Entrapment: Ruses & Schemes

There is entrapment when law officers employ ruses and schemes to ensure the apprehension of the criminal while in the actual commission of the crime. There is instigation when the accused is induced to commit the crime. The difference in the nature of the two lies in the origin of the criminal intent. In entrapment, the mens rea originates from the mind of the criminal. The idea and the resolve to commit the crime comes from him. In instigation, the law officer conceives the commission of the crime and suggests to the accused who adopts the idea and carries it into execution. The legal effects of entrapment do not exempt the criminal from liability. Instigation does. (People vs. Pacis, G.R. No. 146309, 18 July 2002, 384 SCRA 696; Chang vs. People, G.R. No. 165111, 21 July 2006, 496 SCRA 321)

People v. Bartolome (G.R. No 191726; February 6, 2013): Instigation is the means by which the accused is lured into the commission of the offense charged in order to prosecute him. On the other hand, entrapment is the employment of such ways and means for the purpose of trapping or capturing a lawbreaker. Thus, in instigation, officers of the law or their agents incite, induce, instigate or lure an accused into committing an offense which he or she would otherwise not commit and has no intention of committing. But in entrapment, the criminal intent or design to commit the offense charged originates in the mind of the accused, and law enforcement officials merely facilitate the apprehension of the criminal by employing ruses and schemes; thus, the accused cannot justify his or her conduct. In instigation, where law enforcers act as co-principals, the accused will have to be acquitted. But entrapment cannot bar prosecution and conviction. As has been said, instigation is a "trap for the unwary innocent," while entrapment is a "trap for the unwary criminal."

As a general rule, a buy-bust operation, considered as a form of entrapment, is a valid means of arresting violators of Republic Act No. 9165. It is an effective way of apprehending law offenders in the act of committing a crime. In a buy-bust operation, the idea to commit a crime originates from the offender, without anybody inducing or prodding him to commit the offense.