People vs. de la Cruz G.R. 83260, April 18, 1990

Facts: That after receiving a confidential report from Arnel, their informant, a “buy-bust” operation was conducted by the 13th Narcotics Regional Unit through a team composed of T/Sgt. Jaime Raposas as Team Leader, S/Sgt. Rodelito Oblice, Sgt. Dante Yang, Sgt. Vicente Jimenez, P/Pfc. Adolfo Arcoy as poseur-buyer and Pat. Deogracias Gorgonia at Maliclic St., Tondo, Manila at around 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon of May 4, 1987 to catch the pusher/s. P/Pfc. Adolfo Arcoy acted as the poseur-buyer with Arnel as his companion to buy marijuana worth P10.00 from the two accused, Juan de la Cruz and Reynaldo Beltran. At the scene, it was Juan de la Cruz whom Arcoy first negotiated (with) on the purchase and when Arcoy told De la Cruz that he was buying P10.00 worth of marijuana, De la Cruz instructed Reynaldo Beltran to give one aluminum foil of marijuana which Beltran got from his pants’ pocket and delivered it to Arcoy. After ascertaining that the foil of suspected marijuana was really marijuana, Arcoy gave the prearranged signal to his teammates by scratching his head and his teammates who were strategically positioned in the vicinity, converged at the place, identified themselves as NARCOM agents and effected the arrest of De la Cruz and Beltran. The P10.00 marked bill used by Arcoy was found in the possession of Juan de la Cruz together with two aluminum foils and containing marijuana, Appellant assails, unconstitutional, the manner in which the so-called buy-bust operation is conducted in order to enforce the Dangerous Drugs Act. He stigmatizes it as no different from seizure of evidence from one’s person or abode without a search warrant. He argues that this procedure is pregnant with opportunities, and gives rise to situations, for corrupting our law enforcers

Issue: Whether the buy-bust operation, the seizure of evidence from one’s person without a search warrant is unconstitutional

Held: No, that a buy-bust operation is the method employed by peace officers to trap and catch a malefactor in flagrante delicto. It is essentially a form of entrapment since the peace officer neither instigates nor induces the accused to commit a crime. Entrapment is the employment of such ways and means for the purpose of trapping or capturing a lawbreaker from whose mind the criminal intent originated. Oftentimes, it is the only effective way of apprehending a criminal in the act of the commission of the offense. While it is conceded that in a buy-bust operation, there is seizure of evidence from one’s person without a search warrant, needless to state a search warrant is not necessary, the search being incident to a lawful arrest. A peace officer may, without a warrant, arrest a person when, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing or is attempting to commit an offense. It is a matter of judicial experience that in the arrest of violators of the Dangerous Drugs Act in a buy-bust operation, the malefactors were invariably caught red-handed. There being no violation of the constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure, the confiscated articles are admissible in evidence.




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