLORES, JORGE PALOMA y DUGAYO @ GEORGE,
FERDINAND CASTILLO y HIJE @ FERDIE, Accused.
ROSE YU y FLORES, Appellant.
D E C I S I O N
This is an appeal from the Decision of the Regional Trial Court
of Manila, Branch 351 finding accused Rose Yu y Flores, Jorge Paloma y Dugayo a.k.a. George, and
Ferdinand Castillo y Hije a.k.a. Ferdie guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
selling 3,000.8 grams of methylamphetamine hydrochloride in violation of
Section 15 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, sentencing them to reclusion perpetua, and ordering them to
pay the fine of P5,000,000.00 plus the costs in proportionate shares.
On September 25, 2000, appellant Rose Yu, together with accused
Jorge Paloma and Ferdinand Castillo, were charged with violation of Section 15
of R.A. 6425 in an Information which reads as follows:chanroblesvirtua1awlibrary
That on or about September 1, 2000, in the City of Manila,
Philippines, the said accused conspiring and confederating together and helping
one another, not having been authorized by law to sell, dispense, deliver,
transport or distribute any regulated drug, did then and there willfully,
unlawfully, and knowingly sell or offer for sale, dispense, deliver, transport
or distribute three (3) heat-sealed transparent plastic bags containing NINE
HUNDRED NINETY SEVEN POINT ONE (997.1) grams, ONE THOUSAND FOUR POINT SIX
(1004.6) grams and ONE THOUSAND FIVE POINT ONE (1005.1) grams or with a total
net weight of
THREE THOUSAND SIX POINT
EIGHT (3006.8) grams of crystalline substance known as SHABU
containing methylamphetamine hydrochloride,
which is a regulated drug.
Contrary to law.
On arraignment the three accused pleaded not guilty. Trial on the
merits then ensued.
Prosecution witness PO2 Larry Buriel narrated that at around
10:00 in the morning of September 1, 2000, his superior officer, Police
Superintendent Eduardo Acierto of the CIDG-Detection and Special Operations
Office (DSOO) at Camp Crame, received a telephone call from a confidential
agent informing him that a certain George, later identified as accused Jorge
Paloma, was looking for a buyer of shabu worth P1.740 million. After the
telephone conversation, Superintendent Acierto called on his men to form a
five-man team to conduct a buy-bust operation, with P/Insp. Francisco as team
leader, PO2 Buriel as poseur-buyer, and three other members as arresting
Upon instruction by his superior officer, PO2 Buriel met with the
confidential agent at about 11:00 a.m. of the same day, and they proceeded to
McDonalds Restaurant at B.F. Homes Paranaque where they met George.
There, the confidential agent introduced PO2
Buriel to George as the buyer of three kilos of shabu.
George told them that the proposed drug deal
would take place at around 4:00 in the afternoon of September 1 within the
vicinity of Petron Gasoline Station located at Abad Santos Avenue corner Padre
Algue Street, Sta. Cruz Manila. After the meeting ended, PO2 Buriel and the
confidential agent proceeded to Camp Crame where they apprised P/Insp.
Francisco of their conversation with George.
At around 1:30 in the afternoon of September 1, 2000, the
five-man team was dispatched by P/Supt. Acierto to the Petron gasoline station
at Sta. Cruz.
At the designated area,
PO2 Buriel and the confidential agent stood beside their car while the other
members of the team positioned themselves strategically within the vicinity.
At around 4:00 p.m., a taxi arrived.
On board were four passengers including
George, his wife Nelsie Pentecotes, the driver and an unnamed individual.
George then told PO2 Buriel to wait for a while because the shabu would be
delivered by a certain Ferdie and Rose.
A few minutes later, a green Honda Accord, with appellant Rose Yu behind
the wheel, parked beside the car of PO2 Buriel. Only six inches separated the
two vehicles. Rose Yu did not alight from the vehicle.
Accused Ferdinand Ferdie Castillo
thereafter arrived at the scene carrying a plastic bag with Robinsons
Department Store markings.
directly to the green Honda Accord and placed the plastic bag inside the
Thereafter, Ferdie approached
PO2 Buriel and the confidential agent to inquire whether they had the money. In
response, PO2 Buriel showed him a plastic bag containing 2 pieces of 1 thousand
peso bills on top of 16 bundles of boodle money.Ferdie then went back to the Honda Accord where PO2 Buriel
overheard him telling Rose Yu that he already saw the money.
Ferdie then took the Robinsons plastic bag
inside the green vehicle and handed it over to PO2 Buriel. After giving Ferdie
the money, PO2 Buriel took the Robinsons plastic bag which when opened
contained three transparent plastic bags with crystalline granules. Satisfied that
he already had the incriminating substance, PO2 Buriel flashed the pre-arranged
signal and together with the other members of the team arrested Rose, George,
Ferdie, Nelsie Pentecotes, and the taxi driver. The charge against Pentecotes
and the taxi driver was later dismissed.
In his defense, accused Jorge George Palomar testified that
several days before September 1, 2000, a certain Emil went to his house a
number of times asking whether he knew anybody who sells shabu.
Knowing that the proposition was illegal, he
ignored Emil, but the latter was very insistent.On August 30, 2000, Emil again went to see him, saying that he
had a friend who could give him a job.
Since Jorge was jobless at that time, he readily agreed.
Emil then brought him to the McDonalds
parking lot at Paranaque where he was introduced to two persons on board a
The first one, whom he later
identified as Buriel, introduced himself as the driver and the other one as
He was prevailed upon by
Emil to get into the car and, while inside, Buriel and Mang Jerry told him to
call up his supplier of shabu. He got afraid especially when the two showed him
bundles of money inside a plastic bag.
He pretended to contact somebody through his cellphone and afterwards
asked permission to leave.
later, Mang Jerry decided to cancel the deal and the three parted ways.
In the morning of September 1, 2000, upon the instigation of
Emil, he called up somebody who instructed him to go to Pateros.
Together with three other companions,
including his wife, he went to Pateros where Emil met a man named Dodong
standing near a lamppost.
later, Dodong, who was carrying a plastic bag, boarded their car and instructed
the driver to proceed to the Petron gasoline station at Sta. Cruz Manila.
When they arrived there, Dodong, with the
plastic bag still in hand, alighted from the car and approached a parked
Not long after, a commotion
erupted. Dodong dropped the plastic bag he was carrying when he was chased by
Subsequently, he and
his two other companions were arrested by the police.
Accused Rose Yu narrated that between 12:00 to 1:00 in the
afternoon of September 1, 2000, she was at the Petron gasoline station in Padre
Algue St., Sta. Cruz Manila to fetch her brother, Dennis Binamira, a grade IV
pupil at Chiang Kai Shek School.
chance, a compadre of her
brother-in-law, accused Ferdinand Ferdie Castillo, saw her and they exchanged
During the conversation,
a commotion ensued and Ferdie was suddenly bumped from behind by a running
Not long after, several persons
ganged up on Ferdie.
Since her car
window was open, she saw one person signaling to someone who immediately
accosted her and ordered her at gunpoint to alight from the vehicle.
The assailants forcibly ordered her to board
another car and confiscated her valuables including a Rolex watch and a Nokia
8850 mobile phone.
She was brought to
the parking lot of Manila Hotel where a man, whom she later identified as Major
Francisco, tried to extort P2 Million from her.Despite threats by Major Francisco and his companions to give
them money, she adamantly refused to accede to their demands.
Eventually she was brought to Camp Crame
where she was investigated.
Accused Ferdinand Castillo asserted that he could not have
committed the crime imputed against him because he has enough sources of income
to lead a decent life.
He declared that
he earns at least thirty thousand pesos a month coming from rental income,
earnings from a small carenderia and
a buy and sell business, and the monthly salary of his wife.
On April 24, 2002, the trial court rendered a decision finding
the three accused guilty of violating Section 15 in relation to Section 20 of
R.A. No. 6425, the dispositive portion of which reads:2 cralawred
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered pronouncing accused ROSE YU y
FLORES, JORGE PALOMA y DUGAYO @ George and FERDINAND CASTILLO y HIJE @
Ferdie guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
selling 3,000.8 grams of methylamphetamine hydrochloride without authority of
law, penalized under Section 15 and in relation to Section 20 of Republic Act
No. 6425, as amended, and sentencing each of the said three accused to RECLUSION
PERPETUA; and to pay a fine of P5,000,000.00 each, plus costs in
In the service of their sentences in this case, the full time
during which the three accused have been under preventive imprisonment should
be credited in their favor provided that they have agreed voluntarily in
writing to abide by the same disciplinary rules imposed on convicted prisoner.
Otherwise, they should be credited with four-fifths (4/5) only of the time they
have been under preventive imprisonment.
Exhibits B-1, B-2 and B-3 are ordered confiscated and forfeited in
favor of the Government. Within ten (10) days following the promulgation of
this judgment, the Branch Clerk of Court is ordered to turn over, under proper
receipt, the regulated drug involved in this case to the Dangerous Drugs
Custodian, National Bureau of Investigation, as appointed by the Dangerous
Drugs Board, for appropriate disposition.
Of the three accused, only appellant Rose Yu filed an appeal,
raising the following errors:3
THE LOWER COURT ERRED WHEN IT RULED THAT
THE ACTS OF ACCUSED-APPELLANT ROSE F. YU DEMONSTRATED THE EXISTENCE OF
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN CONVICTING
ACCUSED-APPELLANT ROSE YU OF VIOLATION OF SECTION 15 OF R.A. 6425, AS AMENDED,
DESPITE THE INADMISSIBILITY OF THE CORPUS DELICTI AND THE FAILURE OF THE
PROSECUTION TO PROVE HER GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.
In the first assigned error, appellant contends that the trial
courts finding of conspiracy was based on presumptions, not on solid facts
indubitably indicating a common design.
Specifically, she points out that it was unbelievable for PO2 Buriel to
overhear her conversation with accused Castillo in regard to the drug deal
since PO2 Buriel not only failed to establish his distance to appellant and
accused Castillo but even assuming that the conversation actually took place as
alleged by the prosecution, it does not demonstrate concurrence of will or
unity of action or purpose that could be a basis for their collective
Moreover, there is
doubt that the drugs came from the appellant since the testimony of PO2 Buriel
She explained that if
all the windows of the car were closed, as the trial court clarified, there was
no specific detail where the alleged drugs came from.
In the second assigned error, appellant assailed the integrity and
identity of the illegal drugs allegedly recovered from the crime scene as the
very same drugs submitted for laboratory examination and later presented in
She draws attention to the
testimony of prosecution witness PO2 Buriel who declared that he could not
recall the initials he placed on the Robinsons plastic bag containing the
illegal substance. Finally, contrary to the statements of PO2 Buriel, the
plastic bag did not bear the markings supposedly written by the poseur-buyer or
any other member of the arresting team.
The appeal must fail on both counts.
Conspiracy is deemed to arise when two or more persons come to an
agreement concerning the commission of a felony and decide to commit it.
Conspiracy is not presumed.
physical acts constituting the crime itself, the elements of conspiracy must be
proven beyond reasonable doubt. Conspiracy need not be established by direct
evidence, for it may be inferred from the conduct of the accused before, during
and after the commission of the crime, all taken together. However, the
evidence therefor must reasonably be strong enough to show a community of
criminal design.4 cralawred
In the case at bar, appellant was not a passive spectator who was
mistakenly implicated of committing a crime.
She definitely took an active participation in the sale of the
She was positively identified as
the driver of the Honda Accord who conversed and gave instructions to accused
Ferdie regarding the transaction.
act of accused Ferdie in placing the plastic bag, which contained the illegal
drugs, and in shuttling back and forth between Rose Yu and the poseur buyer to
ask instructions and other details could lead to no other conclusion except
that there existed a prior understanding and community of interest between the
appellants participation in the criminal activity was not of minor importance
but, by all indications, crucial to the consummation of the offense.
In unison with accused Jorge Palomar who
mediated between the poseur-buyer and his co-accused, setting the time and
place where the sale of shabu would take place, and accused Ferdie Castillo who
actively and directly took part in the said sale, appellant actively
participated in the crime, ever conscious of her role in the scheme of things
with the end in view of consummating the same.
An accepted badge of conspiracy is when the accused by their acts
aimed at the same object, one performing one part and another performing
another so as to complete it with a view to the attainment of the same object, and their acts though apparently independent were in fact concerted and
cooperative, indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and
concurrence of sentiments.5 The instant case clearly demonstrates this principle.
Appellant clutches at straws in disputing the integrity and
identity of the regulated substance.
close scrutiny of the records does not disclose any irregularity in the custody
of the recovered drugs and the conduct of the laboratory examination to cast
suspicion on its identity.
pointed out by the Solicitor General, the laboratory examination was requested
precisely to determine the presence of shabu in the recovered white
crystalline granules because they were suspected to contain such regulated
Hence, the forensic chemist was
not biased when he conducted the examination to determine the presence of
This purported anomaly was
sufficiently explained by the court a quo
when it observed that:6 cralawred
The corpus delicti in
this case is not disputed. It consists of a total of 3000.8 grams of
methylamphetamine hydrochloride (Exhibits B-1, B-2 & B-3). The chemical
properties of Exhibits B-1, B-2, and B-3 have been duly established by the
testimony of P/Insp. And Forensic Chemist Alberto Arturo of the PNP Crime
Laboratory, who swore that the qualitative examinations he made on the specimen
produced positive results and confirmed that they are methylamphetamine
hydrochloride (Exhibit D; TSN, October 26, 2001, pp. 13-14.)
At any rate, it was up to the defense to prove by clear and
convincing evidence that the findings of the forensic chemist were
In the absence of such
evidence, the positive results of the tests conducted by the chemist should be
accepted as conclusive.
After all, he
has in his favor the presumption that he regularly performed his official duty,
which was to carry out those tests in accordance with the accepted standard
It is likewise error for appellant to question the act of the
forensic chemist in placing the stamp original signed on top of the name of
his superior Sonia Sahagun Ludovico on the initial laboratory report. Forensic
Chemist Arturo testified that he stamped the initial report despite the absence
of his superior in order to facilitate the release of the laboratory
examination. More importantly, this supposed procedural irregularity was cured
when Ludovico ratified the same by affixing her signature to the said
Appellants hollow arguments
notwithstanding, the fact remains that the substance recovered from her and her
cohorts was shabu.
All told, we find that the prosecution has established the guilt
of appellant beyond reasonable doubt.
Section 15 of the Dangerous Drugs Act, as amended, prescribes the
penalty of reclusion perpetua to
death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos
where the shabu or methylampethamine hydrochloride sold weighs 200 grams or
Thus the law prescribes two
indivisible penalties, reclusion perpetua
In accordance with Article
63 of the Revised Penal Code, since there was neither mitigating nor
aggravating circumstances attending appellants criminal offense, the lesser
penalty of reclusion perpetua is the
proper imposable penalty.
WHEREFORE, in view of
all the foregoing, the decision dated April 24, 2002 of the court a quo finding
appellant Rose Yu, together with accused Jorge Paloma y Dugayo a.k.a. George
and Ferdinand Castillo y Hije a.k.a. Ferdie, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
violating Section 15 of Republic Act No. 6425, as amended, sentencing them to reclusion perpetua, and ordering them to
pay the fine of P5,000,000.00 plus the costs in proportionate shares, is
AFFIRMED in toto.
Panganiban, (Working Chairman),
Carpio, and Azcuna, JJ., concur.
Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), on
1 Decision penned by Judge Ramon P. Makasiar, RTC-Branch 35, Manila.
5 People v. Sunpongco, et al., G.R. No. L-42665, 30 June 1988, 163
SCRA 222; People v. Sarino, et al., G.R. NOS. 94992-93, 7 April 1993,
221 SCRA 234.
6 TSN, 26 October 2001, pp. 13-14.
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