People vs. Rodrigueza, 205 SCRA 791 (1992)
The police officers of Ibalon, Legaspi City, received a confidential information regarding an ongoing illegal traffic of prohibited drugs in Tagas, Daraga, Albay. The police officer (Taduran) acted as a poseur-buyer. He was told by the informant to look for a certain Don, the alleged seller of prohibited drugs. Taduran went to Tagas alone and, while along the road, he met Samuel Segovia. He asked Segovia where be could find Don and where he could buy marijuana. Segovia left for a while and when be returned, he was accompanied by a man who was later on introduced to him as Don. After agreeing on the price (P200.00) for 100 grams of marijuana, Don left Taduran and Segovia and when he came back, he’s already bringing with him a plastic containing Marijuana. Thereafter, Taduran returned to the headquarters and made a report regarding his said purchase of marijuana. Based on that information, they apprehended the accused without a warrant of arrest. Thereafter, NARCOM agents raided without a search warrant the house of the father, Jovencio Rodrigueza.
During the raid, they were able to confiscate dried marijuana leaves and a plastic syringe, among others. The next 2 days, the father was released and Don and co-accused remained. The three accused (Don, Segovia, Lonceras) presented different versions of their alleged participation. RTC found Don Rodrigueza guilty beyond reasonable doubt of violating Section 4, Article II of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972 (Republic Act No. 6425, as amended) while the two co-accused were acquitted.
Whether or not the right against unreasonable search and seizures warrantless arrest was violated.
As provided in the present Constitution, a search, to be valid, must generally be authorized by a search warrant duly issued by the proper government authority. In the case at bar, however, the raid conducted by the NARCOM agents in the house of Jovencio Rodrigueza was not authorized by any search warrant. Hence, appellant's right against unreasonable search and seizure was clearly violated. The NARCOM agents could not have justified their act by invoking the urgency and necessity of the situation because the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses reveal that the place had already been put under surveillance for quite some time. Had it been their intention to conduct the raid, then they should, because they easily could, have first secured a search warrant during that time.
From the records of the case, Taduran bought 100 grams of marijuana from Don but the evidence presented were the prohibited articles were among those confiscated during the so-called follow-up raid in the house of Jovencio Rodrigueza.
The unanswered question then arises as to the identity of the marijuana leaves that became the basis of appellant's conviction. In People vs. Rubio, this Court had the occasion to rule that the plastic bag and the dried marijuana leaves contained therein constitute the corpus delicti of the crime. As such, the existence thereof must be proved with certainty and conclusiveness. Failure to do so would be fatal to the cause of the prosecution.
Finally, the Court has repeatedly ruled that to sustain the conviction of the accused, the prosecution must rely on the strength of its own evidence and not on the weakness of the defense. As clearly shown by the evidence, the prosecution has failed to establish its cause. It has not overcome the presumption of innocence accorded to appellant. This being the case, appellant should not be allowed to suffer for unwarranted and imaginary imputations against him.