Proof of extortion, frame-up in buy-bust ops

In criminal law, a frame-up (frameup) or setup is the act of framing someone, that is, providing false evidence or false testimony in order to falsely prove someone guilty of a crime. While incriminating those who are innocent might be done out of sheer malice, framing is primarily used as a distraction. Generally, the person who is framing someone else is the actual perpetrator of the crime. In other cases it is an attempt by law enforcement to get around due process. Motives include getting rid of political dissidents or "correcting" what they see as the court's mistake. Some lawbreakers will try to claim they were framed as a defense strategy. (

In People v. Matumanggar (G.R. No. 196961. January 15, 2014), appellants were charged with unlawfully selling methamphetamine hydrochloride with a total net weight of 363.2 grams. They pleaded "not guilty" to the charges, and trial ensued.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals (CA) that all the elements of the offense charged have been established beyond reasonable doubt. PO1 Manuel categorically testified about the entrapment operation from the time the buy-bust team waited for the confidential informant and Alex at Jollibee Isetann, until appellants' apprehension. He testified about how Alex was introduced to the police officers, about Theng's arrival and how the latter supplied more shabu, how the actual exchange of money with the plastic bag containing shabu was made, and how appellants were apprehended. PO1 Manuel positively identified appellants as the persons who were caught in flagrante delicto selling shabu. Moreover, both the Regional Trial Court (RTC) and the CA found that the integrity and evidentiary value of the seized drugs was properly preserved and safeguarded.According to the Court, there was no clear and convincing evidence to support appellants' defense of frame-up. Neither was there any imputation or proof of ill motive on the part of the police officers. It must be stressed that the defense of denial or frame-up, like alibi, has been invariably viewed with disfavor for it can easily be concocted and is a common defense in most prosecutions for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

To substantiate charges of extortion and frame-up, the evidence must be clear and convincing and should show that the members of the buy-bust team were inspired by any improper motive or were not properly performing their duty. Otherwise, the police officers' testimonies on the operation deserve full faith and credit.


[1] CASE DIGESTPeople v. Ocfemia (G.R. No. 185383; September 25, 2013) - Project Jurisprudence.[1] People v. Gutierrez, G.R. No. 177777, December 4, 2009, 607 SCRA 377, 390.
[2] People v. Capalad, G.R. No. 184174, April 7, 2009, 584 SCRA 717, 727.

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