By Mortz C. Ortigoza
In a lecture given to officers of the court and peace officers, Court of Appeals Justice Mario Lopez (nah, not the actor Mario Lopez, host of some American TV shows) said the Supreme Court decided that the informer, like in an illegal drug raid or arrest, is not required to be summoned by the court as witness.
“Normally they are not presented as witness because their lives would be put in jeopardy. They would be killed!” the justice stressed.
But he said it is a different story if the one involved is a poseur buyer (under covered agent posing as buyer).
“He is allowed by the Supreme Court to be a witness”.
Lopez educated the attendees what is “constructive possession” in an illegal drug case.
He cited a case where the highest tribunal affirmed the conviction of a husband in a possession of an illegal drug despite he was not caught in flagrante delicto (caught in the act) carrying it.
“As long as the prosecutor (in corroboration with his witness or witnesses like those in the police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, or National Bureau of Investigation) can prove that the husband ordered the wife to carry the bag”.
“Another case, si mister asked the wife to get the bag with illegal drugs inside the house. Tapos tinawag ni mister ang driver na kunin kay misis ang bag at ilagay doon sa kotse”.
Lopez expounded that the court convicted the wife (together with the husband despite the bag was not under his possession ) under the Doctrines of Control Dominion and Constructive Possession.
Emphatic Alaminos City Assistant Prosecutor Amor (younger sister of the late Board Member Johnny Amor) told us (policemen and other peace officers) in a huddle after the break that the presence of the media and the village chief (barangay chairman) to be a witness in a raid in a drug case is not material.
“Paano kung walang media man e di makakatakas na ang pusher? Paano kung ayaw pumirma ng affidavit ni Kapitan dahil kamag-anak niya ang pusher, e di patay na ang kaso?”.
She explained that police and others should file, in the name of custodia legis (custody of the law) their truthful affidavit on what transpired in the raid.
She added that when the corpus delicte (illegal drugs) has been submitted to the police crime laboratory, the leadership of the law enforcement responsible in the raid should see to it that those in the crime laboratory should have filled too their affidavit.
“Para hindi ma-dismiss ng prosecutor o ma-appreciate ng judge and case,” she said.
Son of a gun, I just remembered what my source at the police told me about a sacked police official.
“May hinuli silang drug pusher siempri naka detain iyan for 36 hours (because the case is capital offense). Ang nangyari ni file iyong kaso in the 37th hour. Pinagalitan sila ng assistant prosecutor kasi “arbitrary detention” na iyang ginawa nila at puedi silang ma-demanda ng alleged pusher”.
The prosecutor just told them to file instead in a regular manner a drug pushing case which is a non –bailable case.
But because of what the assistant prosecutor ordered them to do, the alleged pusher absconded away from the long arm of the law because he was asked out of the detention cell.
Lopez cautioned the peace officers not to resort to Peeping Tom (paninilip in the vernacular) because what they have seen inside the house could not be used as evidence to the person they arrested.
“Hindi lang pueding hindi gamitin sa kaso kung hindi nakakahiya iyong mga lis-pu (slang of police) dahil puedi pa silang makasuhan ng moral damages o trespassing if pumasok sila sa loob ng pader para makapa- nilip sa dingding ng bahay ni Bella Flores,” I told some policemen there.
I saw a similar case on my book written by Constitutional expert Lawyer and Father Joaquin G. Bernas to what Justice Lopez narrated.
Father Bernas wrote: “A caller tipped off the police officers that a man and a woman were repacking prohibited drugs at a certain house. The officers immediately proceeded to the place. When they reached the house they “peeped (inside) through a small window and… saw one man and a woman repacking (yes Virginia, as I doubled check the text of Bernas, it was indeed “repacking” and not what your malicious mind told you) suspected marijuana.”
They entered the house and confiscated the tea bags and some drug paraphernalia. Subsequent examination of the tea bags by the NBI confirmed the suspicion that the tea bags contained marijuana. “Was there a valid search and seizure?” Bernas posed.
ANSWER: No. The State cannot in a cavalier fashion intrude into the persons of its citizens as well as into their houses, papers, and effects. The constitutional provision protects the privacy and sanctity of the person himself against unlawful arrests and other forms of restraint, and prevents him from being irreversibly “cut off from that domestic security which renders the lives of the most unhappy in some measure agreeable.” (People v. Bolasa, G.R. No. 125754, December 22, 1999).
Former Speaker Joe de Venecia and Congresswoman Gina de Venecia’s Man Friday Gypsy Baldovino told me, as I write this column, that the Speaker and the solon would be at the Stadia in Dagupan City for the proclamation of the recently elected village officials.
It augurs me well because of some bugging geographical political questions to Speaker Joe who is respected here and abroad as a connoisseur of geo-politics.
Mortz baby will be asking him the following: His take on Mainland China’s scrambling of multi-role jet fighters at the skies of East China Sea that threatened some U.S and Japanese warplanes (F-15 Eagle) that fly inside the newly declared air defense identification zone(ADIZ) on that time.
ADIZ is where two disputed islands Diaoyu by the Chinese and Senkaku by the Japanese are located.
With the U.S asking American commercial airlines to comply with China’s demands to be notified in advance of flights through the area, as published by New York Times in November 29, does it means the U.S blinks to the saber rattling of China? Would the place under ADIZ would be a powder keg soon as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, known for his staunch nationalist stance, exchange swords with the Sinos after he declared that the Japanese (military and commercial airlines) would not comply with the arbitrary directive of the threatening Chinese government?
Of course I’ll ask too the former 5-time Speaker, known for his skills in settling disputes among warring nations about his take on the U.S and five other world powers and Iran landmark accord recently that temporarily freeze Iran’s nuclear program and lay the foundation for a more sweeping agreement. Would the treaty, which slackens the economic embargo to the country run by the Ayatollahs, result in cheap petro products around the world, and what will happen to the Aquino Administration’s clout with the members of congress after the Supreme Court wrote the coup d’ grace (deadly blow) on the solons multi-million of pesos pork barrel ?
(You can read my selected columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org).