Ho Wai Pang vs. People, GR 176229 (2011)
FACTS: The UAE Airlines Flight from Hongkong arrived at the NAIA. 13 passengers were Hongkong nationals. At the arrival area, the group leader presented a Baggage Declaration Form to Customs Examiner Gilda Cinco.
Cinco examined the baggages of each of the 13 passengers. Upon examining the second bag, she noticed chocolate boxes which were almost of the same size as those in the first bag. She took out 4 of the chocolate boxes and opened one. She saw inside was white crystalline substance contained in a white transparent plastic. After calling the attention of her immediate superiors, she guided the tourists to the Intensive Counting Unit while bringing with her the 4 chocolate boxes earlier discovered.
18 chocolate boxes were recovered from the baggages of the 6 accused, including Petitioner Ho Wai Pang.
A NARCOM Agent conducted a test on the white crystalline substance contained in said chocolate boxes. The result of his examination yielded positive for shabu. Thereafter, the chocolate boxes were bundled together with tape, placed inside a plastic bag and brought to the Inbond Section.
The 13 tourists were brought to the NBI for further questioning. Out of the 13 tourists, the NBI found evidence for violation of R.A. No. 6425 only as against petitioner Ho Wai Pang and his 5 co-accused. Initially, 6 Informations were filed. However, Ho Wai Pang filed a Motion for Reinvestigation and the reinvestigation gave way to a finding of conspiracy among the accused and this resulted to the filing of a single Amended Information. All the accused pleaded not guilty to the crime charged. All invoked denial as their defense. They claimed their traveling bags were provided by the travel agency.
Whether the violation of the petitioner's right to counsel made the evidence taken from the petitioner inadmissible.
The SC held in the negative. The SC reiterated that infractions to the accused during the custodial investigation render only extrajudicial confession or admissions of the suspect inadmissible as evidence.
Also, the guilt of Pang was based on the testimony of Cinco when she caught Pang in flagrante delicto transporting shabu.