Successful prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs

A successful prosecution of illegal sale of dangerous drugs requires that the following elements be established: (1) the identity of the buyer and the seller, the object and the consideration of the sale; and (2) the delivery to the buyer of the thing sold and receipt by the seller of the payment therefor.[1]On the other hand, there can be conviction for illegal possession of dangerous drugs only if the following elements are present:

(1) the accused is in possession of an item or object which is identified to be a prohibited drug;

(2) such possession is not authorized by law; and

(3) the accused freely and consciously possessed the drug.[2]

Illegal sale of dangerous drugs is committed when the sale transaction is consummated,[3] that is, upon delivery of the illicit drug to the buyer and the receipt of the payment by the seller.

In People v. Morate (G.R. No. 201156, January 29, 2014), the RTC and the Court of Appeals both found beyond reasonable doubt that the accused-appellant, as seller, sold 1.0291 grams of marijuana to the poseur-buyer, PO1 Manamtam, for P100.00. The former handed the latter three sachets of marijuana after the latter paid the P100.00 consideration for the sale.

Under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9165, such illegal sale of dangerous drugs, regardless of quantity, is punishable with the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) to Ten Million Pesos (P10,000,000.00). In light of the effectivity of Republic Act No. 9346, otherwise known as “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines,” the imposition of the supreme penalty of death has been proscribed. Consequently, the penalty applicable to the accused shall only be life imprisonment, without eligibility for parole, and fine.[4]

[1] People v. Remigio, G.R. No. 189277, December 5, 2012, 687 SCRA 336, 347.

[2] Id.

[3] People v. Encila, G.R. No. 182419, February 10, 2009, 578 SCRA 341, 356.

[4] People v. De la Rosa, G.R. No. 185166, January 26, 2011, 640 SCRA 635, 658.