INSTIGATION: Illegal, Contrary to Public Policy

The findings and conclusion of the trial court on the credibility of witnesses are entitled to great respect because the trial courts have the advantage of observing the demeanor of witnesses as they testify. In the process of converting into written form the statements of living human beings, not only fine nuances but a world of meaning apparent to the judge present, watching and listening, may escape the reader of the translated words.In the instant case, the police arrested accused-appellant in a buy-bust operation. A buy-bust operation is one form of entrapment employed by peace officers as an effective way of apprehending a criminal in the act of the commission of an offense. Entrapment has received judicial sanction when undertaken with due regard for constitutional and legal safeguards. Where the criminal intent originates in the mind of the accused and the criminal offense is completed, the fact that a person, acting as a decoy for the state, or that public officials furnished the accused an opportunity for commission of the offense, or that the accused is aided in the commission of the crime in order to secure the evidence necessary to prosecute him, there is permissible entrapment and the accused must be convicted. What the law forbids is the inducing of another to violate the law, the seduction of an otherwise innocent person into a criminal career. Where the criminal intent originates in the mind of the state decoy, such as an undercover agent, and the accused is lured into the commission of the offense charged in order to prosecute him, there is instigation, as we call it in our jurisprudence, and no conviction may be had. In instigation, the instigator practically induces the would-be accused into the commission of the offense and himself becomes a co-principal. In entrapment, the peace officer resorts to ways and means to trap and capture the lawbreaker in the execution of the latters criminal plan. Instigation is illegal and contrary to public policy. Entrapment is not.

In the case at bar, the details of the transaction were clearly and adequately shown, viz.: (a) the initial contact between the poseur-buyer and the pusher; (b) the offer to buy; (c) the promise or payment of the consideration; and (d) the delivery of the illegal drug subject of the sale. The initial contact was made through an informant. On the day of the operation, the informant approached accused-appellant Jocson, a.k.a. Manong, and introduced him to SPO1 Delos Santos, the poseur-buyer. Delos Santos then offered to buy when he told Manong, Pare, pabili ng piso. The sale was consummated after payment and delivery when SPO1 Delos Santos handed Manong the marked 100-peso bill, and Manong took out from his pocket and handed SPO1 Delos Santos a plastic sachet containing shabu. From the moment SPO1 Delos Santos received the prohibited drug from Manong, the illegal sale of the dangerous drug was consummated. Manong was at once apprehended, and four more sachets of shabu were found in his possession.

Having established that the illegal sale took place between the poseur-buyer and the seller, the prosecution likewise presented the dangerous drug, i.e., the corpus delicti, as evidence in court. The illegal substance sold, including the four other sachets recovered from the pocket of accused-appellant, was offered as evidence during the trial and properly identified by the prosecution witnesses. The prosecution also accounted for the chain of custody of the subject substances. From accused-appellants possession, police officers Delos Santos and Antonio seized the sachets of shabu and turned them over to Police Investigator Moran who marked the pieces of evidence. Then, Moran turned them over to the NPD crime laboratory for chemical analysis, where Police Inspector Juanita Sioson, a Forensic Chemical Engineer, found the white crystalline granules contained in five heat-sealed transparent plastic sachets to be positive for methylamphetamine hydrochloride, a dangerous drug. (G.R. No. 169875; December 18, 2007)