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People vs. Castro, 274 SCRA 115 (1997)
On 19 March 1991, Capt. Evasco together with Sgt. Raguine, Sgt. de Guzman and CIC Discargar formed a team for the purpose of conducting a buy-bust operation. The team went to their target area in San Roque, San Miguel, Pangasinan and proceeded to deploy themselves as planned. Sgt. de Guzman who acted as poseur-buyer and civilian informer Discargar proceeded to Victoriano Castro`s house. Sgt. Raguine, meanwhile, hid in a grassy spot near the house. Discargar introduced Castro to Sgt. de Guzman who said that he wanted to purchase a kilo of dried marijuana leaves. After going inside the house, Castro emerged with a plastic bag which he handed to Sgt. de Guzman who, in turn, paid him P600.00. After the exchange, Sgt. de Guzman made the pre-arranged signal, indicating that the transaction was complete, by raising his right hand. Upon espying the signal, Sgt. Raguine and the other team members approached Castro, introduced themselves as NARCOM (Narcotics Command) agents, and arrested him. He was thereafter brought to the San Manuel Police Station. While the arresting team went to San Fernando, La Union for further investigation, the marijuana leaves were sent to Camp Crame for examination where it was discovered that the actual weight of the confiscated marijuana leaves was 930 grams. Castro was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Pangasinan, Branch 38 in an information dated 21 March 1991, for violation of Section 4, Article II of Republic Act 6425 Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972. After Castro entered a plea of not guilty, trial on the merits commenced. On 29 April 1992, the trial court rendered its decision finding Castro guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the offense charged, and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of life imprisonment and to pay a fine of P25,000.00, without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to pay the costs of the proceedings. Castro appealed.
Whether Castro’s signature on the “Receipt of Property Seized” is admissible in evidence.
Castro's signature on the Receipt of Property Seized is inadmissible in evidence as there is no showing that he was assisted by counsel when he signed the same. Since this is a document tacitly admitting the offense charged, the constitutional safeguard must be observed. Be that as it may, even disregarding this document, there is still ample evidence to prove Castro's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the same having been shown by the detailed testimonies of the law officers who took part in the buy-bust operation.
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