Criminal Law

People vs. Segundino Valencia, et. al. G.R. No. 143032, October 14, 2002 Entrapment vs. Instigation (Absolutory Causes)

 

FACTS:

SPO1 Facto and an informant pretended to wait for Johnny Tadena for them to buy drugs. When SPO1 Facto had the drugs after clear examination which he saw are white contents, he signaled his companions that the transaction had been consummated and they caught the accused.

Thus, accused-appellants Segundino Valencia, Johnny Tadena and Domingo Deroy, Jr.  were charged and convicted by the RTC of Quezon City for violation of Section 15 of Republic Act (R.A.) 6425, otherwise known as the Dangerous Drugs Act, for unlawfully selling or offering to sell 634.0 grams of Psuedoephedrine Hydrochloride which is a regulated drug. The trial court sentenced each of the accused to the supreme penalty of death and to pay a fine of P500, 000.00.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the operation was an entrapment or an instigation.

 

RULING:

Accused-appellants were caught in flagrante delicto in a buy-bust operation. A buy-bust operation is a form of entrapment whereby ways and means are resorted to for the purpose of trapping and capturing the lawbreakers in the execution of their criminal plan. Unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any improper motive or were not properly performing their duty, their testimony on the operation deserves full faith and credit. When the police officers involved in the buy-bust operation have no motive to falsely testify against the accused, the courts shall uphold the presumption that they have performed their duties regularly. The trial court in this case correctly upheld the testimony of the prosecution witnesses, the police officers who conducted the buy-bust operation. It did not err in applying the presumption of regularity in the performance of duty by law enforcement agents.

The ‘objective’ test in buy-bust operations demands that the details of the purported transaction must be clearly and adequately shown. This must start from the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and the pusher, the offer to purchase, the promise or payment of the consideration until the consummation of the sale by the delivery of the illegal drug subject of the sale. The manner by which the initial contact was made, whether or not through an informant, the offer to purchase the drug, the payment of the ‘buy-bust’ money, and the delivery of the illegal drug, whether to the informant alone or the police officer, must be the subject of strict scrutiny by courts to insure that law-abiding citizens are not unlawfully induced to commit an offense. Criminals must be caught but not at all cost.

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