20 years to life in jail for 5-10 grams of marijuana

In a prosecution for illegal sale of dangerous drugs, "what is material is proof that the transaction or sale actually took place, coupled with the presentation in court of evidence of corpus delicti."

In the case of People v. Moreno (G.R. No. 201364, January 15, 2014), the prosecution established all the elements of the crime. The police officers who conducted the buy-bust operation faithfully described the events leading to the consummated sale of marijuana between the appellant and MADAC Operative Paloma, who acted as the poseur-buyer, and positively identified the appellant as the person who sold to the latter a small plastic tea bag containing tobacco like substances in exchange for the fifty peso-bill marked money.For the charge of illegal possession of dangerous drugs, the Supreme Court similarly found the appellant guilty thereof. In a prosecution for illegal possession, it must be shown that "(1) the accused was in possession of an item or an object identified to be a prohibited or regulated drug, (2) such possession is not authorized by law, and (3) the accused was freely and consciously aware of being in possession of the drug." These elements were properly established through the positive and credible testimonies of PO2 Aseboque and MADAC Operative Paloma who conducted a procedural body search on the appellant and recovered from the latter three (3) more plastic tea bags of marijuana.

In People v. Moreno (G.R. No. 201364, January 15, 2014), the tobacco like substances contained in the plastic tea bags that were confiscated from the appellant and, later, brought and identified in court, tested positive for marijuana, a dangerous drug.

As a result, the High Court affirmed the penalty on the crime of illegal sale and the penalty, on the crime of illegal possession, as they are well within the ranges provided by law. Under Section 11 (on Possession of Dangerous Drugs) of R.A. 9165, the penalty of imprisonment of twenty (20) years and one (1) day to life imprisonment and a fine ranging from four hundred thousand pesos (P 400,000.00) to five hundred thousand pesos (P 500,000.00) shall be imposed if the quantity of the dangerous drug is five (5) grams or more but less than ten (10) grams. The three (3) plastic tea bags of marijuana that were recovered from the appellant weighed a total of seven point fifteen (7.15) grams.

ADDITIONAL READINGS:

[1] People v. Duran (G.R. No. 233251. March 13, 2019) - Project Jurisprudence.
[2] People v. Ulama, G.R. No. 186530, December 14, 2011, 662 SCRA 599, 605.
[3] People v. Zapata, G.R. No. 184054, October 19, 2011, 659 SCRA 691, 693.
[4] People v. Hajili, 447 Phil. 283, 295 (2003).

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