2016 Case Digest: People v. Sonjaco


GR No. 196962      June 8, 2016

TOPIC: Sections 5 and 11 of RA 9165, mere possession constitutes animus possidendi



Based on information received on 6 August 2005, that appellant and a certain alias Kenkoy were engaged in illegal drug trade in Barangay Olympia, Makati City, P/Supt. Valerio formed a buy-bust team composed of POI Marmonejo, POI Mendoza, POI Randy Santos and SP03 Luisito Puno and two (2) other anti-drug agents Eduardo Monteza and Herminia Facundo. After a surveillance of the area and coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) were made, P/Supt. Valerio briefed the team. POI Marmonejo was designated as poseur-buyer and two (2) pieces of Pl00 bills marked with the initials “MMV” were provided for the operation.

At five o’clock in the afternoon of that day, PO1 Marmonejo and the police asset, on board a tricycle driven by PO1 Mendoza, proceeded to the target area. The other members of the buy-bust team positioned themselves nearby. The police asset called appellant and told her that PO1 Marmonejo wanted to buy shabu. Appellant asked POI Marmonejo how much, to which he replied, “katorse lang” or P200.00 worth of shabu. Appellant then took out from her pocket two (2) transparent plastic sachets containing a white crystalline substance, one of which she handed to POI Marmonejo in exchange for two Pl00 bills. Appellant pocketed the other plastic sachet.

Upon consummation of the transaction, POI Marmonejo revealed that he was a police officer. He immediately apprehended appellant, apprised her of her constitutional rights and asked her to empty her pockets. POI Marmonejo recovered money in the amount of P540.00, a mobile phone, and three (3) other plastic sachets containing white crystalline substance. POI Marmonejo marked the sachet sold to him as “BONG” while the three (3) other sachets as “JOAN,” “JOAN l,” and JOAN 2.”


Whether or not accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of Sections 5 and 11 of RA 9165.


Elements of illegal sale of dangerous drugs

  1. Proof that the transaction or sale took place
  2. The presentation in court of the corpus delicti or the illicit drug as evidence.

The commission of the offense of illegal sale of dangerous drugs, like shabu, merely requires the consummation of the selling transaction which happens the moment the buyer receives the drug from the seller. The crime is already consummated once the police officer has gone through the operation as a buyer whose offer was accepted by the accused, followed by the delivery of the dangerous drugs to the former.

In this case, accused was apprehended, indicted and convicted by way of a valid buy-bust operation.

Elements of illegal possession of dangerous drugs

  1. The accused is in possession of an item or object identified to be a prohibited or a regulated drug
  2. Such possession is not authorized by law
  3. The accused freely and consciously possessed said drug

Mere possession of drugs constitutes animus possidendi

The Court held that mere possession of a prohibited drug constitutes prima facie evidence of knowledge or animus possidendi sufficient to convict an accused in the absence of any satisfactory explanation of such possession. The burden of evidence to explain the absence of animus possidendi rests upon the accused, and this, in the case at bar, the appellant failed to do.

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