Confidential informant's testimony; buy-bust operation

In the case People v. Hadgirol (G.R. No. 200079. January 15, 2014), on the issue of whether the elements of the illegal sale of drugs were established, the Supreme Court sustained the ruling of the Court of Appeals.

The CA, according to the Court, correctly held that the illegal sale of a dangerous drug in the instant case was consummated as the following elements were sufficiently established by the prosecution:
  1. That the transaction took place;
  2. That the corpus delicti or the illicit drug was presented as evidence; and
  3. That the buyer and the seller were identified.
The CA ruling is based on the factual findings by the RTC that a previous negotiation for the sale of drugs was made. SPO2 Yu, the poseur-buyer, testified in court as to the sale of illegal drugs by the appellant to him, as well as the attendant circumstances that led to the latter's arrest. It is clear from the testimony, as quoted by the CA from the case records, that it was appellant who sold the illegal drugs to SPO2 Yu. The prosecution also presented the results of the laboratory examination on the drugs seized from appellant during the buy-bust operation. It is notable that this laboratory result remains uncontested by the appellant.

Arguing for his acquittal, appellant Hadgirol points out that the prosecution failed to present the confidential informant in court and that the testimony of SPO2 Yu alone is not sufficient to warrant his conviction. The Court disagreed with appellant.

It has been consistently ruled that the non-presentation of the confidential informant is not fatal to the prosecution. These informants are usually not presented in court because of the need to hide their identities and maintain their valuable services to the police. The only instance where the testimony of the confidential informant becomes necessary is when the informant is the only witness to the illegal transaction.In this case of Hadgirol, SPO2 Yu, the poseur-buyer, testified on the circumstances attending the buy-bust operation. He identified appellant in open court as the person who had sold him the illegal drugs. Thus, in view of the presence of an eyewitness, the presentation of the confidential informant can be dispensed with in this case.

Appellant vigorously denies what transpired during the buy-bust operation and avers that the testimony of SPO2 Yu is not sufficient to establish that he indeed sold the illegal drugs. Against, the Court found this argument untenable.

It fails to convince the Court otherwise in the face of the straightforward testimony of SPO2 Yu. It is worthy of note that appellant has not convincingly imputed on the part of the members of the buy-bust team any malicious motive that would validate his claim of frame-up or of being a fall guy in this case. Thus, there is a presumption of regularity on the part of the police officers involved when they performed their duties during the buy-bust operation.

ADDITIONAL READINGS:

[1] SC: Acquit drug suspect if friends released w/o explanation.
[2] People v. Blanco, G.R. No. 193661, 14 August 2013.
[3] People v. Sanuario, G.R. No. 185276, 06 March 2013.
[4] People v. Castro, G.R. No. 195777, 19 June 2013, citing People v. Tion, G.R. No. 172092, 608 SCRA 299 (2009).

Popular Posts