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Evangelista vs. People, GR 163267
Evangelista was charged with violation of Section 1 of PD 1866 allegedly committed as follows:
That on or about the 30th day of January 1996, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Pasay City, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did, then and there, wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously have in his possession, custody and control the following items:
1. One (1) Unit 9mm Jericho Pistol, Israel with SN F-36283 with one (1) magazine;
2. One (1) Unit Mini-Uzi 9mm Israel Submachine gun with SN 931864 with two (2) magazines;
3. Nineteen (19) 9mm bullets.
without the corresponding permit or license from competent authority.
RTC ruled that Evangelista is guilty beyond reasonable doubt for violation of the illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.
The CA ruled that Capt. Naduratas custody during the flight from Dubai to Manila was for and on behalf of petitioner. Thus, there was constructive possession.
Petitioner argues that he could not have committed the crime imputed against him for he was never in custody and possession of any firearm or ammunition when he arrived in the Philippines. Thus, the conclusion of the appellate court that he was in constructive possession of the subject firearms and ammunitions is erroneous.
Whether or not Evangelista was never in possession of any firearm or ammunition within Philippine jurisdiction and he therefore could not have committed the crime charged against him.
Evangelista was in constructive possession of the subject firearms. As held in People v. Dela Rosa, the kind of possession punishable under PD 1866 is one where the accused possessed a firearm either physically or constructively with animus possidendi or intention to possess the same. Animus possidendi is a state of mind. As such, what goes on into the mind of the accused, as his real intent, could be determined solely based on his prior and coetaneous acts and the surrounding circumstances explaining how the subject firearm came to his possession.
The accomplishment by petitioner of the Customs Declaration Form upon his arrival at the NAIA is very clear evidence that he was already in possession of the subject firearms in the Philippines.
In the prosecution for the crime of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, the Court has reiterated the essential elements in People v. Eling to wit: (1) the existence of subject firearm; and, (2) the fact that the accused who possessed or owned the same does not have the corresponding license for it.
The prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt the elements of the crime. The existence of the subject firearms and the ammunition were established through the testimony of Acierto. Their existence was likewise admitted by petitioner when he entered into stipulation and through his subsequent judicial admission. Concerning petitioners lack of authority to possess the firearms, SPO4 Bondoc, Jr. testified that upon verification, it was ascertained that the name of petitioner does not appear in the list of registered firearm holders or a registered owner thereof. As proof, he submitted a certification to that effect and identified the same in court. The testimony of SPO4 Bondoc, Jr. or the certification from the FEO would suffice to prove beyond reasonable doubt the second element