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People vs Tuan 628 SCRA 226
People vs Tuan 628 SCRA 226
Accused-appellant challenges the judgment of the RTC, affirmed by the Court of Appeals, finding her guilty of illegal possession of marijuana, by pointing out certain inconsistencies in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses that supposedly manifested their lack of... credibility, i.e., the date of the test buy and the manner by which the doors of the rooms of the house were opened.
Accused-appellant further questions the non-presentation as witnesses of Lad-ing and Tudlong, the informants, and Pascual, the neighbor who supposedly witnessed the implementation of the Search Warrant, during the joint trial of Criminal Case Nos. 17619-R and 17620-R before the RTC.
Accused-appellant insists that the items allegedly seized from her house are inadmissible as evidence because the Search Warrant issued for her house was invalid for failing to comply with the constitutional and statutory requirements. Accused-appellant... specifically pointed out the following defects which made said Search Warrant void: (1) the informants, Lad-ing and Tudlong, made misrepresentation of facts in the Application for Search Warrant filed with the MTCC; (2) Judge Cortes of the MTCC failed to consider the informants'... admission that they themselves were selling marijuana; and (3) the Search Warrant failed to particularly describe the place to be searched because the house was a two-storey building composed of several rooms.
Whether or not the search warrant is valid
Yes. Illegal possession of prohibited or regulated drugs is committed when the following elements concur: (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 possesses the said drug.
The search conducted by SPO1 Carrera and PO2 Chavez in accused-appellant's house yielded nine bricks of marijuana. Marijuana is a prohibited drug, thus, accused-appellant's possession... thereof could not have been authorized by law in any way. Accused-appellant evidently possessed the marijuana freely and consciously, even offering the same for sale. The bricks of marijuana were found in accused-appellant's residence over which she had complete control.
In fact, some of the marijuana were found in accused-appellant's own room.
Judge Cortes found probable cause for the issuance of the Search Warrant for accused-appellant's residence after said judge's personal examination of SPO2 Fernandez, the applicant; and Lad-ing and Tudlong, the informants.
Equally without merit is accused-appellant's assertion that the Search Warrant did not describe with particularity the place to be searched.
A description of the place to be searched is sufficient if the officer serving the warrant can, with reasonable effort, ascertain and identify the place intended and distinguish it from other places in the community. A designation or description that points out the place... to be searched to the exclusion of all others, and on inquiry unerringly leads the peace officers to it, satisfies the constitutional requirement of definiteness. In the case at bar, the address and description of the place to be searched in the Search Warrant was specific enough. There was only one house located at the stated address, which was accused-appellant's residence, consisting of a structure with two floors and composed of several rooms.
In view of the foregoing, the Court upholds the validity of the Search Warrant for accused-appellant's house issued by MTCC Judge Cortes, and any items seized as a result of the search conducted by virtue thereof, may be presented as evidence against the accused-appellant.
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