A group composed of policemen and barangay tanods requested a man, later identified as appellant, to open his red travelling bag. The man initially refused but later acceded to the request when the patrolmen identified themselves. Found inside the bag were approximately a kilo of marijuana leaves wrapped in a plastic wrapper. Appellant was taken to the police headquarters, tried and convicted for violation of RA 6425 (Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended).
Whether or not the package of marijuana seized from appellant may be validly admitted in evidence.
YES. Accused was caught in flagrante, since he was carrying marijuana at the time of his arrest. Although the trial court’s decision did not mention it, the transcript of stenographic notes reveals that there was an informer who pointed to the accused-appellant as carrying marijuana. Faced with such on-the-spot information, the police officers had to act quickly. There was not enough time to secure a search warrant.
Judgement of conviction by the trial court is AFFIRMED but MODIFIED. The appellant is sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment ranging from six (6) years and one (1) day to twelve (12) years and fine of Six Thousand (P6,000.00) Pesos.